Killing Meat Birds And Egg Layers

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by ArtemisV, Aug 28, 2014.

  1. ArtemisV

    ArtemisV In the Brooder

    Dec 3, 2013
    Hello. I started posting here quite a while ago... I think it might have been a year, with the intentions of getting chickens. I'm still planning on getting chickens, but it will have to wait a couple years. In the mean time, I am very troubled and would like some advice.

    First of all, my views on animals are very conflicted. I love them, but I'm also a hunter at heart, and I fully intend to kill deer, rabbits, and chickens for food and no other reason. I want to be self sufficient, and know that I can take care of myself if society ever goes to hell in a hand basket.

    I plan on having meat birds and egg laying birds. I have already accepted that I will have to kill the meat birds and feel bad about it, but I also heard that when egg laying birds stop laying, people kill them for the meat. It makes sense, to avoid wasting resources on a chicken that doesn't lay eggs, but I don't know if I can treat these animals like pets and then kill them just because they stop laying. They aren't old, sick, or diseased. So my feelings on this are mixed. It's a bit hypocritical in comparison to my practical approach to meat birds, but while I intended to be nice to the meat birds, I wasn't going to treat them like pets, give them names, or pet them.

    Do you kill your egg layers when they stop laying? If so, I would like feedback, opinions, and view points. I would like to know how you feel about it either way, because I am on the fence about this. To me, it's survival to kill an animal and eat it, but as I said above, for many reasons I'm conflicted.

    Also, another question to those who raise meat birds - is it hard for you to kill them? I know I have the resolve to do it, but it's possible I will feel very bad about it. Probably, actually.

    And, I believe I already know the answer to this one, but does it cut costs at all to raise and kill meat birds on your own instead of buying the processed (and probably unhealthy) ones from the store?
  2. cubalaya

    cubalaya Crowing

    Nov 19, 2008
    central virginia
    cubalaya hens do not 'lay out' when they get older like some other breeds. i kill young stags or obvious fault hens but never my layers.
  3. chikkenfriend

    chikkenfriend Songster

    Dec 2, 2013
    My Coop
    Hi there,

    Barred Plymouth Rocks is what we intend to develop mostly, over time. Dual purpose birds. Yes, they have names and they come when I call them. Look for my posts and you will see. But you conflict only yourself.

    I don't mean to be rude, it's just that I think you're over thinking this thing. When it's her time, I'll thank Lucy for all the eggs she's provided (though I thank her every time I gather them now). And I'll remember her when we have her for dinner. You can love them and have them for food. There is no conflict. You must be good to them. Otherwise, there is a conflict. Poison their lives, poison yourself. Your choice.

    Take good care of your birds. Nurture them, protect them, love them. They will bless you. Nutrition isn't all they have to offer. They make great companions. Need someone to talk to, they always listen. And in your time of need, they will feed you.

    And yes, we have a plan and supplies for WTSHTF. Chickens are a wise choice for us preppers.

    Gardens. Guns. Off grid water. Offline power. BOB's and BOP.

    Get some chickens. You'll love 'em.
  4. KCMOLisa

    KCMOLisa Chirping

    Aug 17, 2014
    Well, I don't have any laying hens yet, so I can't help you with that. I am, however, getting 25 meat birds next week. I know I will be butchering them after 7-8 weeks, so I know not to get too attached to them. That being said, I'm with you about feeling bad. I've actually never killed anything before, so I am already really nervous about doing the deed. I know it will be really hard for me.

    As far as the cost savings, I don't really think you save a lot of money raising your own. I do think you can produce a chicken for about the same price as one from the store. The difference is the quality. I saw a Tyson chicken truck driving down the road the other day, and you don't even want to know the shape those chickens were in. That's actually what caused me to dive into this chicken raising adventure.

    Also, all factory chicken is washed in bleach. I don't know about you, but last time I checked, bleach wasn't edible. I don't mind paying a little more for something much healthier for me. Most factory chicken also has about 15% or more "solution" pumped into the meat to tenderize it and make it juicier. You are paying for this water, essentially, when you buy factory chicken. If you factor that in, I do think raising your own non-full of water chickens could be slightly cheaper. Just imagine getting a 5 pound chicken on sale at the store for 99 cents a pound. 12 ounces of that is just expensive water.

