So, we were able to take them to an Amish family who will do it for us.
I told myself from the beginning that these were destined for the dinner table, and I made every effort to not get attached. It worked until it was time to load them up and take them away.
I had cared for these guys for months. At least twice a day I was with them; feeding them, giving them water, making sure they are all okay, and towards the end, giving them produce scraps that they absolutely LOVED. I intentionally made every effort to not befriend them...to not sit with them like I do with my other animals, but what do you do when it is THEY that make an effort to befriend you? I think chickens are smarter than we give them credit for. When we came out of the house, they all ran to the fence hoping we'd have goodies for them. When I went to the barn, they would follow me down the fenceline.
How is it possible to not feel anything about little beings who revealed their personalities to you and followed you around like little puppies?
Well, it's not possible. At least not for me. Instead though, I do feel humbled, with a deep respect for the lives that we took. I honestly think there would be less meat consumption if people really thought about where meat comes from. That it comes from something that has a life, and emotions. When I start to sell meat to people, I have thought about having them come out and meat the animals that will provide their sustenance.
As I write this, our birds are being butchered. Their last night here I sat with them. And cried. And told them what was coming for them. And thanked them for what they would give to us.