Do you with hold feed before slaughter?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Lesa, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. Lesa

    Lesa Chillin' With My Peeps

    839
    0
    139
    May 28, 2008
    Upstate NY
    I am wondering how important this step is... The only place I have to isolate is pretty out in the open and our weather is getting below freezing. I don't want them freezing and uncomfortable. What do you do?
     
  2. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,305
    18
    221
    Apr 29, 2007
    Ohio
    Mine go into cages before withholding. The birds are gathered the night before and then they sit all night in the cages. At first light they are processed keeping the stress very minimal as they are sleeping overnight. If I was you, just keep them where they are and take food away... just give them water. Don't do it for too long, just overnight because they will start to eat the bedding. That's why we put them in cages and also because it's convenient to not have to chase chickens in the morning.

    Just to let you know, I process up until December and it's very cold out. However the birds stay pretty warm as long as you pack them tight in the cages. Just enough room to lay down and the body heat from everyone will keep them warm. Just don't let them get wet.

    Good luck,
     
  3. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,194
    29
    211
    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio
    I don't know if it makes a difference, but I always put some Apple cider vinegar in their last watering (1TBSP/gal). In my mind it helps to clean them out prior to processing.
     
  4. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    10,061
    204
    361
    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    We don't withhold food but then we mostly just take off the breast, legs and thighs. We just make sure we never cut into the crop and since we do not clean out the cavity we don't have the intestinal fill others have.
    If you want the whole bird carcass you will just have more mess if you don't withhold. Just be careful when cutting.
     
  5. lotzahenz

    lotzahenz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2008
    Lexington, Kentucky
    I know there is huge controversy about withholding feed from farm animals and in the past it was the custom, but I like a friend's idea, do NOT withhold feed, as the animal is happier if they are kept on feed and not stressed, therefore they don't stress out on you and that makes the meat better tasting; less stress hormones coursing through them at time of processing. So, I fed mine as usual last week, put them in cages that night, took them on a harrowing long road trip (so much for less stress, but I gave them great music to help) and they were just fine. They taste perfect too. Not sure it makes any difference one way or another though, so it is up to you. I like to keep it as natural as possible. BTW, I am soo soo pround of my freezer camp inmates, they are awesome.
     
  6. Sundown_Farmer

    Sundown_Farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    192
    0
    99
    Apr 2, 2010
    Non-Chicago, Illinois
    Animal happier? Maybe. Messier to eviscerate? Definately. I gave them 6 or 7 wonderful weeks with their feet in the grass and plenty to eat. They give me 10 or 12 hours without food and 3 or 4 hours without water.

    Give them a chance to clean out their digestive tract and you'll be happier with the evisceration. Not a big deal if you're not eviscerating by hand though.
     
  7. Lesa

    Lesa Chillin' With My Peeps

    839
    0
    139
    May 28, 2008
    Upstate NY
    Thanks everybody! I had seen it mentioned and I just couldn't figure out how important it was. Maybe I'll just let them sleep in the coop (without the food bucket) and process early in the morning. If I process in the warmer months I can easily put them in the isolation coop... These aren't meaties, they are my old RIR's. Appreciate your input!
     
  8. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,194
    29
    211
    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio
    If their crop is full it makes it impossible to pull thru the top of the body cavity and makes a mess if you cut. The feed will stick to the fat around the neck, and it's tough to remove, and looks bad. I do my own, but our local processor charges extra if they have food in the crop, and for good reason.
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    20,661
    4,190
    526
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    If you do withhold food, they need to be in a place they cannot eat bedding or anything else. If they eat the bedding, you have not achieved anything.
     
  10. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

    4,203
    75
    253
    Apr 19, 2009
    Like Jeff ours are penned at night for early morning processing. So yes, their crops are empty for evisceration. But no, there's not any food withholding out of the ordinary -- they don't eat at night anyway so they're not missing out on anything.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by