Originally Posted by rebrascora
I'm afraid things didn't go well for me this time, just after I thought I was building my confidence up a bit.
It all started relatively smoothly. I lifted the first bird down off the roost after dark and he was quite quiet and calm. Carried him to the feed room, held him by the legs, placed his neck under the broom shank, stood on it and gave a sharp pull... all done in a few seconds. He flapped as expected and I dropped him into my carpet cone to contain the death throws whilst I bedded down the horses in the adjoining stable. Came back a minute or two later and there was still some struggling, so I waited a bit longer and it stopped but I was horrified to see that he was still breathing and I realised he was still alive. It took me all my courage to grab his feet, pull him back out of the cone and give him a second and thankfully this time, effective "yank under the shank"
I really wanted to walk away at that point but I had set myself a target of at least 2 or 3 as it has become a welfare issue for the hens and I couldn't let it go a day longer. I went back and got the next one. He was in an awkward place to get to but I had him ear marked as being the worst offender against the hens. I have chased him off one or two of my favourite hens several times in the past couple of weeks and he has been really wary of me as a result. Of course, the moment I got hold of him he screamed blue murder. My horses who had been happily munching, came clattering out of the stable to see what the commotion was.... if there hadn't been a storm raging, I'm sure half the village would have heard. None of which did anything to calm my nerves of course. Thankfully I made a better job of necking him, but by then I needed to be home with another very large glass of rum and coke sliding down my neck. Even after that I had real trouble getting to sleep that night agonising over my incompetence at dispatching them quickly and quietly. I still haven't brought myself to process the carcasses but I must do so, otherwise it will all have been in vain.
Processing the next ones will now be even more challenging mentally and emotionally, knowing that I had that fail and the rum and coke may need to be consumed before hand for "Dutch courage.
On a positive note, the chicken peach and broccoli crumble made from my neighbour's hens was absolutely delicious. I hadn't made that recipe for years and it really hit the spot. The slow cooked meat from the hens was really tender and moist and I will be cooking that again in the very near future. so maybe that will give me a bit more incentive to dispatch the next ones.
Thanks for the info re canning the meat in bulk but it seems that the equipment necessary is expensive and not readily available here in the UK. I had not even heard the term used before until joining this site, as it is not a technique widely used (if at all) over here.
I am finding the slow cooker is doing a really good job though and I'm happy to continue using that or maybe even two together to cook the main torsos after removing and freezing the leg portions. I love the fact that the meat just falls off the bone after it has been in the slow cooker and the stock makes such great soup.