Poultry is defined as all the breeds of chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys that we raise for meat and eggs. My birds, a mix of heritage breeds, are for eggs only. I do eat chicken (and the occasional turkey), just not my own. I know, it doesn’t make sense, but I find it hard to eat the animals that I have come to know and love. If I followed that argument to its logical conclusion I wouldn’t eat meat at all. I do find eating meat to be somewhat of an ethical dilemma, but until I’m prepared to give it up altogether I endeavour to buy local, organic and/or ethically raised livestock.
Today, National Poultry Day, is supposed to be a celebration of those birds we raise for consumption. I’d like to turn that notion on its head and celebrate the birds we raise, get to know, and love. Anyone who has spent time with animals – any animal – knows they have individual personalities and quirks and are not interchangeable. They bond with us, enjoy our company (hopefully it’s not just about the food we provide) and enhance our lives.
Today, I for one, will take a seat on my bench and spend some time with my birds. Those that are more bold will hop up on my lap, push their beaks into my camera lens and hope for a treat, or two. Others will hang back, but are still curious. I hope that you, too, will have the opportunity to spend some time with your birds and appreciate all they have brought to our lives: entertainment, companionship and some insight into the workings of another species.
For those of us who aren’t already vegetarians maybe today we’ll skip the poultry.