My Culling Page

My first Culling of the Flock – Mid July 2011
One of my New Hampshire Reds was sent off to freezer camp this weekend. Her name was “No Neck”. Not all of my chickens have names. No Neck had an abnormal growth under her chin and it made her appear to have no neck, hence the name. She also had some kind of disease or infection. Her rump was always smothered in poop, hence the culling.



Decisions, decisions… where did I put that 8-pound sledge hammer? Oh well, I guess I’ll go with the axe.

Whacking off the head and plucking it was easy. But my wife had to help me boil some water for scalding; that goes way beyond my skill level. No Neck’s bump looked like a giant bruise but it really was an abscess growing just under the skin. It turned out to be full of digestive tract fluids. Perhaps No Neck had a ruptured crop or gizzard.


The gutting part is where I had problems. Basically I just went hack crazy with my knife and ripped everything out. Afterwards I cleaned it real good and threw it in my freezer. And look, I got an egg.

I can’t believe I’m actually going to eat this shtt.

MY PULLET WAS MURDERED !! - Late August 2011
On Monday, when I got home from work, I was greeted by a headless chicken.

There she was, one of my 10 week-old Australorp pullets, laying dead in the chicken run.

She was the runt of the flock, about half the size as her sisters of same age and never as social as the rest. Plus I think she was going blind. Needless to say she was on the short list of next year’s freezer camp, but I never expected this. My dad later told me that it must have been a squirrel. Squirrels do this, he said. They kill a chicken and take its head, but they won’t eat the chicken. Just the head.
The general consensus of the Chicken Forum suggests the predator might have been a raccoon. But I also heard testimony toward squirrels and rats.

So I plucked her and feed her to my dogs.

ANOTHER DEAD PULLET – Late August 2011
Only a few days ago did I lose one of my 10 week-old Australorp pullets to a predator and now another one. Two dead Australorp pullets so far. This one was found dead inside the chicken coop. She was on the floor by a corner. No missing parts or signs of attack. She was just dead.

So I plucked her and feed her to my dogs.

CULLING OF THE MEAT BIRDS – Early November 2011
One of my backyard Cornish cross died this weekend. Painfully slow, I might add. My birds are 7 weeks old now and I wanted to see at least one 12 week old Cornish cross. But after what I witnessed, I think it may be better to dispatch them all at the pre-arranged scheduled time rather than running the possibility of having another bird die on me like that. I use to feel bad about sending them to freezer camp so soon, but now, not so much. It is the best and most humane thing to do with these type of meat birds.

I found it in the morning laying on the ground and struggling to breathe. I helped it along on it's journey ASAP. But it was obvious that the bird had been suffering for hours. Totally did not deserve to die that way.
The genetics on these birds suck.

I tried to pluck it but I found that skinning it was easier for me. Afterwards, I butchered it and kept most of the meat for my freezer. The rest I fed to my dogs; including the heart, liver and gizzard. The only things that were not consumed were the head, feathers, and the feet. I know that the feet are edible, but I don’t know how they are prepared.

ANOTHER DEAD MEAT BIRD – Early November 2011
Another one of my meat birds died. I saw it in the morning before I went to work and when I came home it was dead. Same situation as the prior one; victim of Bad Genetics.

I skinned it and butchered it into pieces but I kept most of it for my freezer and I only fed my dogs the innards; the heart, liver and gizzard. Again, the only parts that were not consumed are the head, feathers and feet.