Just boxed 12 hens for the butcher... I feel awful

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by chickenannie, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. chickenannie

    chickenannie Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    I am having a really hard time with this. I need to downsize for a number of reasons, including the fact that I have less egg customers and don't need all the eggs anymore, AND I can't keep paying for feeding my 3 yr old hens who aren't laying as many eggs AND I have a few more chicks for my next pullets AND I have to advertise for new neighbors and right now there are just too many chickens wandering around the yards. I've been going through 100 lbs of feed per week and that's not cheap!
    I have 20 hens scheduled for the butcher tommorrow morning, but when I went out to the roost tonight to put them in boxes, I could hardly do it, so I'm only taking 12. These are hens I've had for 2 years and I've grown more attached to them than I realized. Also, I never thought of them as meat chickens, just egg-layers, so it's a total change of attitude toward them. As I was walking away I could hear their little questioning whimpers coming from the boxes, wondering what's happening. Aaahhh it pains me. They HAVE had very happy free-range lives -- I don't think a bird could have a happier life than here since I let them go anywhere and do anything they want on this farm. I may find homes for about 5 or 6 more nearby. As much as I love them, I know I need to accept the inevitable and move forward with downsizing.
  2. lengel

    lengel Songster

    Apr 30, 2008
    If it makes you feel any better, some of the older hens we bought recently are passing away in their sleep. I can't help but think that this is a waste.

    My only question would be: how do you find a good butcher?
  3. Alaska animal lover

    Alaska animal lover Songster

    Apr 30, 2008
    Palmer, Alaska
    That is sad. [​IMG]
  4. Calebs Acre

    Calebs Acre Songster

    May 17, 2008
    Long Island
    I was thinking the same thing about the butcher. I don't even know what to look for in the yellow pages here on Long Island. I can't just drag them to the local Stop N Shop.
  5. jacyjones

    jacyjones Songster

    Jun 9, 2008
    Aberystwyth, Wales
    I know you must be feeling awful but try and keep thinking about the good life they have had. They have been secure, happy and well cared for and could have suffered somewhere else where none of things applied. You gave them a good life and you have done the right thiing. It is awful to have to end the life of any creature but as long as it is for the right reasons then you must not beat yourself up. [​IMG]
  6. lengel

    lengel Songster

    Apr 30, 2008
    Not long ago someone here said that he/she was a steward for the animals and that they had a place in our society. I think that treating them well during the course of their lives is what we're working towards as a general rule.
  7. ml

    ml Songster

    Mar 4, 2007
    Oh my I just read what you put down here, and just sobbed.

    going to go hug a few of my older ones with treats of yogurt, raisins and sun flower seeds


  8. joebryant

    joebryant Crowing

    99.999 chickens of the world would trade their past/present with the past of yours. It's time to give other chickens a chance.
    Console yourself with the fact that this one day does not equal "They HAVE had very happy free-range lives -- I don't think a bird could have a happier life than here since I let them go anywhere and do anything they want on this farm."
  9. freerange freaks

    freerange freaks Songster

    Jul 21, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I'm sorry you had to make the decision. I know this is hard but I think you are doing the right thing. Let me offer a personal story. I once kept an older hen out of pure selfeshness. After three years of laying nearly every day she would get eggbound at least once per month and then once per week and then it was a constant battle and a very difficult end to her before wonderful life. It would have been kinder to have ended her life early and fed my family than to let her suffer.

    The life we choose is full of difficult choices but we are better people because of it. I'm sorry for your loss. Keep well.
  10. bionic_chicken

    bionic_chicken Songster

    Apr 2, 2008
    Spring, TX
    God bless you for being a wonderful chicken steward. I support you 100% as you make this painful, but honorable, transition. I have seven 10-week-olds and they are definitely pets-with-egg-benefits. I cuddle them and spoil them. But reading on the forum has taught me that when it comes time, we all have to make hard decisions. Thankfully, we have each other for support. My heart goes out to you. I am just thankful that you all will be here for me when it's my time to make these hard decisions. On the same note, I have been forced to realize that the styrofoam packages of chicken in my freezer are made from little lives, and not good lives at that. It's dawning on me that raising my own chickens for meat, even if for the 8 or 9 weeks I might have a cornish cross, may be infinitely more humane than buying it at the grocery store. At least they would have heaven-on-earth for those 8 to 9 weeks. I am new to this. I am new to thinking about where my meat comes from, and it is a very sobering thought. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm with you...[​IMG]

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