How to change your mind about “sweet” Piper

… in one photo:

Now before ya’ll get all up in arms and start telling me I’m Horrible, please remember … I didn’t kill the bunny.  In fact neither did Piper.  Can you guess who dispatched the hare?

(*insert scary movie soundtrack here*)

WRONG!!  It was not TWooie, or his nefarious brother Woo either.

Oh hai!

That’s right, suckas!  Lil Miss Spring Thing is the one who done the dirty deed.  Don’t get in a tussle with my Jack Russell!  She’s a natural born killer.  All 19 lbs of her.

So where are all those “I want her, adopt her to me!” emails now?

*crickets*

Hello?

She’s still cute and tiny! (and has learned a ‘sit-stay’)

How come you thought the worst of me?

We don’t believe in letting anything go to waste around here, so today’s Leporidic Lunch got divided amongst the canines.  Woo got the party started, while his brother stood guard.

And then when I thought he’d eaten enough, I handed it off to TWoo and so on down the line until we got to Tweed, who was absolutely repulsed by the suggestion that he consume part of a gross bush bunny.

I am far too refined to eat that thing.

We’ve lived here just about 2 years and the dogs have eaten about half a dozen bunnies.  Given the sheer numbers of rabbits racing around here, I’m kind of surprised the stats aren’t a bit higher.  But it’s always a happy day for the dogs when they catch themselves an extra treat.

Speaking of eating things, I was recently gifted with four broiler chicks. Are you familiar with these chickens?  They are the commercially raised chickens that you buy in your grocery store.  They are disgusting and sad.  At 6 weeks old, they are bigger than my regular full-grown hens and outweigh them by several lbs.  They are like picking up bowling balls.  Broiler chicks can’t live out normal lifespans because they are bred to be obesely plump foodstuffs and nothing else … and if they manage to live to be a few months old, they generally can no longer walk because they are too heavy for their own legs, and their sheer bulk smothers their internal organs.  This is what the commercial chicken industry is all about :(

Six weeks old, and look at them!

They are also as dumb as rocks and if I don’t put the food right in front of them, they don’t eat because they can’t figure out how to heft themselves up and waddle across the house to get to the grain.  But they are also bred to be obscenely greedy, so if you leave the food in front of them, they will just eat it until it’s gone, so they can’t live with the regular chickens.

Since I can’t raise ’em without subjecting them to a slow, painful death, I’m going to have to eat them.  But the problem with eating them is that first I have to kill them, and this city girl don’t know nuthin’ about killin’ no chickens.  TWooie had some ideas, but I didn’t think they were very humane at all.

Aww, come on!  It’s the circle of life!

I feel like I should learn how to do it, and maybe if I’m going to be willing to eat it, I should first know how it died and / or be responsible for its death.  This philosophy, however, leads to all kinds of conflicts for me.  Like bacon would be a conflict, because I am for sure NOT getting pigs!!

Anyway, my landlord grew up on this farm and knows all about turning chickens into food, so I’m going to enlist his help.  I won’t blog it, because I don’t want to traumatize anyone, but I will let you know how they taste! ;-)

Now chickens, chickens I will eat!  Can I help taste test the chickens?

In other news, I’ve been hard at work keeping the plant life under control.  It’s like a full time job just to ensure the dogs have a flat surface on which to play Dumbball – especially when you only have a push mower.  I mowed down about half the lower pasture last week.  Still haven’t found the expensive Kong ball that The Sadist lost in the grass either.

I’ve also been teaching Miss Thing a little bit of agility.  Taught her the A-Frame in class the other week, and have since taught her the tunnel, and how to jump.  Then I put the tunnel and jump together, and she can now do two obstacles in a row.  Already sequencing, and I’ve only had her for 10 minutes or whatever!   What a cutie.

And she’s not the only one learning some agility … TWooie can now jump, and do the tunnel, and he can even weave!  Granted, it’s very slow and purely motivated by the cookie I have in my hand … but TWooie learned some stuff!  It’s a freakin’ miracle!

YOU: Umm, Food Lady?  What’s with the weird, bad, non sequitur photo?

ME:  It’s TWooie, mid-spin to the right, on a hand signal.  A behaviour!  I taught TWooie a behaviour!  Can you believe it??

And you know what else I bet you can’t believe?  TWooie *likes* Spring.  I don’t mean in the, like, “she tastes good, I’m going to rip out her femoral artery” way, but rather the other day TWooie and Spring played wrestle, chase-me, play-bow and zoomies with one another way, for about 10 straight minutes.  I’m not even kidding a little bit.  I didn’t have my camera with me, but I wish I did, because it was a sight I don’t think anyone would believe if they didn’t witness it themselves.  I’m still a little convinced I dreamt it.

