As explained to our four year-old:
We don't want to kill the rooster. It doesn't make us happy to do it. But the rooster is really noisy and he is mean to the other chickens pecking them, so we have to. But our Heavenly Father has given us animals for us to eat to make us strong and healthy. He wants us to use animals while giving thanks for them. And do we eat chicken every night? No, we don't. Heavenly Father has told us to eat animals "sparingly" that means not all the time, but sometimes to help make us strong and healthy.One of my concerns going into it was the attitude with which we did the whole thing. I wanted to be sure we had a humble attitude, realizing that we were going to be killing a living thing.
We also realized that we were not making the decision then to kill it. The decision had been made when we first bought the chicks, that if one ended up as a rooster we would be willing to deal with the repercussions. So we were simply choosing what we felt was the most responsible and decent thing to do.
One irresponsible option people choose is abandoning unwanted animals in the wild- where they starve or are eaten by other animals. Another option could be to try and give it away, but in reality most people don't "want" a rooster, anyone in a position and of the temperament to keep roosters have enough already. Also, in that situation we would still be "loosing" our rooster, which would still be sad for us. Another option might be to give it to someone else to slaughter either for their own use or for ours.
Obviously we chose the option we felt good about. To respectfully slaughter the rooster ourselves, try and waste as little as possible, and to use it all for the benefit of our family.
In the end I think it was an experience I feel good about. It was not pleasant by any means. However, I kind of feel like I have a little more right to eat chicken now, because I have been through the process and know what it involves. And although it may seem cruel and heartless I think its more responsible than going out and buying 20lb bags of skinless, boneless "white meat" breasts while never thinking twice about where it came from.
Although I was worried about Owen's perception of the event, I hope that this will be a learning experience for him as well. I've said before we want to teach our children that food comes from nature, not just tin cans. (I'm pretty sure he gets it in this instance!)
On the other hand, I don't plan on doing this regularly. Lets hope that this lesson on respecting our food was enough to last a lifetime. And on a lighter note, in another month or two we'll start getting our free-range, fresh-air, 100% more-love-than-the-leading-brand chicken eggs. We can't wait!