Culling... To eat or not to eat? the bigger picture...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Rodster, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. Rodster

    Rodster Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 24, 2011
    Tampa Bay, Florida
    Hi again.
    i posted yesterday in response to a thread about a chicken psychiatrist and after seeing another post today from a gal with to many roosters, i decided to throw this out and see what the drawbacks are to this aspect of the...hobby? i imagine i have to call it a hobby for me, as i am not going to be producing as a business for business sakes. So, that brings me to this question. How many ppl here WILL cull if needed or desired? And of those that do, how many will stock the freezer, fridge or crock pot? Is there a way to do this so we don't feel like canibalistic traitors? I can see how some may need to (or want to ) cull or various reasons as this WAS my main inputus for growing in the first place, Dinner. Eggs was second to be honest. Now that all of that has switched around i need to figure out where on the food chain my new flock will rest. i am also considering adding 3 turks and eventually a peacock male. I must really be out of my mind to still keep thinking i'll be able to eat these things when the time comes but here again, i feel a NEED to become more self reliant of myself for living self sufficiantly. I see where the world is headding and it's not a good place. until our time is called we are required to eat and survive. With an imminant global collapse of infrastructure on the horizon, those that are prepared will fare the best. SO, it's not a trivial matter to me. i need to either learn how to DO this, or go buy smaller, less messy pets that eat WAY less that won't be a financial burden, as im not doing this for the love of pets... it's a love of food and now a hatred of where that food has to come from. Forgive me if i seem a bit dramatic but this is a real dilemma and i know i can't be the only one facing this. Is there a book or reading out there that covers this? Again, Thank you SO much. i still haven't named them... [​IMG]
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    well, what I love is the flock, and watching the flock dynamics. I like their clucking, their curiosity, their eggs and the meat. I do not raise enough to never buy chicken in the store. However, I want a young and productive flock, so I do cull the older and the roosters, and keep adding new chicks. I do suffer from predators hard, but I accept that with the benefits of free ranging.

    It is a hobby for me, in the fact that the money going in to the chickens, does not equal the money saved by the food and eggs produced.

    There are very explicit videos on the internet on how to butcher chickens, and last fall my DSI and I did 5 roosters. This fall, we will do 3 old hens. Really I had decided who I was going to butcher much earlier, and I began to mentally distance myself from them. In doing the actual deed of slitting their throats, I must say it was not that hard, much harder to contemplate it, than do it, which was kind of startling to me. Once the bird was dead, it really was just food to me, and once plucked just looked like a chicken in the store. My niece and nephew were here, 3 & 6 years old. They thought it was awsome, and played with the feet.

    Home raised, free range chickens do taste better than the ones you buy in the store, and canned broth was very good addition to many things. I was proud and please to off these treats to my family.

    Once in a while I will get attached to an older hen, if so, I can or could have afforded to keep her, but the darn coon got attached to her too![​IMG]

    I hope this view point helps.

  3. andalusn

    andalusn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2009
    Ridgefield, WA
    I grew up with animals that when bought it was to raise or finish for butchering. This included chickens. You just knew that some animals while you befriended it that was your choice but not that animals purpose. They in turn had a comfortable life, well treated and dispatched in a humane manner. Not unlike a person who hunts on a yearly basis for deer or elk. I personally don't like to pluck chickens. That was my job as a kid. To that end I have been asking and researching. My flock grows as I hatch eggs and that means more than a number are roosters. We are in the process of building a tub style chicken plucker for that nasty job and with some friends to help we will be processing the extra birds or the birds that are just not a good flock fit as they cause trouble or have a bad attitude. A friend who hunts pheasant locally he has a way to just hold the bird quietly and it quietly goes to sleep while he compresses the lungs. Its quiet and most effective. He skins and only keeps the breast meat. Others with chickens have said the same thing. They dispatch the bird and then skin it and keep only the breast meat. I like a whole fryer so we will be processing the birds completely and then loading up the freezer. My main flock is a dual purpose bird that is known for its meat flavor so while I enjoy my birds/eggs and there are some that have attained keeper status there are more than enough for the freezer too. So its a balance between raising responsibly and accepting the fact some are for the freezer and also enjoying their community in the farm group.

    I like knowing where my food comes from and if I can drive through for a fast food burger I can hardly complain about having to process my own stock.
  4. MamaRoo

    MamaRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2011
    A ferry ride away, WA
    I helped a neighbor cull a rooster that was driving his wife crazy. It was really hard (first time for both of us), but it was important to me to be able to connect to the food chain and own up to the fact that animals die to feed me.

