As my chickens get beyond laying age, I’ve been giving them to my Ethiopian friend who is willing to slaughter them for fresh meat. But today I decided to try something different. I took my two oldest hens deep into industrial Oakland to the live poultry Halal butcher shop, where for $5 each, they quickly slaughtered, cleaned and plucked my hens, returning them head, feet and all in about 10 minutes.
The shop itself (at least the part I saw), is a big garage with pens of chickens, geese, pigeons, quail and ducks waiting for their end. Fortunately, the fowl seemed unaware of their status, and ate their feed happily enough. The menu listed rabbit, pheasant,veal, lamb and goat, but I didn’t see any.
While I waited, a young man from a Chinese grocery store drove up to by some quail and chickens, and a curious pigeon dropped in to eat some scattered feed, but had the sense to fly off after his snack.
The pigeon reminded me of the title poem of my current poetry ms.
What Birds Know
Always our animal companions
exist at our pleasure—
the fattened hog
roasting on the spit,
the shorn sheep in the field.
Chickens thrive on grain
we spread for them.
The birds of the air
and steer clear.
2 thoughts on “The Halal butcher”
Came across a David Ray poem about chickens:
MENAGE A TROIS
Such intimacy – the horny rooster
direct descendent of the Fabergé
rooster I saw in the museum,
watches after his two co-
wives, Henny and Marigold,
and in this four-acre world
they peck away all day
and are back in their shed
by dusk, cuddled together
on a corner shelf above a carpet
of dried mottled droppings.
I tuck them in for their night
of pure innocent bliss, taking
two eggs as pay for my servitude.
Thanks so much, Tung, this is perfect!