butchered first meaties today! Some thoughts.

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Araylee, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. Araylee

    Araylee Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 13, 2010
    I don't have final weights on them because they're still resting in the cooler, but I'm guessing between 3-5 pounds after butchering, at just under 8 weeks old. We fed them a soy-free locally grown non GMO feed and I just read on here that soy-free feed=birds that weigh less? Anyway, I would have left them another week at least based on their weights today. I like my birds a little bigger, lol! [​IMG] Slaughtering went really well, we used kill cones and started w/ a box cutter blade but found that we had to hack at them a few times to get through the feathers-not ideal!! When we switched to a fillet knife that completely changed the process-it was one single swipe to each side of the neck. It took about 4 hours from set up to tear down, (there were 12 birds) not including packaging the birds in food saver bags. Hubby and I both did really well at the time of the slaughter/butcher-bleed out, scald, pluck, remove innards, dunk! Repeat! But I think there was a whole lot of adrenaline going, because we are both soooooooo tired right now! While we were butchering I was soooooo hungry for chicken, but not now!! I read on another post that somebody was emotionally tired at the end of butcher day--I made sure not to get attached to these birds, didn't pet them (ew gross!), didn't name them, really didn't go out there except to make sure they had food and clean water. But there is a feeling of something missing when I look out at the empty chicken tractor. I won't miss feeding or cleaning up after them, but still. I'll miss their white fluff against green grass! [​IMG] There is definitely something somber about looking at the food on your plate and thinking "an animal died to feed me" rather than "this meat was on sale! score!" We had pork chops for dinner. Poor choice on my part, pork looks too much like chicken and I kept envisioning a little porky snout. How long does it take before the "raw" feeling wears off and you can eat meat comfortably again? I would do it again, my chickens lived good lives and died in a fairly peaceful and non-stressed manner, but I'm feeling a little queasy at the moment. [​IMG] My daughter was at the dinner table "was this the chicken we killed today?" (no, it's pork from a pig) "I know this came from a pig!..So a pig died to make this dinner?" (yes, it did) "ok..when are we going to eat OUR chickens?" She was nervous about watching but did come out toward the end and I explained that the chicken wasn't really hurting while it was dying, and after it was dead it got a little chicken bath, and then we took it's "clothes" off with the chicken plucker, and then the guts come out. And then it looks like a store chicken! I don't think she'll be traumatized for life but she definitely wanted to know what was happening.

    I so appreciate all the pictures and videos you all have made, it was really helpful!!!
  2. itsy

    itsy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2011
    New England
    Hey [​IMG] Welcome to BYC if I haven't toldja yet!

    I processed my first bird almost a week ago, and I have to admit, I'm still thinking of it every day. We're going to eat the bird tomorrow.

    Congratulations on your processing! I know what you mean about seeing them in the tractor and then an emptiness. I haven't gone through that exact scenario - but we are creatures of habit. When you take part of that routine away, something feels lacking.

    Every meat I've eaten now since then, I appreciate. Good luck on your next meatie adventure! When will you get more chicks?
  3. Jschaaff

    Jschaaff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2011
    New Hampshire
    Quote:Great job doing 12 birds in 4 hours! I'm guessing hubby and I would've only got about 8 done!...okay, maybe seven [​IMG]

    My son is kind of in the same boat as your daughter...he's still iffy on the whole "eating our chickens" thing..but he's a little more extreme than your daughter, as he's spending a lot of time telling me how horrible it is that I didn't mind culling the chickens... and what a "big fat meanie head" I am...said as respectfully, as one can possibly say that...[​IMG]

    The queasiness (soooo normal by the way!) does wear off, I promise! Doesn't mean everyone will choose to do the whole process of raising meaties or culling extras roos etc, twice....but that ickiness you're feeling a little bit of now...it Will go away hun.

    You did a great job of describing exactly how I feel now that my older meaties are gone... but I had a bad day last Friday...some women eat icecream....or a bowl of cookie dough....I buy chickens to feel better lol...so I've got 25 more cornish in the brooder now. Still, I honestly miss my big guys and gals. Itsy nailed it..."we are creatures of habit. When you take part of that routine away, something feels lacking."

    Again sounds like you did a fabulous job [​IMG]


  4. chickenjoefan

    chickenjoefan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 19, 2011
    Western Isles, Scotland
    We did our first processing 2 weeks ago. I hatched 8 eggs and ended up with 6 roos, i had hoped to rehome them but at 8 weeks old they got sick and although they recovered i couldn't pass on carriers to other people so we decided to rear them for the table instead. Being bantams they weren't big birds and the first time we did 2 one after the other. I have to admit i had to force myself to eat the roast chicken dinner. A week later we culled a third who became a casserole, he was getting quite noisy and bossy and i don't know whether it was his character or the fact that it was my second go at it, or just a really good casserole but he was easier to eat.

    I know they all had a really good life - especially compared to those i would have bought in the supermarket instead (and rehoming isn't an option for me) but it still makes me sad inside to think that they wont be running around the garden anymore.

    The last two were meant to go today, i know i can't leave it much longer but i just couldn't do it this morning. They are so pretty running around and they aren't crowing or fighting, in fact they look so sweet curled up together on the doorstep. But i know if i don't get rid of them they will make any new birds i get sick so they have to go.

    So i just want to say well done, i am very impressed and know just how you're feeling. Its not an easy thing to do but i think it would be wrong not to feel some sort of sadness at the end of a life. The point is that the life was a good one, ended without stress or pain and had a purpose.

    well done.
  5. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    The very first time my family butchered birds, there were 40 of them. 6 people working, but by the end of the day, I couldn't get the stink of wet feathers and chicken guts out of my nose.

    All the kids were clamoring for fried chicken, so I had to cook up a bunch of the birds. I couldn't make myself eat it that night, but no problem after that. Everyone else involved in the butchering dove on that fried chicken and gobbled it up.

    I was the only one gutting and opening and cleaning crops, and it was the smell that turned me off. Since no one else opened birds, they didn't get the same smell experience.

    Everyone had already eaten home raised pork and beef, so home grown wasn't a new concept.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by