THIS young rooster being nursed by Sharon Gibson is a dead chook walking.
It is one of 18 at the Mullumbimby Community Gardens which participants in a quirky workshop are going to catch and kill for their Christmas dinner.
The lesson in how to humanely kill, pluck and gut a chicken is being given in the lead up to Christmas by Lindsay Murray from Dingo Lane Poultry, with assistance from his protege Sharon, a permaculture and organic gardening teacher.
Sharon reckons the technique they teach to slice the chickens' heads off with a sharp hatchet is so quick and painless that she wouldn't mind going that way herself.
But she admits it's a strange thing for an animal activist and a vegetarian since the age of 12 to be involved in.
Since learning from Lindsay a year ago how to harvest her own poultry, she and her family have reverted to occasionally eating meat.
"I still regard myself as a vegetarian as I wouldn't eat any-thing I hadn't killed," she said.
Sharon's killed 20 poultry now and while admitting the first kill was hard, she doesn't feel any guilt or remorse about it.
"I don't feel an attachment to them in a pet-like way. It just feels very natural. We care for the animals and then it's time to eat them.
"It's a very humbling experience. It has deepened my connection to nature."
THE December 22 workshop is booked out, but more will be held from February.
Some of the chooks will also be cooked up for the garden's Christmas lunch at 1pm on December 22. The cost is $12.
For workshop details email Sharon or phone 6684 4333.