Ethical problem for a newbie

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by max13077, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. max13077

    max13077 Songster

    I got bit by the chicken bug!! I've wanted them for a long time. However convincing certain individuals was a tough, grueling process. But for whatever reason, they gave in!!![​IMG]

    I've always thought having chickens was cool. My grandparent on both sides of my family had farms and both raised chickens. Being my last grandma I had left pass away in 2004, I've always been looking for a way to kind of I guess have a connection with them. One of the best memories of my life is going to my uncles farm and butchering chickens(I was 15 [​IMG]) with my grandmother. If you could only see grandma you'd understand the significance. Frail, delicate little grandma; she was 5' nothing and about 110 soaking wet. But she'd grab those chickens and give them a whack! It was like she’d gone back in time to her childhood. I’d never seen her happier. My mother and father both tell me stories of when they were young and having chickens. Mom said my great grandpa even used to have a favorite chicken he'd carry around with him sometimes.

    Now here’s my problem. I originally had the notion to kill for eating at the end of the fall. However, that is looking more and more like I couldn't do it. [​IMG] As I read more about them and see the gorgeous pictures everybody posts, I’m starting to think of them more as pets. How do you deal with it. I was thinking maybe I’d have a few “pet” ones, then a few I’d raise for meat. Is this possible? I drew up some plans for my coop. I just added insulating it tonight… I had planned on storing the mower and lawn ornaments in there in the winter…

    What am I getting myself into!!!???

    Last edited: Feb 3, 2008
  2. hcammack

    hcammack Crowing

    Oct 5, 2007
    you should probably count on keeping a laying flock thorughout the winter if you want eggs their are certain dual purpose breeds that can be used for both eggs and meat there are also cornish cross super meat chickens that only live to 8 weeks and then their are super layers like white leghorn and such these are only good for one purpose you could order straight run of a dual purpose breed and slaughter the roo's and keep at least some of then hens.

    Good Luck
  3. hsm5grls

    hsm5grls Songster

    Oct 3, 2007
    You have gotten yourself into years of chicken love...that's what LOL.
    You can have some as pets and some for meat. A lot of people have that kind of Set up on here. The great thing about raising chickens is that you get what you put in to it. If you put them in the coop and feed and water them, give them plenty of room and keep them clean they are happy chickens. But if you interact with them, feed them treats and just love the little girls they are wonderful pets.
    My only suggestion would be to not name the birds you intend to eat. That way you form less of a bond with them and the culling might be a little easier that way.
  4. Yoshii

    Yoshii Songster

    First off, welcome back to the world of chickens. It's nice here.

    Second, yes, it's completely possible to have both pets and birds for processing. Check out the 'Meat Birds ETC' subforum for more details on the processing half, and the rest of the forums for the 'pet' half, heh. The only issue with that is, honestly, strictly mental; you will have to have two completely different mindsets when tending to your birds. It might even be easier to keep them in two different coops/pens, just so the mental shift from "Let's go see how Henrietta and McCluckerstein are doing this morning, maybe give 'em a little yogurt as a treat, those little scamps" to "Gotta go tend to the meat birds, weather's getting cold and I'm aiming to have them by X weight for processing on Y date" is easier. It's entirely possible, just something you have to be ready for.

    Best of luck in your endeavors! You won't regret getting chickens again for whatever purpose!

    Out of curiousity, any particular breed you're looking into getting?
  5. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator


    Great first post, and welcome to the forum.

    You'll see a LOT of diversity in how people treat their chickens. I'm a bit in the middle of two extremes. I don't think I could eat "our" chickens, but I don't have a problem eating other chickens.

    I also expected that as our chickens got old and stopped laying as much that I'd be fine with rotating them out for new layers. I've found that as the years pass on I keep finding excuses to keep different hens, like, "Well, this one was our first" or "This one is the nicest" or "this one is the best looking" or "person <name here> would be upset if we got rid of that one" etc. etc. etc.

    There are definitely members on here that have some hens that are "favorites" and they keep them as pets, but also have others that are just meat birds. I too would be interested in hearing from them on how they separate the two groups, both physically and mentally.
  6. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Hi Max and welcome to BYC! You don't know what you're getting yourself into! You're embarking on something really enjoyable and by the sounds of it, some of your girls will end up being pets to you. Being a city gal, my 3 girls will only be pets, but were I to raise some meat birds, they would have to be raised separately from the others, not named, and most likely, someone else would process them. I'm not opposed to processing, just not the ones that are my pets. We have many members here who process their birds. Some have had to work through it and for others it was easy. Only you know yourself and what you can or cannot do.

    Now, if you want to have a connection with your grandparents and can't do it by processing your birds, you can always do what I do and study your family history! [​IMG]
  7. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator

    Sheesh... I take 5 mins to reply thinking I would be first and after I post... BAM... a bunch of other replies... sheesh.

  8. hinkjc

    hinkjc Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    HI Max, Yes it is possible to keep pet chickens and raise occasional meat chickens. What we do is keep our flocks of pets that we enjoy and then we get Cornish Crosses once a year for meat.

    The Cornish X only take 6-8 weeks to reach maturity, so the time is quick and into the freezer they go. Just remember not to name any and don't fall for any cuteness. Think of them only as dinner and limit any time with them (other than to feed/water and clean up after them) and it goes a little easier. I feel better knowing that I am feeding my family healthy, home grown chickens that I know what they ate and how they were raised.

  9. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator

    Great suggestions!

    1) Do NOT name the ones you will eat!!!
    2) Treat the meat birds differently than the pet birds!!!

    It may still be difficult (heck, I had a hard time eating the first few eggs from my hens and still have to be careful not to think about them turning into chicks in 21 days) but if you use to watch your grandma cull chickens then I assume you'll get over eating your meat birds pretty quickly.
  10. max13077

    max13077 Songster

    WOW!! Holy co…I mean…...Chicken!!! Thanks for all the support!

    I have been thinking of building a smaller separate coop for the meat chickens and then having my main one for the “pets.”

    Yoshii- I was looking at the McMurray Hatchery webpage kind of picking out some ones I like. The breed that really catch my eye are the Buff Orpingtons. I love their color and profile a lot. Partridge Rocks I like a lot too. Of course then there’s the Delaware, NH reds, Speckled Sussex, and RI reds as well!!

    I'm open to suggestions about breeds though!

    I originally thought about them for fly tying. I fish a spot near a farm with free range birds. They’re often down by the creek. Tying my own flies I often admired their feathers as they came only feet away. I have no idea what they were, but they were very pretty. Of course that carries the same dilemma as eating them does. Oh boy…..

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