In the early 90’s, when my family lived in Nairobi, my dad built a coop that housed chickens and rabbits. The estate we lived in, much like many other in the city allowed for people to have some micro rearing of livestock. Usually Chickens or rabbits. I recently saw ducks in the estate.
Having been born and Paris, France moving shortly after my toddlerhood I was used to conventional western pets. My brother (year and 8 months older) would wake up in the mornings excited to go feed and play with the chickens or Rabbits. Our youger sister joined in as well as she could. I for one got more excitement from the chickens. They were louder and much more interactive than the rabbits let alone the turtles we used to feed pencil sharpenings to in our Paris apartment.
You give them names, get favorites and build a sort of routine.
They are cherished pets.
Then mom tells you there is going to be party at the house this coming weekend. You are excited. People will be over, lots of food, friends, relatives and fun. Get to hang out with other kids, have no chores or other minor responsibilities for a day, as a kid there is pretty much zero prep work required for such an event. Just looking forward to excitement.
The weekend arrives and it is going great. Kids running around, all sorts of food and noise. Fun all around. Then your mom or aunty goes out to the yard. You follow them out there. By the coop there is a pot of water boiling away on the Jiko (pics below). She is holding a knife somehow. Your pet is in her other hand, croaking away.
They tie the birds legs together, pull back the wings and step on them, pinning creature to the ground. They grasp the head, shutting the beak and the clucking stops. They stretch out the neck as they brandish the knife.
A quick slicing motion and the lifes-blood gushes out.
Your pet is dead.
In a few hours, your pet is delicious.
There is a lot going on in this. You get to see life and death as a child, not to mention you get to see your parents and other adults that are directly in charge of you take animal life. This is something lost increasingly infrequent in the developed countries.
How will I handle potential exposure of my kids to this reality? exposed to this. I will check about the appropriate age to do so and look more into what its effect may have been on me. I know it happened multiple times, and I was not unaware. I begun to expect it would happen but still enjoyed my time with the chickens. Feeding them, seeing their reaction to mirrors was a thing I remember as entertaining.I even eventually took part in the plucking of feathers. That’s what the boiling water was for. Add some to a bucket of cold water. Dip in the carcass wetting the feathers then pluck away…
Did I think their clucking sounded distraught? One may think that with a bird brain it may not get what is about to happen, but animals know. They are living beings, be it pheromones or something else.
They may know it’s about to end.