First time w/meaties

hollymh

*A Scrambled Egg*
10 Years
Feb 8, 2009
1,993
45
211
Texas
I have my egg girls, but Im ready to start raising and processing my own meaties, I am nervous, I have never killed anything so my brother in law is helping me with that bc that will be the hardest part for me... Cleaning is no big deal. I have been researching, watching and reading about how to process but Im wondering what opinions are on the actual slaughter, I want it to be as fast and painless as possible for my birds? I have seen the cone method and Im not real thrilled, is decapitation better? What are some tips and trades that may be helpful for us? I will be raising in a chicken tractor, not sure how many birds yet, whats a good number to get two families through 6-12 months? What are the best birds? Im open to Cornish X or anything else... Thank you for helping me in my new adventure!
 

Coralietg

Songster
9 Years
Apr 10, 2010
581
42
158
Opelousas, LA
We are a family of 2 adults and 2 kids, I'm planning on doing 25-30 Cornish X every 6 months. We usually roast a whole chicken every 2 weeks, then use various parts every week.

Our aim is to use the killing cone. We're pretty much newbies though, our first set of Cornish are only 6 weeks old at the moment. You will definitely find a wealth of information in this forum!
 

hollymh

*A Scrambled Egg*
10 Years
Feb 8, 2009
1,993
45
211
Texas
We are a family of 2 adults and 2 kids, I'm planning on doing 25-30 Cornish X every 6 months. We usually roast a whole chicken every 2 weeks, then use various parts every week.

Our aim is to use the killing cone. We're pretty much newbies though, our first set of Cornish are only 6 weeks old at the moment. You will definitely find a wealth of information in this forum!
Im not against the cone but I am struggling with letting them exsanguinate, it just seems less traumatic to decapitate, how are you handling the idea of slaughtering? Im such an animal lover it scares me lol I actually finally made the decision once I saw how meat birds are kept in commercial business, it was horrific! But I loveeeee chicken!
 
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Coralietg

Songster
9 Years
Apr 10, 2010
581
42
158
Opelousas, LA
Im not against the cone but I am struggling with letting them exsanguinate, it just seems less traumatic to decapitate, how are you handling the idea of slaughtering? Im such an animal lover it scares me lol I actually finally made the decision once I saw how meat birds are kept in commercial business, it was horrific! But I loveeeee chicken!
From accounts that I have read, they don't seem to be conscious very long at all once the bleeding out has started. Decapitating has the same effect, but supposedly the heart doesn't pump as much blood out.

The slaughtering part is frightening to me, honestly. I may sound heartless saying this, but I am not a complete animal lover. I'm generally indifferent with animals and I have a hard time getting attached. But I do not relish the thought of taking an animals life. I'm also kind of squeemish when it comes to blood and boney neck stuff.
 

hollymh

*A Scrambled Egg*
10 Years
Feb 8, 2009
1,993
45
211
Texas
From accounts that I have read, they don't seem to be conscious very long at all once the bleeding out has started. Decapitating has the same effect, but supposedly the heart doesn't pump as much blood out.

The slaughtering part is frightening to me, honestly. I may sound heartless saying this, but I am not a complete animal lover. I'm generally indifferent with animals and I have a hard time getting attached. But I do not relish the thought of taking an animals life. I'm also kind of squeemish when it comes to blood and boney neck stuff.
Not heartless at all, I love animals but my husband isn't a huge fan lol so I get where you're coming from... My brother in law is going to do the initial slaughter to help me work my way up to being able to, he hunts and is more or less used to it as horrible as that sounds. I want my kids to learn to process eventually too, they're too young now but I want them to be able to practice self sufficiency.
 

bobbi-j

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Mar 15, 2010
14,364
27,112
982
On the MN prairie.
We use the hatchet and stump method. Two nails in a stump, put the chicken's neck between the nails, I hold the bird (usually by the legs) gently pull, DH lops the head off and it's over. It doesn't take more than a few seconds. I grab the bird, put it on the stump and DH is quick. My opinion is that this is the fastest, most humane death. We put them in a 5-gal. bucket until they're done flopping. It's not pretty. There will be blood, there will be flopping. There will not be a chicken hanging upside down bleeding to death. That having been said, if I had to kill a chicken myself, I'd consider a cone, but make sure I had an extremely sharp knife and try to decapitate that way, I value my extremities too much to try the hatchet....
 

Coralietg

Songster
9 Years
Apr 10, 2010
581
42
158
Opelousas, LA
Not heartless at all, I love animals but my husband isn't a huge fan lol so I get where you're coming from... My brother in law is going to do the initial slaughter to help me work my way up to being able to, he hunts and is more or less used to it as horrible as that sounds. I want my kids to learn to process eventually too, they're too young now but I want them to be able to practice self sufficiency.
I cried like a baby when I found a lot of our chickens killed by dogs. I like the little buggers. I always hate saying I'm not an animal lover, because people tend to jump to the conclusion that I'm a heartless person, lol.

You have a huge benefit with your brother in law! We don't know anyone who hunts or processes, so we are learning by ourselves. My husband doesn't even fish, he's never processed a thing in his life.
 

hollymh

*A Scrambled Egg*
10 Years
Feb 8, 2009
1,993
45
211
Texas
We use the hatchet and stump method. Two nails in a stump, put the chicken's neck between the nails, I hold the bird (usually by the legs) gently pull, DH lops the head off and it's over. It doesn't take more than a few seconds. I grab the bird, put it on the stump and DH is quick. My opinion is that this is the fastest, most humane death. We put them in a 5-gal. bucket until they're done flopping. It's not pretty. There will be blood, there will be flopping. There will not be a chicken hanging upside down bleeding to death. That having been said, if I had to kill a chicken myself, I'd consider a cone, but make sure I had an extremely sharp knife and try to decapitate that way, I value my extremities too much to try the hatchet....
Im glad I asked bc a flopping wild chicken with no head kind of scares me, the cone may be the best for me
 

bobbi-j

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Mar 15, 2010
14,364
27,112
982
On the MN prairie.
You have to do what works best for you. Like I said, we put them in a 5-gal. bucket until the flopping stops. It can be a bit.... unsettling to see a flopping, headless chicken bouncing across the yard if you're not used to it. (Hence the bucket) My DH grew up on the farm we live on, and was raised butchering chickens, milking cows, and raising their own meat and garden goods. He parents pretty much just went to town once a week for staples and that was all they needed. We no longer milk, and my dad raises the beef for us (His hobby, we don't want to discourage it!
). Getting into gardening more now that the kids are all grown and on their own. I was raised a city kid, but had a step-dad who taught me to hunt and fish. I've never had to clean a fish, but have cleaned pheasants, ducks, geese, and our family has our annual butchering day at the end of deer season. We can usually get 8 or 9 deer processed in a day. It wasn't always that fast. We learned, got our system down, and now things go very smoothly. I give you credit for wanting to raise and process your own chickens.
 

hollymh

*A Scrambled Egg*
10 Years
Feb 8, 2009
1,993
45
211
Texas
Thank you bobbi-j, I was born and raised in the city but I have cousins in OK who we would spend weeks in the summer with and so that exposed me to farming, I was hooked! I do a lot of gardening, mostly veggies with a few fruits, I of course have my chickens for eggs. I WISH I had enough room for meat/milk cows but as of now we are on only 1.2 acres and still in city limits, we are looking at properties to build on that have 50-100acres---my dream!!! :) I have a friend about 45mins from me who has dairy and meat cows, we're going to meat share, I sure wish I could find raw milk though!
 
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