Killing and butchering your own birds

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by chickenchick2011, May 8, 2011.

  1. chickenchick2011

    chickenchick2011 Out Of The Brooder

    May 7, 2011
    shelby ohio 44875
    I have question about this. I want whole birds I don't want them cut just head gone feathers and stuff inside. How do I do this on my own if I can bring my self to do it. I know it would be so much cheaper if I did it on my own but don't know If I can bring my self to kill something that i raised. Please let me know what best way to do it is! Thanks!
  2. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    There are LOTS of good posts here in the Meat Bird section! Many of us process our own chicken, and the luxury is we can handle them EXACTLY how we want. Some don't want skin so they skin the bird, no plucking needed. Some like the skin so they pluck. Some raise their birds to finish out at 2-3lbs, some finish at 6-7lbs. Some part out the birds, some keep them whole.
  3. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    I think we just have to be brave and do it. We never would have done a lot of things in life if fear kept us from doing them. Like anything, it's probably harder the first time. I've cleaned birds before -- its some work, its messy, it smells a little, but its definitely not a hard job. It's the killing that I am questioning myself about, since I tend to feel sorry for things and turn everything into a pet. But, I really want to be able to raise my own meat, especially in light of the sad state of affairs of this country and the whole world, IMHO. I have 2 weeks roughly to decide before I have to place an order with the local feed store for June 1st or 2nd delivery.

    I'm really trying to talk myself into doing this, but still have doubts. I keep reading and thinking about it. Just trying to work up the courage, kind of like the cowardly lion.
  4. jaimepowell

    jaimepowell Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 23, 2011
  5. BoomChickaRocka

    BoomChickaRocka Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 24, 2011
    The most important thing you can do is not think of it as a pet. Its an animal with a purpose.
  6. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 3, 2007
    Oberlin, OH
  7. Erint

    Erint New Egg

    May 7, 2011
    I felt the same way but I was either going to give up meat all together or do it myself. I don't trust the meat industry right now. One thing that helped me was I read someone said "I don't eat (kill) them cause I hate them". We also got Cornish X which left to grow without being used for its purpose would be cruel. That helps too.
  8. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    It certainly is a departure for many of us raised in a modern urban setting. But mastering this skill has left me feeling empowered, and all the more grateful for all the meat I find on my plate, whether I've processed it myself or not. I appreciate the fact that an animal's life ended to nourish me, and appreciate all the people involved in raising, processing, and preparing it for me.

    I think it helps to work alongside someone with more experience at the beginning, either helping them process their birds or having them come help you with yours. There even may be some BYCers in your area with whom you could work.

    I think it also helps to look at your meat birds like produce growing in your garden. You tend to its needs with tender care, especially at the start when it's so small and vulnerable. You provide the optimal conditions for good healthy growth, and take pride in its increase. You admire it's natural beauty, and can fill many a pleasurable moment just leaning on the gate and looking at it. You take joy as you see it becoming ready for harvest, and anticipate the satisfaction of nourishing yourself and your family with it.

    The essential difference, of course, is the more dramatic ending-of-life when you harvest your chickens rather than picking produce. But when you think of the alternative -- letting the birds continue to live, to have to shelter, feed, & clean up after them until they grow so old they die anyway -- it's as wasteful as if you refused to pick the tomatoes off your bush because you couldn't bear to eat them after watching them grow from seeds. They'd only wither and die anyway, or get eaten by some other animal.

    Once you've mastered the method you prefer for dispatching your birds, it's not as awful as you imagine. I make it the final act of kindness I can give my birds, to send them Across The Road in the most efficient manner possible. With gentle handling, hearing soothing words, and being dispatched quickly, effectively, and therefore, most humanely. No predator, not even a disease, would treat them as nicely. They are out in their yard, a familiar setting, being handled by people they know. They have a brief moment of unfamiliar experience, being placed upside-down in a cone, but they don't panic or fuss, just stick their heads out and stare, then -- it's over and they've Crossed The Road.
  9. hoping4better

    hoping4better Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 22, 2010
    Middle Tennessee
    I grew up in Suburban Los Angeles until I was 18 and never killed any animal except a trout up until I moved to Tennessee. I just processed my first bird a month or so ago and was shocked at how not hard it was. I wouldn't say it was easy (it's work, especially plucking it clean), but it really wasn't difficult. My wife thought this city boy wasn't going to be able to do it, but at least she kept it to herself until after I had completed the deed.

    The hardest part for me was that I couldn't get my hand inside the chicken cause it didn't fit. My wife with smaller hands had to do that part.

    As for learning there are a bazillion videos on youtube. You'll see some you like and agree with and some that will upset you and make you wish they didn't own chickens. I personally prefer the most humane method of killing and that preserves the most amount of the animal. So, I slit the artery while the chicken is in a killing cone - let it bleed out completely. Then scald and defeather it and then eviscerate it and keep what organs I want. The only part of the chicken not kept are certain organs, the head, and feet. Even those are buried as fertilizer though.

    Again, you can probably find lots of instructions on this forum if you search and you can find lots of instructional videos on youtube.

    Good luck!!
  10. chickenchick2011

    chickenchick2011 Out Of The Brooder

    May 7, 2011
    shelby ohio 44875
    That looks so horrible doing that lol. But I guess it might not be that hard to do.

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