Well, it's time to cull - and it's my first time. I guess it sort of snuck up on me, as I have so much else going on and am building a coop. But several of the boys that are freezer-bound have gotten to be a bit of a handful in the past few days, and it is now TIME.
I have almost everything I need - killing cone, processing table (a fish cleaning table), scalder, good knives, freezer bags (need another trash can and a bucket or two). I'm going to try plucking by hand this time around - I will always be doing low volume harvesting, so I'd like to see if I can do without a plucker. But now I need to figure out the staging of it - WHERE to set up (e.g., near power for the scalder, near water supply, need to figure out where to mount the cone, etc.). I'm also trying to wrap my head around trashcans/buckets, etc. (e.g., feathers, innards, etc. - no dogs to throw them to, and icing container). I used to have one of those pop up canopies that I was going to use, but it collapsed a storm. I think I may try to get another, might make it easier to stage. Has anyone tried hanging the hose from above?
I'll be doing this on my own this weekend - I have 7 cockerels to cull. Would it be better for my first time to do just a couple one day and then the rest later? I'd like to try to do them all at once, but wasn't sure how long it would take. Also, do you cage your birds heading for cull, or just remove food from their pen? Do you let them forage? How do people usually manage this? For whatever reason, I'm less upset emotionally about the thought of killing them than the thought of withholding their food, which is starting to bother me (not that I won't do it). I hadn't expected that.
(I'm about to go dig back through the tread for info and to see if I can find some of those videos again, but I thought it couldn't hurt to ask...)
- Ant Farm