At what age do you allow your children to process meat birds?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by mississippifarmboy, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    I'm just curious. I was taking some pictures of my 13 year old dressing some guineas and young roosters for our Thanksgiving dinner and one of my neighbors stopped by, and almost fainted. He said he might eat a farm chicken, but would never allow a child to help, much less allow a child to do it himself.

    I was raised on a small dirt farm, was helping to kill, dress and prepare food critters back as far I can remember. By the time I was 10 or so, Pa would just tell me which one he wanted and I'd catch, kill, dress and clean it and bring it to Ma ready to cut up and cook. He'd say "go get that old red hen with the crooked comb" or "We'll eat that young rooster that flogged your cousin last week". It wasn't cruel, wasn't mean, and wasn't unusual for our area, it's just the way things were.
    I've tried to raise my kids the same way. Jon is just now learning, this is only about the third time he's pretty much done it alone, but he is learning. He is 13 and has asbergers, so is a bit slow moving, slow thinking and very methodical, but he isn't stupid and I think he does very well all things considered. All my kids were doing it by this age.

    I guess I'm just curious as to what age everyone else teaches thier kids. Those that do, I know there are a lot who don't even do it themselves, much less teach the kids.

    Please, let's keep it friendly. [​IMG]
  2. ramirezframing

    ramirezframing Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 2, 2011
    Knee Deep
    I kill them and gut them but the kids 7 yrs and under "play" with the guts as I tell them what they are and do.
  3. real_redhead

    real_redhead Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2011
    Roanoke, VA
    I think its great that you have taught your kids to do this, growing up my dad would never let me see him clean and dress anything. As an adult I couldn't do it, I gag at the sight of blood and guts. After getting chickens I had to ask my husband if he could cull them if need be and thankfully he has no problem doing so. You should be proud! Most of us are so far removed from our food that people get all upsets about the process it takes to get it to the table. I think what you are doing is wonderful!
  4. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    I processed my birds when my daughter was about five and she didn't get to see the process of the butchering.

    If I had one to process, I would let her witness and she can help cut or even do some autopsies on the guts and whats not if she is curious.

    I dont think there is a limit on the age of kids doing and watching it. I think parents can figure out whether or not the kids are ready for it by judging their maturity and how they feel about seeing/doing it.
  5. MeatKing

    MeatKing Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think that is great mississippifarmboy, I never learned how, my Mom did it as a young girl, but couldn't show me, or tell me.. She got married and moved off the farm into town..
    Anyways, I think, whatever age you think kids are ready!! I brought my 5 year old daughter to chicken proccesser.. She wanted out I let her.. She wondered up to where I was hauling our chickens/where they do the deed..
    I warned her, honey, that's where their killing the chickens.. Don't go over there unless you want to see this..

    This well meaning man, stepped between her and the building.. And got down to her level, to explain what was going on in there.. She already knew, really.. I know my kids, that why the 3 year old waited in truck. (Please keep in mind, I was with truck the whole time, I didn't leave 3 year old out've sight.)

    Grr, He would never let a child help, because, he can't even do it himself..
  6. BarnGoddess01

    BarnGoddess01 I [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]

    I'm a "city kid" that has lived in the country her entire adult life (and I'm no longer young!) Started keeping chickens a few years ago. I'm still not very good at "processing" them. (I still name them all and think of them as pets.) Neighbours have been fabulously helpful. Their 8 year old grand-daughter got involved the last time. Made all the typical "kid" comments and expressions ("GROSS")but she wasn't phased by it. In fact, I think she handled it better than I did!!!! She wasn't hands on any more than an 8 year old might drive a tractor but in my experience at 13 they often ARE helping- and driving!
  7. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    If they grow up around it, it is a natural part of, to me, the younger the better. Now, MY mom waited till I was probably about 10 and ordered 500 biddies....Lord knows why...naturally they were too cramped...started eating each other...she decided one day to process the whole lot. Relatives gathered, sawhorses were covered with plywood. Grandma wrang their necks and let them go...Mom whacked the heads off and let them go...chickens everywhere. Feathers everywhere. Dying birds chasing terrified kids around the yard (I swear they seemed to chase us!). Blood everywhere. I was put on the assembly line to pluck the singed pinfeathers....OMG I still smell that smell. Otherwise I did fine. I know that push come to shove...I could do it again...but not just yet....It's only been 40 years or so..LOL
  8. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    Interesting responses so far. 5, 7 and 8 year olds watching, starting to help.
    I agree that every child is different, and the parents should be responsible in teaching them. If I had been exposed like welasharon to that assembly line kind of butchering I might have never even wanted to eat another chicken, much less raise them and process them myself. Here it was "as needed". We very seldom put anything in the freezer, just processed as we needed one to eat.

    Our kids watched if they wanted to from the time they could walk but I've never forced them to watch, help or anything else. I have incouraged them to if they wanted to. I guess I never treated it as a big deal, so they don't either.

    It's sorta funny in a way. Jon understands about making the kill quick and painless, saying a little thank you prayer when the deed is done, he doesn't mind the blood or the innards.....

    But he HATES the feel of wet feathers sticking to his hand. He says that part is "so gross". [​IMG]
  9. ramirezframing

    ramirezframing Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 2, 2011
    Knee Deep
    Quote:I agree, mine come and go to watch and learn and yes quick and painless death and prayer said. But mine love learning stuff and have always asked questions far beyond their age.
  10. trooper

    trooper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2010
    [​IMG][​IMG] I think it is great that kids that are ready to handle the butchering process are allowed to do their part.My daughter watched me clean a squirrel and she was still in her high chair.When she got her first deer she was able to field dress it with no problem.There was a boy with us that got a deer and was never allowed to do this kind of thing and he couldn't do it.He still can't to this day and he is in his upper 20's.I think that if more children were allowed to partake in this type of thing at their level it would be better for them.Parents sometimes hold to much back from their kids and in the long run the kids suffer.My grandson is 5 years old and he was allowed to help us to process a few chickens and at the same time he was eating.His hands were clean,but his Mom wanted him to be able to handle this type of thing.He watched me skin out a deer today with no problem.When opportunity knocks for them to learn something and it isn't wrong or harmful let them.[​IMG][​IMG]

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