    I plan on keeping track of all my costs and posting my final results here after my first batch of Cornish Cross. I'm hoping for around $1.50/pound. If it goes well, I plan on trying another batch in the spring and raising them using some alternative feeds and see if I can get the cost down. Oh, and the going rate around here for pasture raised chicken is about $3.00-3.50 per pound, so you will definitely save money raising your own versus buying other people's homegrown chicken.
  5. CAjerseychick

    CAjerseychick Songster

    Jun 25, 2012
    Northern California!
    well did our first two ever tonight. Not a hunter and it wasnt easy but easier than I thought (if you squeeze their neck alittle they kinda pass out and are docile)-- 5 roos were flogging the heck outa our hens- so the mean roo and his skinniest son went...

    thats the reasoning for us. Like having t least 2 roos (need to have a spare and with 18 hens thats fine) the 3rd roo,well no one is fighting and we will see. Nice looking flashy big roos (jersey giant- leghorn crosses) ....
  6. cmchickens

    cmchickens Chirping

    Jul 9, 2014
    Bigfork, Montana
    I have never killed my own laying hens (they are still young yet), though I have gotten old layers from other people to butcher. I will do my girls when the time comes. My chickens are not pets. They are wonderful working animals. I give them names, enjoy their individual personalities, and take care of them the best I can. However, when the time comes that they are not "pulling their weight," they need to go, because I cannot feed nonproductive animals. I feel that it is kindest for me to butcher them myself, rather than to hand them off to someone who may not treat them with kindness and respect.

    I also raise meat birds. I vividly remember the first bird I ever did. A little background: I became a vegetarian at 15. I have taken care of lost, sick, and injured animals my entire life. I wanted to be a vet when I was young. I'm studying to be a vet tech right now. I had never intentionally hurt an animal. I cried when my parakeet died. In short, I'm a big old softie, and animal lover to the extreme. So when I decided to raise meat birds (for a long list of reasons), I spent months preparing myself. I read through the Processing Day Support thread. I watched video after video on YouTube. We got our birds and comforted myself with the idea that they had 8 happy weeks before I had to do the deed. And then 4 weeks in, one of the birds broke its leg. I couldn't let the bird suffer. I could't baby the bird for 4 more weeks. I had to butcher it early. I wrapped her in a towel (she was too small to fit in my cone) and held her in my lap. I told her I was sorry she had to go early. I petted her head. Noticed how she was still just a baby, with fluffy yellow down on her head. I felt her heart beating. Briefly considered saying to heck with the whole thing because I wasn't strong enough to do it.Then, I remembered something that I had read here on BYC.

    Originally Posted by Elke Beck [​IMG]

    Sally, I think the only way is to set a date and not allow yourself to back down. If you need help, let us know the date you are sending the birds for processing and we will hold you accountable.

    This is not supposed to be easy; taking a life is a solemn thing. For me I do not want to ever get so calloused that I do not feel sad about taking a life. I want my meat chickens to have a lot of good days and one bad day.

    My brother, who is a scientist, has a theory of conservation of difficulty. The theory goes that in any situation there is a certain amount of difficulty. You can move the difficulty around, but you cannot eliminate it. For example, anyone who had a computer in the 80's knows how hard it was to use a computer. You had to learn a lot about programming in order to use simple programs. Now computers are pretty simple to use because the designers and programmers have taken the difficulty away from the user and hidden it behind the scenes. So today you can fire up your computer and go directly to your desktop instead of start from the C prompt. To bring this back to chickens, if you are going to eat meat, then there is a certain amount of difficulty in the situation. Factory farms have allowed people to ignore that difficulty by raising chickens in conditions that are horrible and that do not respect the nature of the chicken -- the difficulty has been shifted from the people eating them to the chickens. I see the sadness and discomfort I suffer from killing chickens that I have carefully raised as my taking some of the difficulty on myself.

    Anyway, I hope that makes sense.

    My little meat bird was in pain. She was suffering. I had chosen to eat meat again. I needed to take the difficulty onto myself, to take the suffering away from the life I was choosing to take. I held the knife in my hand, visibly shaking. I had to take several deep breaths to calm myself. And then I cut. I didn't get a good cut the first time. I had to do it again. My hands were shaking so bad I could barely close them around her beak to hold her head. The second cut was good. I held her as she bled. Felt her last breaths, her last heart beats. When I knew she was gone, I set her down. I walked away. And then I cried. Long and hard. When I was able to gather myself back together, I finished processing her, and put her in the freezer. It was terrible at the time. But afterward I didn't feel absolutely horrible like I thought I would. I felt like I did after a hard day's work. Exhausted, but proud of my accomplishment. Not proud I killed her. Proud that I was able to make the right decision for her, proud that I had provided for my family.

    When it came time to do the rest of the birds, I did them with more ease. I got more confident with each bird. I look at it like a job. It will always be unpleasant,it will always be hard, I will always feel my heart ache on processing day. But it is something that needs to be done. So get it done, then move on. Stick them in the freezer, then enjoy the wonderful meal you have provided for your family.
  7. cmchickens

    cmchickens Chirping

    Jul 9, 2014
    Bigfork, Montana
    [​IMG] Sorry for the long post, didn't realize I wrote so much.
  8. ArtemisV

    ArtemisV In the Brooder

    Dec 3, 2013
    chikkenfriend: Thanks for the input, I don't consider it rude, and I know myself well, and I do tend to over think things... especially when it comes to animals, because I love them.

    cmchickens: Thank you for that wonderful post. :) I guess I just need to suck it up and realize that they are there to provide me with food in the first place. It will be hard, and half of my family understand even less than I do, so they aren't going to be happy, but I will do what I have to.
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