Advice needed for doing the deed....

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Farmer Gab, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. Farmer Gab

    Farmer Gab In the Brooder

    Mar 26, 2007
    Flagstaff, Arizona
    Okay. My husband and I are looking for input from all of you! Please tell us how you got over the "guilt" of killing your chickens. We have processed four turkeys and helped the neighbors with their chickens, but now we are having a hard time getting out there and butchering out the meat birds. We have no problems with the's just the killing. So......please share how you worked through this stage of things.....

  2. freshegg

    freshegg Songster

    May 15, 2008
    I havent faced this yet but hubby was just looking at baby turkeys and said how are you going to be able to kill them, they are just trying to survive it doesnt seem right. well I had to tell him thats what I got them for and we are going to eat them. justify it by knowing you gave them a better life than the commercial people would have. thats what Im going to tell myself. Hope it works.
  3. freeholdfarms

    freeholdfarms In the Brooder

    Dec 30, 2007
    It is just part of the chore of raising meat birds. Don't think about, just get started with the processing. Worry more about the cleaning and doing a good job of that.
  4. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I don't think it's the favorite part of the process for anyone. I'm looking for the breed of chickens who will climb up on the stump & chop their own heads off for me. Until then, I just have to steel my nerves for the task, and try to do it quickly and well. That's my final favor to them, to give them a quick and painless finish.

    It helps that I keep in mind that my meat birds are meat right from the start. I still cannot cull my older laying hen friends, nor the roos who have served as leaders of the laying flocks. Perhaps some day I will, but not today.

    Our modern society is very much out of touch with reality when it comes to life & death and killing & eating. Graphic violence against humans is shown on TV & in the movies, yet many folks cannot bear to even think about where their meat comes from or how it's being processed. I think that's one big reason why we have these factory farms, many prefer that the unpleasant business of eating take place far out of their sight.

    Most people I know are at least a few generations removed from personal knowledge of processing chickens or other animals for their tables. That's one reason why I wanted to learn, to reclaim this essential survival skill for myself and my children. It used to be a very everyday, matter-of-fact occurance for most households. Few people wrestled with guilt or remorse about it, few children were traumatized by the act. It was simply a way of life, a way to get meat to eat, and folks were grateful for it.

    It should help that you've seen other chickens & turkeys being processed. You know that once their heads & feathers are off they look like any other meat you'd buy.

    I try to look at my meat birds like I do the produce I grow in my garden. I tend them from their tiny starts, meet their needs for growth, admire their natural beauty, anticipate their tastiness as they mature. It would make as much sense to withhold butchering for sentimental reasons as to let a melon grow, ripen, and then wither on the vine because it was too beautiful to pick.

    Instead of saying "what a shame to eat such a beautiful rooster" I say "isn't it great that my meat comes in such an attractive package!"

    I wish you success and nerves of steel for your own processing.
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Hear, hear!!! Great post! ^^^^ Exactly! I think I would feel more guilty eating the very processed chicken breast in the store. When I think about where and how that poor bird was raised, I thank God my chickens live in freedom, cleanliness and content until they are turned into nutrition. I just straighten my spine and think of all the reasons I raise my own meat and just get the job over with. If you think killing chickens is difficult, try butchering fuzzy, beautiful rabbits with pretty pink eyes! [​IMG]
  6. HobbyChickener

    HobbyChickener Songster

    Jun 29, 2007
    central KY
    Not really ever been an issue with me. Not sure if it is because I am a hunter or just keep teling myself that the reason these birds are here is for my freezer / family to eat. Keep telling yourself that they are a meal not a pet and that might help.

    I have decided that ringing their necks as opposed to chopping heads off makes it a little easier (not as much blood or mess) to carry out the process. It helps to when you look at a 8-9 lbs bird and know it is hormone free for your family too!
  7. seriousbill

    seriousbill Songster

    May 4, 2008
    All have posted sound advice. And I particularly like Sunny_Side_Up's take on things. When we butcher, we also focus on the good treatment and health of the birds, the fact that we are producing food for our own tables rather than relying on companies to do it for us, and that we are continuing a long-standing tradition that is part of our rural heritage. I always feel a little guilty (not a ton, because I'm from practical WV stock), but that twinge of guilt is part of the process and probably shouldn't be eradicated from it. When that guilt goes, how long is it before the respect for life goes and the respect for the quality of life goes? I'm not trying to insult those who are even more practical than myself; I'm only saying that maybe a good way to approach this, for many of us, is to embrace the guilt as part of the experience too. Not everything can be pleasant or easy. That is something our great-grandmas knew all too well, and it may have made their lives richer and more nuanced in some ways. It probably made them wiser. I'm just sayin'.
  8. LilRalphieRoosmama

    LilRalphieRoosmama Officially Quacked

    Oct 15, 2007
    Elyria, OH
    I won't lie...the night I did the first half of my meat birds, I cried [​IMG] The morality of it bothered me because I specifically bought these birds to kill them, and I've never done such a thing before.

    But then I realized that I did this to put food on my table for my family - healthy, well-cared for food - and I did it myself. That's what these birds were destined for from the start.

    Once I put it all in perspective (and had some fresh chicken for dinner) I felt much better about it and had no problem continuing with the rest of them.
  9. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    You know the saying "you gotta break some eggs if you want an omlette"? Well, we have to think "you gotta end some animal's life if you want to eat meat." (Just think, it's a whole lot messier and much more difficult to get a fork into them while they're still alive)

    Some folks have considered this fact and have decided to become vegetarians. I can respect that, and for a while when I was a teen I was one too. I have less respect for those who just want to avoid thinking about the whole subject of where their meat comes from, allowing the business of meat processing to be pushed to the margins of society where all sorts of nasty practices can thrive unnoticed.

    I agree that it's a good thing that we retain at least a twinge of grief over killing an animal for its meat, it's a moral quality I don't want to lose in its entirety. And I also think it makes us wiser people with a broader, more realistic perspective to fully face these unpleasant aspects of real life.

    Knowing the enormous amount of work it takes to bring a chicken from the egg to the table makes me extremely appreciative for every morsel of meat they provide. I don't want to waste a bit of it. This gratitude for our food is something essential I wanted my children to also learn as well.

    Jesus talked about this concept of life coming from death, about the grain of wheat that must fall to the earth, give up its life as a wheat grain, in order to grow & produce many many more grains of wheat. I think most humans need a little bit of meat protein each day for optimal health & strength, and therefore some animals must give up their lives for that cause. Chickens are food for so many other animals, why not humans too?

    Could you imagine a world overpopulated with pet roosters confined safely in cages for years and years until they died a natural death?
  10. Whistling Badger

    Whistling Badger Songster

    May 26, 2008
    a burrow in a pasture
    Good thoughts. Sunny side up, I agree with your take. We have the advantage of being hunters, so I don't think we'll struggle when the time comes.

    Here is what has to be the most humane way I've ever heard of to slaughter an animal, from a book by Tim Cahill, one of my favorite writers.

    "Every spring, Bob buys a new lamb, and the lamb is always named Buddy. Buddy mows and fertilizes the lawn in exchange for food and beer. Buddy drinks beer out of a nippled baby bottle...Bob, a former marine, can't bring himself to personally slaughter the lamb. It happens this way: one day, when the leaves on the aspen have turned yellow and the grass has stopped growing, Buddy downs as many bottles of beer as he wants. After Buddy passes out, he is taken on a short drive and comes back several days later, wrapped in little white packages of freezer paper." from Hold the Enlightenment by Tim Cahill.

    If a critter has to die...well, there are worse ways to go. I fully plan to try this at some point (except do the butchering myself).
    Good luck.


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