    You can do it gently and humanely, and appreciate the fact you made the animals life pleasant, and the animal then contributed to your life.
  5. cubalaya

    cubalaya Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 19, 2008
    central virginia
    i culled one this morning. its chillin' in the fridge as i type. as far as the chickens feeding us, i haven't bought any eggs from the store for quite awhile, and there is always chicken in the freezer. i sell a few dozen eggs and buy their laying mash with it. i sell a few dozen chicks and pay for chick starter. i sell a few adults or trios and make a little profit. i plant turnips and sunflower seeds to cut my costs of feeding the flock and the rabbits in the fall. spring and summer they get garden scraps and bugs. winter is probably the hardest but you just have to be prepared for that. usually by february first i have chicks hatching and the cycle starts all over again.
  6. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

    Jun 17, 2011
    Morristown, AZ
    Chickens are kept for many reasons and having grown up around farms and farmers I have always culled and eaten our birds. We keep over 30 hens and some roos and they are not kept as "pets" but as "workers" and yes they get lots of attention and treats like many other flocks, but when the time comes the time comes with no regrets.

    There are however some hens or roos the kids name that are extra "pet like" and we give those away at about 3 years old cause sometimes it is hard to eat dinner that has a name.... The roosters may be kept longer if they are good at what they do and non-aggressive.
  7. Niss

    Niss Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2011
    The only bird we've culled so far was a guinea that wouldn't shut up...hubby had a headache and was working in 98 degree heat--he shot it. I wasn't allowed to try to eat it [​IMG] He said after a hollow piont hit center mass it was NOT worth the mess. I think it would be a good jumping off point for me to kill the sole guinea survivor since I don't like them and it'll make it easier on me than culling a hen that runs to me when I come home.

    I do plan to eat excess roos and hens that aren't producing. I don't know who's eggs are who's, but I've been tracking the % of eggs of each color v. % of layers of that colored egg. The EEs were on the chopping block, but after deworming those numbers have turned around.

    Much like Rodster, I got chickens as a food source when either I have no job, the supermarkets have no food, or the money is so worthless it doesn't matter it I have a job and there is food at walmart-500% inflation has rendered me unable to buy it. However, they have become pets to some extent and my hobby to an alarming extemt--I spend WAY more time thinking about and doing things with my chickens than is nessicary, posible more than is healthy [​IMG]
  8. KDailey

    KDailey Crazy Cochin Lady

    Jun 27, 2011
    Bronson, Tx
    When it comes to me, the chickens are there for eggs and meat. All my chickens are still under 6-7 weeks old so I haven't had to cull any yet.

    I won't be able to do the actual culling myself, I'm a huge huge animal lover, but I do understand that we need food and food comes from animals. That's how it is. Dear boyfriend will have to do the actual killing.

    BUT: I do have a chick or two that have got great personalities and come running when they see me, fly up on my arm and actually like to be held and petted. These chickens are pets and will not be eaten unless they just take a horrible turn as far as their personalities go and then I'm not gonna have a problem. The dumb bugger is mean! lol.

    Certain chickens are indeed pets and others are food.

    I also feel like if I have some animals that are used to food, etc that if something were to happen we would be ok. We've got horses for transportation, chickens for eggs and meat, I'd like to start a garden and get a few cows and pigs. Boyfriend has a saw mill where he saws pine logs and can use that to build what's needed. Boyfriend also knows how to train dogs for hog hunting and rabbit hunting so we could hunt for food too. So the chickens are also a part of this.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
  9. jettgirl24

    jettgirl24 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2010
    Duvall, WA
    We culled our first roo yesterday. He had been my favorite chick and was absolutely gorgeous but the meanest thing you've ever met. We had been planning this for awhile but Saturday was the last straw. He came after me and kicked and pecked my hand... Drew blood and felt like he broke bones for a minute. I have loved animals all of my life and was vegetarian for many years... This is the first animal I can truly say that I hated with a passion. I couldn't do the deed (fortunately my boyfriend could) but I can't say that I felt bad about it after it was done. He never wanted for anything and had 8 hens all to himself. He had a great life despite my hatred for him and frankly, he got what he deserved! We slow roasted him and had him for dinner last night and man was he tasty! I have never had anything but store bought meat and year old heritage chicken was a real treat. It has made me consider raising a flock of heritage meat birds. Processing was quite a bit of work but it felt good to know where our dinner came from. I think with some time I could get more comfortable with it and be more involved in the processing next time.

    That said I don't think I could do it to my girls. I feel like they give me eggs and make me smile every day so I owe it to them to make their lives good and comfortable for as long as they stick around.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
  10. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    My birds are food. Either meat or eggs.

    They are treated extremely well and handled with consideration. I enjoy watching them and caring for them, but they are expected to pay me back for all the money I put into them.

    I keep dogs for pets. Those never get eaten.

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