Cooking with mutant chickens
Yes, it’s true. While my original off-the-cuff comment about mutant chickens was a joke, upon reflection I realized that there was indeed a mutant chicken episode in my life. An event so shocking and horrifying that I had forgotten it consciously. So now, my memory jogged, the mutant chicken story. Names have been avoided to protect the, well, guilty. Please, those of weak constitution or heightened chicken empathy should stop reading now, because the events about to be recited are all true. Any readers who belong to PETA please keep in mind that I am no longer the person I was when these events transpired … and the statute of limitations has long expired.
So, back in the seventies during my USMC paramilitary phase, I worked as a volunteer for a local mental health halfway house. Sound confused for a paramilitary type? Naw, a girl I liked volunteered there. Perfectly sensible. So this halfway house, part of a county system, also had a farm house outside of town where patients who needed a rural environment to recover could live. Well, it got a little too rural. They got a few chickens to liven the place up. The chickens laid eggs. More chickens hatched. One egg led to another, and the farm house was overrun with dozens of feral chickens. Aside from massive rooster crowing at all times of the night, chicken crap everywhere was a problem. What to do?
Well, enthusiastic young volunteer had an idea. Yes, me and my buddy could head out to the farm house and exterminate said chickens. Legal? Not a chance. Safe? Well, fairly safe, unless you were a chicken of course. Cheap? You betcha. The inhabitants of said house were evacuated in the morning under some ruse, apparently the mentally fragile might be alarmed that gun toting lunatics would be massacring their chickens. At the time I thought this was excessive, older and wiser, yeah, no kidding. I mean, mentally healthy people might be upset by what was about to transpire. Who knows what paranoid schizophrenics might have gotten from the experience, and probably for the best that we didn’t find out.
So the morning of the massacre dawned bright and clear. Me and my partner-in-crime (now a senior official in the Schwarzenegger administration, go figure) arrived at the farm house. We were ready, armed with a variety of lethal chicken destroying weapons, all purchased legally as is our custom here in the USA. The chickens were not ready. That’s why we are above them in the food chain. The events that transpired at the farm house were easy to predict. Using 22 rifles and shotguns we killed chickens. We shot the as they flew to escape. We shot them in the bushes. We shot them hiding in the barn. We shot them on fences. We shot them as they attacked us with their mutant polydactyl clawed feet. OK, they didn’t attack us, I have only been attacked by a chicken once, and it wasn’t there. They did have six or seven toes per foot though, these were indeed mutant chickens.
After the massacre we gathered the dead in to a pile. All but one chicken mom and her chicks were dead, those were captured for our own nefarious purposes. Yes, if chickens ever make horror movies, this event will be staple fodder for them. Even better, the evidence was concealed. A crafty old farmer next door wandered over and asked what we were doing. (As if it wasn’t obvious.) After the situation was explained, he asked if he could have the dead chickens. No problem. While we hunted down the few hold-outs he carried away our alarming pile of deceased chickens. Cool. Even cooler, just before we left, he returned. He had six chickens plucked and ready for the cooking pot for us.
And that was the end of that mutant chicken infestation. Granted, probably not as exciting as some hoped. No fire breathing ten foot tall chickens, sorry. Sadly the survivor’s travails were not over. We brought home one chicken and her chicks and set them loose in my friend’s overgrown back yard. A couple of chickens could find enough to eat in a big weedy yard, right? Wrong, a few weeks later one of them fell over dead in front of our eyes. Upon examination, it was skin and bones. I mean, sheesh, we rescue one chicken and her kids, then lock them is a yard and starve them. A quick trip to the local feed store fixed that though, and soon enough we had big fat egg laying chickens.
As for eating our mutant chickens, we used a pressure cooker and lots of herbs. They were delicious. And yes, if God is a big chicken, I’m in big trouble
(The above image is of Mike, the headless chicken. I have no clue who the copyright belongs to, but I got it off this fine site. Granted, Mike wasn’t a mutant, but he was real. He was a rooster who got his head cut off, but lived for 18 months afterwards. And lived well, he went from 2 1/2 pounds to 8 pounds, he was one healthy chicken despite his handicap. And yes, as discerning readers have surmised, Mike’s brain stem remained intact. Sadly, he only lived eighteen months, and thus was unable to pursue a promising career in politics.)