Is it worth the work to butcher your own chickens?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by NHchicks, Sep 18, 2010.

  1. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    Especially when they're so cheap at the store?

    Seems like an awful lot of work, and not pretty either.

    As a chicken owner, I feel I need to get prepared for the butchering stage eventually, but I just wonder if it's worth it anyway. Just starting to think about it, can't envision myself dealing with the actual act yet.
  2. phaethona

    phaethona Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2010
    I don't have meaties, I do dual-purpose, so someone else will likely give a better reply, but besides cost, a lot of people really like the fact that they know exactly what they're eating, where it came from, it's the only way to get true all natural chicken(they can put whatever they want on a label at the store, doesn't make it true)

    I dont know if that weighs into the decision or not, but I thought I'd throw that out there. cost-wise, I dont' know, but is homegrown chicken better than factory chicken? BY FAR!
  3. PhilErvin

    PhilErvin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 11, 2009
    Yucaipa, CA
    I feel the same way. I applaud those who grow their own meat but as for me, I'll pick one up at the market that is ready to cook. When I was a teen I used to raise rabbits for the meat. I love rabbit meat but not enough to raise them and process them.
  4. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    I wish there was a machine that anesthetized the chickens first, then ever so gently cut off their heads, then drained them, plucked them, and had a conveyor belt to drop them into your waiting bucket of water... All without windows so you didn't have to watch.


    It's a real shame how squeamish I am when my grandparents used to kill and cook their chickens without batting an eye (I hear anyway). We're so removed from processing our own food, and it's too bad.

    I'm going to try to regain that skill, but it's going to take time and desensitization.
  5. angelique_redhead

    angelique_redhead Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2010
    DFW, Texas
    I'd be OK with processing my own birds but I'm thanking my lucky stars that I didn't have to. We took 27 birds in to be processed and they had the commercial scalder, plucker and meat saws. It took about 30-45 minutes from start to finish. All I had cut apart/off was the legs though. They fit better into a gallon ziplock that way. I also watched from start to finish and bagged the birds. I know how to cut up a chicken. My mother showed me how repeatedly at a very young age (3-13) as I have been showing my daughter (9-13). She doesn't do it yet but I like the fact that she has that knowledge should she want to use it. [​IMG]: Angelique
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010
  6. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    You might as well ask why go through the effort to raise chickens for their EGGS when they're so cheap & easily obtained at the store? Most of the same reasons exist for producing your own meat chickens as for keeping your own layers. Most of the benefits are not financial, although it is possible through careful management to produce meat at home cheaper than the pricier free-ranged organic chicken in the store. The primary reason for producing your own is to have that close connection with the food you & your family eat.

    NHChicks, what you described is typical commercial chicken processing! Home-processing isn't as pleasant, and will never be my favorite chore around here, but I have found it to be very self-satisfying and empowering. It makes me appreciate more the food on my plate, and makes me more grateful for it, no matter where it came from.

    But there are other options for aging layers, and for obtaining home-grown meat. You can just let them live out in retirement, or sell/give them away. You can also find a commercial processor to take your meat birds to.
  7. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    Yeah. I have always been drawn towards being as self-sufficient as possible, and butchering your own chickens would fit right in with that. I just can't stand to see anything suffer though. I think maybe if I watched the process a number of times first, I'd start to get the hang of it.

    My grandfather homesteaded in the Dust Bowl. I should be able to do this.

    *Baby steps*
  8. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Is it worth the work to butcher your own chickens?
    Yes, but only if my wife does it.
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Quote:With practice, you'll get good at it and the process of killing will be so fast they won't be suffering for long if they even knew what was going to happen. Just because you cant see the suffering doesn't mean it is not there. Home raised meat will certainly be more expensive than store birds, but they will not fear you when you go to take them to the butchering station. Commercially, these birds would most likly get minimal human interaction, and are likely to be more afraid when it comes to their last day at the butcher after packing, transport and unpacking. I like fresh meat because it tastes stronger, I like to chew my meat, and I know the bird that I am eating.
  10. shaft0463

    shaft0463 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 8, 2010
    If done right, they don't suffer at all. They are alive one minute, and dead the next. You just have to use either a VERY sharp knife, or better yet, garden shears.

    My husband does it though. I'm squeamish about blood and guts. I don't even like the guts they put into the store-bought chickens, though I know some people eat them. I just cook them and feed them to the chickens, but I wince the whole time I'm handling them.

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