Do you let your children watch you butcher a chicken?

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by brenda+2, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. brenda+2

    brenda+2 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 30, 2009
    Hi Folks -

    I have two kids (5 1/2 and 4) who have expressed an interest in watching me kill and dress our chickens. I haven't included them in the past, but now that we are replacing our beloved flock with new chickies, they are curious about how the old ones get to the fridge. I've humanely explained to them the process, but I'm not sure if they should watch.

    What is your experience? Please share.


    Last edited: Jun 7, 2011
  2. Two Creeks Farm

    Two Creeks Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 23, 2011
    Hedgesville, WV
    Mine havent seen chickens butchered, but both boys were helping with deer, hogs and cows before they could hold a knife.
  3. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I think if they themselves are asking then certainly they should be allowed to watch. They are old enough to help too, with the parts of the chore you feel they can handle. What a great way for them to learn where food on their plate comes from, and to develop a deeper appreciation & gratitude for it.

    They will also see that it's really not an awfully violent process, that the chickens experience minimal stress when they "cross the road". They might only imagine it to be worse if you prohibit them from watching.

    Check out some of the videos in the "sticky" section at the top of this forum, maybe they could watch one of those first.
  4. weaselslucks

    weaselslucks Out Of The Brooder

    May 20, 2011
    I know it is 2011 but in our long history children grew up much faster then today.Young children would be expected to do work on the farm or hunt for supper or keep attackers at bay at an early age. I personally believe that in order to grow up and become a functioning adult there are certain things you must experience. It is a simple fact that in order to live something must die, be it either a tomato picked from the garden or a chicken. you must face death to appreciate life. I dont think children will be scared by watching food be produced anymore then say knowing fluffy the cat went to the summer land. Do you loose a certain innocence?maybe but the value and confidence that such things teach are important. I have seen many of my peers either not knowing themselves how to live responsible lives or coddling their children so much that they can not deal with life. Children need to know how to deal with loss how to win how to loose and how to deal with life when it is not easy in a healthy way.

    wow that was rambleing. I guess what i'm trying to say is let your kids watch if they choose to and help them face life in a healthy way
  5. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    When I was young...maybe 8 or 10 or mom ordered 500 biddies. They were cute at first and then they got bigger and mean. I am sure looking back now they were grossly overcrowded. They started eating each other and she would throw packs of ground meat in there to try to stop them. I remember them saying they were the wrong kind...not sure what kind they were or were supposed to be but they called for a chicken killing. Like a hog killing. Saw horses were set up. Water was boiled. My mom chopped the heads off. My grandma wrang their necks. Not sure if my memory is correct but in my head I remember chickens running around either headless or with the head flopping. I am sure that most of them probably died immediately but that is not what my childhood memories tell me. I think we were horrified and fascinated all at the same time. It scared us to death the chickens flapping around and there were feathers everywhere. I was put on the dis-assembly line on the pin feather plucking station. To this day I still "smell" the stench of singed feathers. I have no plans to kill and eat my chickens. They are just pets but I know where they come from and how they get there and I think that is a good thing. I just choose to buy mine featherless, motionless and nameless. Just make sure they have the option to get away from it if needed. We were trapped.
  6. weaselslucks

    weaselslucks Out Of The Brooder

    May 20, 2011
    Quote:I agree the goal should be to teach how to humanely kill with reverence for the life you are taking and if the children do have problems or questions deal with them accordingly
  7. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    I can only speak for myself and my children. I was helping process all of our food animals (Including chickens) from as far back as I can remember. By the time I was 10 or so Pa would just tell me which ones to get ready for the table and I was doing it all from catching them all the way to washing the finished bird and cutting it up to fry.
    My own children started helping at around age 5 when they first got curious and wanted to watch. At first they only helped with the plucking, but as time went on they learned it all. We raise over half of all our food, so our kids have grown up eatting meat, vegitables, fruits, nuts and such that we have raised here at home, so there is no mystery involved in where their food comes from.

    With that being said, I've never forced them to process, I would think that would cause a life-long avoidance such as Welasharon stated above. Also, we seldom process large numbers of chickens at one time. Usually no more than 10 and seldom more than 4 or 5 at any one time. We also don't raise broilers, we raise dual purpose chickens and just process as we need them.

    I think ultimatly it comes down to a very personal choice.
  8. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    I really think if it had been a few it would not have been so bad but it just went on for hours. It took a long time for me to eat chicken again. The smells....Then our house burned down that November and in it the freezer full of chicken. Ironic.
  9. pinkwindsong

    pinkwindsong Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2011
    Laurens SC
    that's still pretty young how are they with scarry movies or bad dreams.. I personally would a low them to watch or help pluck and finish a bird but not the actual kill...

    good luck )O

  10. Matthew3590

    Matthew3590 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2011
    Middle, TN
    I would let them just so they could understand how they chickens are actually killed. Plus you can lecture them in the process that THIS is how you are suppose to kill the chicken as humanely as possible. Plus being children (well from my childhood) they will want to see it. If they see it and dont want to see it again they wont want to watch. The more you not let them watch the more they will try to watch. Besides when I was young I always wanted to be the first one to kill the first chicken or pluck it.

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