looking for advice on being able to process the birds

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by bj taylor, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. bj taylor

    bj taylor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 28, 2011
    North Central Texas
    i'm new @ raising chickens. i have dual purpose (5 wks) intending to have eggs & meat. i have a place to take them for processing. the problem is that while baby sitting them to make sure they lived & were ok, i've become attached to the darn things.
    i would like to be able to kill my own birds so that i know from beginning to end they had a good life ( i don't even want their last day to be hard being in a processing place). i just don't know how to mentally get myself over the hurdle.
    anyone else dealt with this & if so, how did you over come the dread/fear of killing the birds? i've never hunted or otherwise killed my own food (except for fish - & that wasn't super easy - i know rediculous) and i've never been around animals being processed.
  2. Lute

    Lute Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2012
    Albuquerque, NM

    With the exception of Rosy (my New Hampshire Red), I've been calling all the duel purpose chickens after Chicken dishes.


    Then there are the favourites; Casserole and Shredded Sandwiches.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  3. bluere11e

    bluere11e Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2011
    West Palm Beach
    It is so hard to have to kill anything in my book. I have to psych myself up to kill predators, even if I catch them "redhanded" with feathers in their mouths, standing over a dead bird. It's much worse in my mind to slaughter the meaties, because they've done nothing to me, my family, or any other animal. They aren't ugly. They are cutie patooties that barrel up to you at wobbling top speed, squeaking for food when they see you approach with the bucket. I have bad dreams weeks before It's time to process and I feel so bad.
    But, I know that I give them a MUCH better life than any other commercial place. I give them quality food, fresh pasture twice a day and kind words and all the love and kindness I can give, knowing that even if I didn't kill them, they would probably die of a heart attack or legs giving out within a few months of the time I should have processed them.
    It isn't ridiculous that you feel this dread, or even remorse at the thought of doing it. you SHOULD! We should revere and appreciate ANY life that is taken for our sustenance and survival. Ever since commercial farming/processing has become commonplace (post WWII), most world power countries have lost touch with where our food comes from. All we see is the pretty wrapped packages.
    Slaughterhouses/abattoirs should have glass walls so we can REALLY see what goes on inside of them.
    Congratulations for taking the first step in controlling where your food comes from and what goes into it. The USDA and FDA has allowed for too many things that change what natural food should be. We have to take back our food source. One backyard at a time...
  4. xC0000005

    xC0000005 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 1, 2009
    Kirkland, WA
    You know, it was hard for me to do the first one. The second one was easier, the next few were easier still. I must have stood and studied that cut for twenty minutes before I did it the first time. All I can say is that it gets easier. Also, have a really, really, really sharp knife if you go for the throat method. I haven't done one in months but I'm sure it's like falling off a bike - you don't forget how.

    Once the bird is dead things get easier because now it's use it or lose it, and the same guilt that worked against you doing the deed now says "wasting that bird would be triple bad!"
    Things that make it easier for me:
    1. Knowing that I'll do it and be done. One of the worst processing experiences I ever had was when I did not do the job right the first time, and I regret (and remember) it to this day.
    2. Knowing how my birds were handled. I handle them with care and respect. I am not angry with them or cruel, even to the roosters who peck or attack.
    3. Knowing that the meat I serve my family was handled cleanly and that all the bits were not wasted.

    I recommend picking up a free rooster off of craigslist and giving it a go. Have the right tools. Have the right frame of mind. Do it once and be done, and then enjoy a meal you have earned. Oh, and don't judge future experiences by your first. The first time does not always work out so well. Learn and go on.

    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012

    BBUTTER Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 16, 2011
    Ditto to what xC000...5 said. Except getting someone else's rooster. That's just a personal thing of mine. No offense intended. I wouldn't eat someone else's meat, but I guess I could practice on it and give it to my dog.
    A super sharp knife is so important for the kill cut. I once let my knife go dull and had to keep sawing at a poor bird. That one did bother me. If you do the one quick slice to the carotid, it doesn't hurt them and they just go to sleep. Blood should immediately be gushing/pouring out. If it's not, quickly try again. We have a knife that's sharp on both sides of the point so you just poke it in instead of slicing. It makes things much faster. That's what makes it easier for me. I know that they had a good life and served their purpose, and I know the kill was quick and humane.
  6. bluere11e

    bluere11e Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2011
    West Palm Beach
    I agree,
    You have NO idea what that bird has been eating and just like people.. "You are what you eat"..
  7. bj taylor

    bj taylor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 28, 2011
    North Central Texas
    the answers to my delimma here have been so good. i know i'll probably not do so beautiful w/the gutting, i'm pretty sure i can do the plucking ok. it has been the kiling that has bound me up. your answers help alot.
    i think i'm going to use a cone. i'm going to start the hunt for a really good knife. i want to be as prepared as possible to minimize my screw-ups. i can live with a poorly processed bird a lot better than i can live with a bird that suffered because of me. thanks again.
  8. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
  9. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 13, 2008
    Ditto what others said. Just be prepared for all kinds of strong, conflicted feelings to come welling up, but know that this is normal for most people like you doing this particularly at first, and just means you're a good person who cares. Don't be scared off or discouraged by this, and especially don't be to hard on yourself if things are less than completely smooth and easy the first time. Just learn from the experience and move on with it.

    I especially respect your wishes to do the slaughtering yourself instead of hiring out, for the sake of the birds. I feel the same way about mine. I don't much care for slaughtering but I think my feelings about it are less important than having a less stressful experience for the birds. And being schlepped to a slaughterhouse, sitting in crates, and handled by strange people who don't care about them in weird new surroundings is definitely stressful. More so than being yanked from the coop by familiar hands and having their head lopped off before they know what's going on. Too often people facing similar uncomfortable situations get all confused and let their own squeamishness get in the way of what might actually be best for the animals they are supposed to be responsible for.

    Compassion is the first step! Good luck to you--you'll do fine!
  10. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    You are supposed to feel bad about killing them. People who enjoy killing are sociopaths.

    I do my own processing. The birds are going to be eaten, no matter what, and I want them treated with kindness and respect right up until the very end. I am grateful for their sacrifice and take a great deal of effort to make sure they are not stressed or frightened.

    You know the old saying: if you want it done right do it yourself. When I do it myself, I know they are handled gently and soothed and the end is a total surprise. They are there and contented and in an instant they are no longer there. No fear.

    I don't want them hauled around by their legs, or their crate dropped, or to have them treated like they are lumps that don't matter.

    I do not know that the processors treat them roughly, but I know with absolute certainty that I don't.

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