February 28, 2012

"Before Plucking" by Vicki Shuck

Oil on Panel
Contact Vicki Shuck for Purchase Information

One of my nieces has generously agreed to be a subject of my paintings for this project.  She grew up on a farm and has loved animals and agriculture all her life. After graduating from college with a degree in Animal Science, she returned to the Klamath Basin and works at the OSU Agriculture Experiment Station.  

She and her husband decided to try raising organic, free-range chickens this past year. They set up a roomy pen on wheels in their pasture that they moved every day, providing their 20-odd chickens with fresh grasses to pick through and poop in, fertilizing it at the same time.  After 8 weeks, the chickens were ready to butcher.  This painting shows one step of that process:  after the chicken was dead, it was dunked in very hot water to make it easier to pluck.  It was a family affair--moms and dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all got to get in on this helping to pluck, singe the pin-feathers, and get them ready for wrapping and freezing.

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