Advice for a vegetarian who want to process her birds??

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by serenityNH, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. serenityNH

    serenityNH Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2011
    Raymond, NH
    Hi All!

    [​IMG] First let me say I am (obviously) not against eating meat, I just don't like factory farming and made the personal decision 9 years ago to only eat food I know was treated with respect.

    So, I need some advice..... We are just starting off with our first batch of chickens, pretty sure we have some roo's in our mix and now I've got to find out if I have what it takes to put those roo's on the dinner table. My husband the meat eater is very skeptical of all this and I'm not sure he has the stomach for it so that leaves me! I've been reading a lot about processing chickens and watching videos and I'm pretty sure I can do it physically but not sure about mentally?

    I love the idea of not only growing our own veggies but now getting fresh eggs and meat- it's just seems like the way life should be.

    Okay, now for the dumb newbie questions that I am sure you will all groan at [​IMG]

    How do I get in the mindset to kill an animal ?

    What are the Pro's & Con's of having someone else process the chickens? Is it worth the money? Am I really being self sufficient if I go this route?

    How did you know that you had the stomach for it?

    Any advice for someone as 'green' as me would be much appreciated. Would love to hear about your experiences!!

    Thanks [​IMG]

    oh and BTW I made the mistake of naming the chicks- I really did think they were all pullets [​IMG]
  2. NYRIR

    NYRIR Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    How to get in the mindset? I watched some slaughterhouse videos...then watched how people do it on here..Problem solved. I don't do the actual killing,yet...DH does that thankfully.I was so upset with how the birds were raised,fed,treated etc that I just knew we had to do it ourselves.I plan on helping in the future but I am not quite able to actually kill one yet.The first two were extremely hard for me as they were named roos that I knew and liked but I couldn't keep them all! My poor hens (about 6 of them) are bald on the backs from too many roos. [​IMG] I had those birds in the freezer for about a month and a half before I could even think about eating them.Every time I opened the fridge I would think..."There's Foghorn and Leghorn"...but over time I finally cooked them...and they tasted good:)
    My Dh has a block of wood with 2 nails in it spaced apart just enough to hold the head.He puts the birds head in...pulls back on the body and chops the head off with a hatchet.It's over very fast.He then holds the body in a bucket upside down to drain it. Not the neatest way,btw, because the body thrashes and flaps some and the blood can get everywhere.We are thinking next time of using a killing cone and the neck slicing method.I think it's tough the first time or two...but then you get more used to it and it's better.I don't think I will ever LIKE it...but the alternative of supporting the meat market is worse to me.My birds are kept clean,treated well and well fed.They always have fresh water...get greens to eat and treats.I much prefer to do it our way..even though it's not easy.
    I don't know about having a processor do it because we are doing it ourselves due to cost.I would love to let someone else do the dirty work,but the cost of raising them can be a bit pricey as we do DP heritage type breeds and not the CX, so paying someone else would drive that cost up even more.It may be an alternative for you should look into how much it would cost for you...
    Just remember as you process your first have given them a MUCH better ,healthier life than what they get from the markets...the more people who do this themselves..the less we support those cruel people who abuse the birds.
    Hope this helps [​IMG]
  3. Urban Chaos

    Urban Chaos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 9, 2011
    I cant speak to getting in the mindset. I'm not bloodthirsty or violent, but have never had a problem with "the mindset". I just see it as another step in preparing food.

    As to having your meat processed for you - you can pay extra for sausage, de-boning and vac-packing. No shame in having your meat processed for you, we've had our meat processed for us before. There is a co-op in my area that offers a community processing facility complete with folk that can help you when you need (including the killing of the birds) you may want to look into a similar set up in your area.

    Good luck
  4. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    I have a MUCH harder time when having to perform a mercy killing on one of my laying hens.

    I still haven't made it to butchering my own birds . . . and when I can get it done humanely while I wait, for 2.00 I probably won't.
    But each time I took them there it got a little easier to accept. AND there is so much pride in feeding your family naturally.
  5. sunnyvera

    sunnyvera Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2010
    NE Ohio
    I found a lady in my area that will process chickens for $3.00/ea and roosters for $3.50 each. That is SOOOO reasonable. I bring them the nite before in a cage and pick them up the next day in a ziploc bag - all clean and nice. All I do is soak in some salty ice water for a little while, them them rest in the fridge for a few days, then in the freezer. Maybe Craig's list has some posting for people in your area that will process animals. The price is so reasonable, compared to organic meat at the store I am still ahead, and I have no mess or bother. Hope that helps.
  6. serenityNH

    serenityNH Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2011
    Raymond, NH
    Thank you all for your advice and encouragement!

    I have been looking for someone around me that does processing but have been coming up empty handed- I'm in NH. There was a class locally that actually taught how to butcher chickens and I wish I had known about it, I would have definitely signed up!

    Who knows, maybe someone on BYC in my area would be willing to teach me [​IMG]

    It definitely helps to hear that others experiences. I'm just scared of crying or puking [​IMG] [​IMG]
  7. KenK

    KenK Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2011
    Quote:Every living thing has to die. If you kill them yourself and use them to feed your family you will know that they died in a respectful and humane fashion and were used properly.

    I wouldn't dress a chicken for somebody else for $50 but somehow it just seems the proper thing (for me) to do ours myself.
  8. KenK

    KenK Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2011
    Quote:Crying and puking are both ok.
  9. jwg423

    jwg423 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 10, 2011
    I haven't had to do chickens yet, But we also do pigs and for me it helped to remind myself mentally that this was going to happen from the beginning and Luckily I had my SO to do it while I supervised a few times so I could "desensitize" Myself a bit, the meat was hard to eat at first after the first time, but I noticed that after the pig was in the freezer for a month or so I had time to "get over it" and it did get easier.
    Keep in mind that this is only what worked for me, can't say that there is one way that will work for everyone.
  10. JosieChick

    JosieChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2010
    Lyman, ME
    We processed our first batch of extra roos last fall. I am not a vegetarian but am very motivated to eat meat that I know has been raised and treated humanely also. Tips for a first time chicken processing would include:

    Watch a video (a good one) of the step by step process. The more you know about scalding, gutting etc the easier it is and less stressful. (For me stress=over emotional=crying)

    Have help, it goes quicker and is nice to have moral support

    Do NOT have help that is negative or unsupportive (This may be worse than no help at all)

    Get everything ready ahead of time, your processing table, kill cone, (do use a cone, so much easier, no flopping bird), scalding pot, ziploc bags, ice bath etc.

    Pick a start time and schedule it, don't say "Oh, I will do it Saturday" because you won't, schedule a time- "We will set up from 9-9:30 and begin butchering at 10 AM for example"

    Fast your birds overnight to clean them out

    Have SHARP, SHARP knives, we bought gamebird field knives and they were awesome, our friend who helped us had an old, dull knife and she cursed herself the entire time it took to do all 9 roos

    Finally, most importantly, you are not killing them. They have been raised as extra roosters. It is impractical to keep 2 roos to every 1 hen. They are serving a noble purpose feeding your family. And they have been raised and will be butchered by the kind hands that have raised them. No fear, panic, injury or disease for these birds. After you do your first batch you will feel much better. I was scared to death to do our first but at the end of the afternoon it was rewarding to see the chickens we had raised go into the fridge to chill. I was glad we had raised them and they had chased bugs and been fed treats and carried around. I was sad for the animals that never know that kind of treatment.

    Best of luck to you, lots of wonderful info on this site and others. You can even order dvds on how to process that are really nice to learn the steps. Be proud of your birds and yourself. [​IMG]

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