Butcher day had arrived
And I admit, I was ill prepared
Peter had a meeting, so couldn’t help
That left me scared

We needed more hands
Those skilled with a knife
Those who understand this process
Realize it is part of life

We headed towards Ruth’s
A few miles down the road
Hoping to find willing bodies
And lo and behold

I begged for Stephan and Michael
To do the dirtiest deed
Heads off the birds, skin them out
A messy process indeed

Ruth, my sweet friend
Must have sensed my trepidation
She gathered up bowls, knives, aprons, and children
And away we went without hesitation

Shelby, an old soul at a mere seventeen,
My willing accomplice as we learned to fillet
Ruth as our teacher, we sharpened out knives
Wings this way, breasts that, legs here; no delay                                                                                                                                            

The little boys round up their chickens
Ready and waiting for their fate
Decapitation, skinning, gutting,
Homegrown naked birds are first rate

No plucking for us, no singeing those feathers
No boiling hot water, no taking forever
Just a hay wagon, twine, cold water and ice
Lest I forget sharp knives – essential in this endeavor

Small children played in the corn box
While big boys hauled chickens to the shop
Into a barrel to swim in cold water
Their bodies would gently plop

The wash bay is our station
With fast access to the hose
Cold and clean is vital
As far as butchering chickens goes

Forty broilers with eight weeks of growth
Two hours of steady work and good cheer
Topped off with more than a dozen fresh pizzas
One watermelon, and floats of root beer

With full bellies, heavy eyelids, and my happy heart
We loaded Ruth’s posse to return to their chores
I have few friends who will butcher chickens
And the ones that will, oh how I adore
    Jacqui and her family milk 800 cows and run 1,200 acres of crops in the northeastern corner of Vernon County, Wis. Her children, Ira (12), Dane (10), Henry (5) and Cora (toddler), help her on the farm while her husband, Keith, works on a grain farm. If she’s not in the barn, she’s probably in the kitchen, trailing after little ones, or sharing her passion of reading with someone. Her life is best described as organized chaos – and if it wasn’t, she’d be bored.