Do I have to starve them before dispatching?


8 Years
May 11, 2011

We are taking two of our chickens to the farm where we got them as chicks today so that they can show us how to kill and prepare them. It's our first time and I have a couple of questions I'd love help with.
Firstly, our 'book' says that we should not let them eat for the day before they are killed. Is this really necessary? What if you don't? The rooster is pacing about looking very annoyed. The farmer didn't mention it (although that could be because she only speaks french and my french isn't wonderful).
Secondly, any tips on getting an angry, pecky rooster into a box for the trip? Once we've learned how to do it, our plan will be to kill subsequent birds at home with a minimum of fuss but for these first two, unfortunately, we have to take them to the farm to learn.
And a third question about eggs... we had our first egg yesterday. It was very small- is that normal and will they get bigger as she gets into the swing of things?

Thanks very much,


Muddy Acre Farms
10 Years
Sep 20, 2009
Pride, La.
Let's see.... Yes you withhold food for at least 12 hours before processing!! Makes things MUCH easier!! Catching the roosters the night before is your best bet. Go out there once they have roosted for the night! I place mine in a dog kennel then all you have to do is reach into that and get them out!! Good luck with your processing!!

Forgot about the 3rd question... Yes & Yes!! Yes it's normal and yes they will eventually get bigger!!
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9 Years
Apr 20, 2010
New Brunswick, Canada
Its not absolutely necessary to (I like to say) fast them the day before
but it does make things smell much better during processing, and you don't have to clean out the food from their gulls, and you don't have to worry about poo touching your meat

Try it both ways and I can pretty much guarantee you will like to fast them first


10 Years
Mar 2, 2009
North East
Jumping in here to ask - is 12 hours OK? Longer better? We are processing early tomorrow and I want to know when to pull food.

As for the rooster usually we sneak up on them at night and put them in a box/crate. They might spend a few extra hours in the box but safer then trying when he is awake.
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Rube Goldberg incarnate
9 Years
Mar 17, 2010
Western Washington
12-18 hours is fine. Yes, catch the rooster at night if you can, a fish net works great during the day, and a dog crate does work very well.


My Patronus is a Chicken
11 Years
Apr 22, 2008
We make sure our birds are out of food (though they are still on pasture) by the evening before processing. We did some birds for a farmer friend a while back and he had them just on pasture with very little grain at all. When they were transported, they were put in crates that had feed in the bottom. Those birds snarfed up so much grain waiting to be processed that their crops were as big as softballs! It made it difficult to separate the crops and they had really full intestines. I much prefer birds that have been off feed for 12hrs.


11 Years
Oct 1, 2008
Yorkshire, Ohio
If you withhold feed for 12 hours, the crop will be empty, but there will still be an abundance of fecies in the digestive tract. If you withhold for 18+ hours, it will greatly reduce the amount of fecies. I used to only do 12 hours, but after getting poo squirted on me while doing the killing (sometimes when they're in the cones, as they shutter, poo comes flying out), I went to 18 hours and have fewer occcurances. I keep water in front of them as long as possible.


9 Years
Jan 23, 2011
I just kill one at a time. What works well for me is to get my dinner chicken off the roost before he comes down in the morning. It has actually become a fairly pleasant Saturday morning ritual. Get up well before daylight, put a pot of coffee on and go kill a chicken.

Of course, my wife and co-workers think I'm insane because I get up earlier on the weekends than I do on workdays.


8 Years
Aug 26, 2011
Poplar Bluff, Mo
I would not fast them. I have processed CX's without fasting and a 45 pound Bronze Tom without fasting, and all was cool until you got to their crops full of feed, and if you know how to make your cuts at their vent there is no worry of fecal material on their meat. (This will take some practice so keep a garden hose to immediately wash off any nasties on the meat.) I say you fed these birds, you coo'd at em, laughed at their clownish behaviour, ya might have named em, so to fast them is an insult to who they are, and eating, and enjoying YOU is part of their life, so why not keep that until their end, and just deal with the extra mess?

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