But then again, Spring has that way about her.  Everyone falls in love with her.  Her and Dex are BFF and have a game of bitey-face every morning on my bed.

She’s definitely got some jackitude, and her housebreaking seems to be deteriorating for some reason, so we’re working on that, and she still has some real impulse control issues.  But she is learning too, and no longer tries to claw her way up my legs on every walk, and sometimes she doesn’t need to climb inside my pocket and set up camp there either.  I even left her loose for a couple hours this morning when I went to Physio, and aside from peeing on the floor, she didn’t do my house any harm.  So she’s coming along and will eventually make someone a very nice little agility partner.  She’s a really super cute little girl.

I’M still a super cute little girl!!

And look at what that OTHER cute little girl did!!

And so that you are not all left with a bunny snuff film still burned into your brain when you leave the blog, here’s a photo of Dexter dancing on air :)

Comments

  1. Too late on the bunny slaughter. Been there, most recently. I wandered out in my back yard after dark last night all, “Wonder what the pups are up to on their overly-long potty break?” and heard a squeak coming from the general direction of my terrier-mutt’s mouth. It. Was. Traumatic. For me, at least. Not the first time it’s happened, but I just can’t stand it. The little thing was writhing and squeaking for about a minute before it finally died, but in the meantime I squeaked too and did a girly-dance and tried to make Alfie spit it out. (Then I sat on him, pried the corpse out of his jaws, marched it to a plastic bag coffin and put it in the trash. I live in the city, what else can I do?)

    Alfie burped bunny from his side of the bed the rest of the night. I’m still traumatized and emotionally fragile. I know it’ll happen again, but I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to handle it like an adult.

    Good luck on the broilers! I can give you some butchering tips from my childhood if the neighbor thing doesn’t pan out. I know of at least two ways to dispatch a chicken. Funny how a dead chicken doesn’t bother me.

  2. Awesome sauce! You take the most amazing photos! I just want to snuzzle with all of your dogs. :)

  3. citydog says:

    How about blogging the chicken slaughter and putting it as a password-protected entry to protect the squeamish?

  4. Don’t worry. Given the rate at which rabbits procreate, it was probably replaced by half a dozen little bunnies within seconds of it’s passing.

  5. The Food Lady says:

    “How about blogging the chicken slaughter and putting it as a password-protected entry to protect the squeamish?”

    That’s not a bad idea, actually. I am really learning how to be self sufficient on the farm, and creating my own food is one of those goals, so I would like to share it … but really don’t want to traumatize anyone. I mean, people got real upset by TWooie eating a baby bird, and he’s a DOG. I can’t imagine how enraged some folks would be seeing ME eat a baby bird!

  6. Funny, my friend just today told me about her dogs hunting and killing a bunny in her yard. Said the ‘tug’ play was a bit gross because the bunny was still alive. And then the next thing she knew, the bunny was skinned (yup, by the tug play….) She is hoping it was dead by this point, but who knows.

    Have you read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver? You might like it.

  7. Beep and Poppet says:

    Jacks usually kill stuff really fast. A rat got into our garage and the Jack’s caught it and our tiniest Jack, Rosie, 12.25″ tall and 12 lbs, took that big old ugly rat and shook it to death! While all this was going on, Max the BC, was running around trying to figure out what all the excitement was all about:)

    My parents butchered chickens when I was young. I rarely eat chicken anymore. Just sayin.

  8. It’s funny, but I can TOTALLY see IG mix for Spring, even though she’s probably, as you say, a borderjack. My agility instructor’s got one IG who is SPring-levels of Badass.

  9. Okay I wasn’t traumatized by your blog, but the comments are freaking me out.
    MUST NOT READ COMMENTS…

  10. Oh, pooh, anyone who owns dogs or cats has to own up to their being predators. Although a lot of suburb/city-bred cats don’t know how to dispatch their prey (Mr. Kitty can catch them, but has no follow-through). I wasn’t bothered by bunny snuff, though I did love the Dexter dance photo, so that was a bonus. Would be very interested in the chicken dispatch.

  11. I’m really suprrised that the bunny made it all through your crew. I mean, they really don’t have all that much too them.
    I’ll bet the WooTWoo dispatch lots of bunnys but just don’t bother to share. ;-)

    I think the pasword idea is a good one. I’m looking at moving out of the city by the end of the year. MAybe even having chickens. But hate the thought of doing my own killing and/or butchering an animal that I actually raised. Though if it’s already dead and I never knew it alive I am fine. I got over that last year. So could be useful info. Though what my mom tells me about being an kid and what chickens do after their head comes off, umm…

    The food-industry is really gross and pathetic. Thus my interest in your experiences with “Food Lady Farm Food.”

