How to transport birds to butcher?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by below_gravity, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. below_gravity

    below_gravity Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have our order of 50 Cornish Xs coming, double what we have done before. Twice previously we took the chickens to Goffles poultry to be processed a 1 to 1.5 hour drive from home; in the back of a pick up truck with a cap. It was problematic, and we are concerned about loss now that we have doubled our count. We have considered processing at home, but at less than $2 per bird, it's barely worth it to get the equipment - as long as we can figure out a better way to ship the birds.

    The problems:
    1) heat (even with the cap windows open, if it's a hot day those broilers like to get stressed. This is what we percieve as our #1 problem because it really ads to the stress on the chickens)
    2) stress loss (we didn't lose any on either trip but they were NOT happy at arrival. double the number of chickens will increase the heat and stress)
    3) mess. Trip 2 we lined the truck bed with a tarp. That helped, but man was it a mess to clean up.
     
  2. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We process at home. The only equipment you truely need is a large pot, a heat source, a sharp knife and table and running water.
    You would save gas money, an reduce the risk of loss, and have better meat due to less stress on the bird.
    I do not know how to transport that number of birds an hour and a half safely.
    Cornish cross are truely not difficult to process. They have a large cavity, makes getting their entrails out easy. They also do not grow pin feathers (at least mine did not)
    If you keep your eyes open at farm and estate sales you can eventually find all the nifty processing equipment for cheap.
     
  3. below_gravity

    below_gravity Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 2, 2009
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    Thank you. We are definitely considering processing at home but want to be sure it's the right option. One of our concerns is what to do to dispose of the entrails without attracting predators to the farm.
     
  4. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    See if you can schedule your broilers for EARLY morning butchering. Then you can load them way before dawn and haul them before the sun is really hot.

    Remove their food at noon the day before butchering. Digesting food causes the body to produce heat.

    What do you use for bedding to haul them on?
     
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  5. below_gravity

    below_gravity Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Enola, great advice!! We did do first in the AM butchering which did help with the heat.

    Pulling them off of the food at noon the day before - brilliant!

    We put down a thin layer of hay but it got super slippery with all the poo (which would have been reduced had we pulled food).
     
  6. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    You have a cap on your truck?

    I would use a bag of pellets sold to put in horse stalls for bedding. The pellets would absorb a LOT of moisture and your broilers would arrive cleaner for butchering.

    You can clean this bedding out of the truck bed and put it in your garden or compost pile.
     
  7. below_gravity

    below_gravity Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I have a high cap, with big windows. I am familiar with the pelleted bedding but would be concerned that 1) chickens would eat it, and 2) they would slip and fall on the dry pellets. Have you used it?
     
  8. jaj121159

    jaj121159 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It sounds like you may move them loose in the back of the truck. I wouldn't do that. They could die just by falling over on a turn. Even with hay on the floor of the bed, it would be very slippery back there for the birds. My processor was 56 miles (one-way) I moved my birds the night before processing. My processor had a place for them to stay in overnight. I would clean out my truck in the morning and fill the back in with coolers for the return trip.

    I built my own chicken crates. They were moved in 2' x 4' crates which easily fit in a 6' foot bed. I used two 2' x 4' pieces of plywood and separated them with one foot 2" x 2"s. I could get 20 plus broilers in each. I originally had a capper on my truck. I moved about 600 birds a year. After two batches with heavy transportation losses I removed the capper. They survived the moved much easier, I had to double stack the crates to get the entire batch to the processor so the air didn't circulate like I wanted it to.

    In your case removing the capper may not be an option. I would suggest the same 2' x 4' size crate, with a 2" x 2" frame on a plywood base, but I would use chicken wire or wooden slats around the entire upper portion of the crate with a door on the top. Which would allow for plenty of air to circulate. Make sure you cap windows are open if possible, If not, I would leave the tailgate down. You could even put one or two 12 volt fans in the capper to move the air. Even with the crates you will have to hose down the truck bed after delivery.

    I now process at home so I don't have to worry about moving them in bulk any more. I bury the entrails about two feet down in the ground. I don't have problems with critters digging them up.
     
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  9. below_gravity

    below_gravity Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We did not have ANY losses on the two transports, nor did any chickens appear to go rolling around the bed of the truck...although I do need new shocks so it might be a little bumpier this year ;)

    Thank you for the tip on "penning" them. Might help as we get more chickens in the bed.
     
  10. slingshotandLAR

    slingshotandLAR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chicken crates?

    They are pretty standard equipment, depending on how big the birds are you should need 5.
     

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