    Still luvs me some Piper.

  12. The Food Lady says:

    TWooie head, Woo middle, Spring front legs, Piper and Dex one back leg each :)

    I think the chicken butchering photos would be graphic if I decided to take them, but if people wanted to see them I’d be willing to blog the process!

  13. StupidSmartDogs says:

    I’m a vegetarian and I found nothing wrong with this. Just the circle of life. Lots more rabbits out there. Also I see nothing wrong with the chicken thing, better thy die humanely by your hands then inhumanely in a factory farm.

  14. Good for your dogs, catching their own meals! I did read somewhere that a wild rabbit would be best frozen for a while before feeding it to the dogs, to kill the parasites it probably contains.
    Those Cornish X meat chickens are designed to gain weight fast, and then to be eaten. They aren’t designed to be good egg layers, and shouldn’t be fed the same food. We did keep some for a few months, and they did fine, and then dressed out the size of small turkeys.
    There are lots of blogs that talk about butchering chickens. Here’s a pretty simple method http://coldantlerfarm.blogspot.com/search?q=butchering+chickens

  15. I am also a vegetarian, and my adoration of Piper is such that after uttering an initial disappointed sigh, I said, “Well, dogs do eat bunnies, don’t they.”

    And I’m glad to hear that Spring is making friends.

  16. i love that shot of TWooie! :D

  17. I want Spring! Although I don’t think you’ll send her to Arizona. If you would, I’d take her! She’d fit right in with my rat eating Aussies.

  18. I have 3 aussies. Joy, Max andBella. Joy reminds me of Twooie, she was the “fun police” all the time. She has recently found her first friend! My sons “maybe an aussie mix, maybe a BC mix, maybe who knows what!” She loves loves love Haddie! They play, actual PLAY! It is amazing to see.
    And Joy is also my resident bunny killer. It never happened until recently, but I went in my yard, to find Bella with a bunny HEAD! Oh lordy, I wanted to fall over! Joy catches them, Bella eats them, Joy snacks some, and Max runs away and says “I did NOT participate in this nonsense!”

  19. Dogs are predators at heart, and they got the rabbit that was too stupid to hang out around the smell of dogs. Survival of the fittest. And wait 5 minutes, more rabbits have taken it’s place.

  20. Robin L. says:

    Hey, dogs will be dogs! I live in a semi-rural area and we have everything you can think of: Bunnies, birds, squirrels, jackrabbits, voles, rats, mice. If it is small enough my dogs will kill it and eat it. Mitzi got a jackrabbit and it was dead before you could say boohoo. Birds go right down. Mice usually get played with for a while before I see what it is. If I get to it in time I release it. Or if I get to dead thing before it is consumed I pop it into the freezer to kill parasites then add it to whatever raw meals are being fed.

    I’ve got no problem with seeing the butchering process. I’ve read about feather removal and such so it would be interesting to see.

    Robin

  21. Food Lady, I found a PDF that detailed three different methods to kill a chicken with the idea to eat it. We just got two (hopefully) pullets and I wanted to know in case of a mercy kill. And my 4-5 month old chickens are about the same size as those broilers. Ew. http://www.backyardpoultry.com/articles/chicken_for_food.pdf

  22. I’d totally take Spring still, and take her Lure Coursing. I bet if she can catch rabbits, she would be an awesome courser.

  23. Michelle says:

    I would definitely be interested in reading/seeing your chicken slaughtering blog. We have our first batch of meat birds this year and we will be butchering in about 6 weeks. (We’ll see if I turn vegetarian after this…) Our interest was motivated as well by the horrifying meat industry.
    Love your sense of humor, btw.

    “I can’t imagine how enraged some folks would be seeing ME eat a baby bird!”

    Tee hee.

  24. I would so have a job for Spring (I really need a fast ht dog), but already have a too large pack o’ mutts.

    Good luck on the broilers, do not procrastinate the butchering, as they have a miserable time of it the longer you wait.

    Do it quickly and cleanly, enjoy the hard work.

  25. Sigh… I’d take Spring in a heartbeat. Want to ship her to Indiana? :) She would fit right in with my 13 pound killing machine, er, I mean Jack Russell. 2011 kill list includes: 3 baby bunnies (not out of a nest, all at different times), 1 adult rabbit, 1 baby bird (my fault, too slow), and 1 mole that she dug out of the ground. These are all in my back yard. We don’t live on a farm.

  26. CarolG. says:

    If you decide you can handle the dressing out, Miss Spring could catch lots of bunnies for you. This would lower your food bills and you could have more money to spend on DOG FOOD! All the dogs would give you the stink eye for eating their bunnies too. How can you resist such a lovely thought? O.K., yeah, there are a ‘few’ minor problems with this plan. Congratulations to Spring on being such a skillful hunter. You may also have a lot of mice and chipmunks removed for you.

  27. Jen, I read that article. Wow. And suddenly I remember that one of my grandmothers used the tried and true “chop” method, and the other preferred the neck dislocation tactic. Ah, memories.

  28. Mandi P. says:

    Our Jack Russell is always on Bunny Patrol and eats at least two or three a year. Just gulps them down practically whole. I asked our vet if he was going to be okay, and he said eating rabbits was not uncommon, especially with that breed, and it wouldn’t hurt him so long as Sam was catching and eating them, and not just eating one that had been lying around.

    I would LOVE Spring! She would compliment Sam so well, both in temperament and looks. As soon as I saw Spring’s picture and read about her, I began trying to figure out how to get her down her to Texas and to convince my husband that we need a third dog. He was not amused, so I ended up with a hamster instead. Hhmmmph.

  29. clairesmum says:

    Ok, the photos without bunny are great. Glad Twooie is learning some behaviours, and that he and Spring can just play – he’s getting happier and happier at Casa de Food Lady. Dexter dancing is great – might that be available as a print? or in some form? to me, that is the essence of joy – jumping for joy, dancing with joy – makes me smile, much.
    The bunny harvest – well, they do refer to them collectively as ‘dumb bunnies.’ And it IS the circle of life, may save on the food bill, help keep a garden if you try to grow anything for yourself, etc. But I’m not sure I’d wanna watch. When you add the chickens to the circle of life, perhaps having the photos in a separate link or some other arrangement might be advisable.
    Just gonna hold that image of Dexter dancing!

  30. Kristine says:

    Ha! Have mercy…I’m a vegetarian, too, and dogs eating things – or killing them – doesn’t get me all up in a twist. I mean, it’s not fun to thing of the little bird or rabbit or whatever being killed, but they’re *dogs* for goodness sake. Had a Catahoula that killed a half dozen skunks and never got sprayed…but the few rattlesnake killings always made me nervous.

  31. If you have never seen it,you should checkout the movie Withnail and I. Here is the you tube clip for one of the funniest scenes, when they /kill cook the chicken a farmer left them while they are on holiday. Lots of tips in there to get you started and super funny. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHlWWpiSu3s

  32. I’ve raised those Cornish Giants from time to time and they have a distressing tendency to dislocating their legs – from the look of your picture I suspect the one on the right might have done so.

    If your landlord doesn’t pan out there’s a chap near me who has a backyard chicken abbatoir – very clean. PM me.

    BTW, my local paper tells me they’ve arrested one of the lowlifes that stole my lambs – this time for pigeon theft. Get these suckers off the street!

  33. Food Lady, I heart your dogs, and you. Bunneh didn’t make me squirm (just cry out in mock horror, “nooooooo!” and make sad face)… My childhood brood had its way with yard buns, moles, mice, and tried to grab a frog and snake a few times, so it’s not shocking. I’m just one of those silly people who wants ONE BILLION bunnehs, but luckily I’m allergic, and I’ve entrusted my other half to keeping me from keeping a bun. Anyhoo, chicken details would be awesome. For a chicken designed by humans to be food, you’re providing them one hell of a fantastic, spoiled lifestyle before they kick the bucket (or hit the bucket…), so embrace your new food friends!

  34. I’m impressed with your speed to be able to split up the bunny between the dogs. The one time I watched my Malinois eat a bunny, no body parts touched the ground once she started eating. It was like watching the front end of a brush chipper: things only go in. I didn’t mind her eating bunnies except she usually ended up with tapeworm a month or two later.

  35. Hi Food Lady,

    I’m also interested in the chicken butchering process–I love the idea of growing my own food (one day when I move out to the country!) but my 17×25′ townhouse backyard is already bursting with the garden and dogsx2 +cat. Living vicariously through you is the next best thing! A separate link would be fantastic!

  36. Leandra says:

    Why is it always the smallest, cutest dog that does the most killing? It’s the same with mine. The little one is a rampant bird murderer. Sigh…..

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