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Looks like the time is coming sooner than I thought... (graphic)

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by DCS, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. DCS

    DCS Songster

    Nov 26, 2008
    I ordered a mix of 25 heavies from McMurray last fall- one of their last weeks of shipping before winter. They are 9 1/2 weeks old.

    Well, this morning I went out to feed and discovered that the flock ganged up on one dude. He's actually the biggest one, conveniently, but the ripped his rear end raw... I know there were several culprits because there is blood on several other roosters' heads as well. He seems to be getting along ok, although is still oozing blood. So methinks perhaps the kindest thing to do is to go ahead and cull him. Besides, if he keeps oozing, they'll likely just attack him again, and he'll die a prolonged, miserable death from infection. (The rationalization)

    Being that they're heavies and not meat birds per se, I was hoping to wait a little longer. There's a lot of feathers there, and I'm not exactly sure he'll be much of a meal.


    I have never killed anything before... well, ok, so now that I think about it, I have. That was in the name of science, though, and I didn't really have a lot of warning. And thus, didn't have much time to get upset. Actually, now that I really think about it, this shouldn't be a big deal. Shouldn't be. So I'm psyching myself up.

    Husband is a lot more squeamish and sensitive than I am. Blood doesn't phase me for the most part... I deal with a lot of it at work. Hell, I've watched several people bleed to death. Usually, I'm trying to stop that bleeding, though... (I'm a ER doc, for you people who are thinking really awful things right about now.)

    Psyching up... psyching up...

    I can gut a fish, I can gut a chicken.

    I don't have a cone, but am going to try to improvise one out of the leftover wire from the coop. I should probably put the dogs inside, as they will try to "help," not to mention, I really don't need several bloody border collies getting any ideas.

    Too bad I didn't think to bring home any trauma gowns from work. Well, it will just have to be neat. (Yeah, right. I'm going to take him out to the back of our 5 acres for that part.)

    There are about 15 Mexican dudes building a barn on our neighbor's property right now... right across from the coop. I wonder if they'll keep catcalling me if I have my fillet knife and a chicken strung up by the legs? It's getting sort of annoying.

    Enough rambling. Might as well get it over with.

    Wish me luck. Ug.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2009
  2. babalubird

    babalubird Songster

    Jul 21, 2008
    Good luck. You can do it.

    I know I will have trouble when the time comes, but I just keep telling myself, "My grandmother did this and she was a much smaller, more frail woman than I but apparently had a lot more backbone." So I'll just have to grow one, "woman-up", and do it.

    They always say your first few are the hardest but it does get easier.

    Better the bird goes for a good purpose than like you said, just get butchered by his own family members one bite at a time.[​IMG]

    Keep us posted. Inspire the rest of us wimps.

  3. Mojo Chick'n

    Mojo Chick'n Empress of Chickenville

    Quote:[​IMG] take along a rattle and wear a headwrap - they'll leave you alone - they'll think you are a Santera. If ya got some longish red beads to wear (the kind that swing a bit cause they're so long) that'll REALLY shut them up.
  4. DCS

    DCS Songster

    Nov 26, 2008
    Alrighty, deed is done. Easier than I thought it would be, although granted, I've seen a lot of death. And his was pretty peaceful, considering...

    Now, I was going to skin it, but the feathers are coming out pretty easily... maybe I'll just dress it and see what happens.

    (PS I really appreciate the stickies at the top of the page)
  5. toletiquesbysam

    toletiquesbysam Songster

    Sep 19, 2008
    Good Job!!! I'm not looking forward to the day I have to do that but I know once you get one done, it will get easier with each one following!! [​IMG]
  6. DCS

    DCS Songster

    Nov 26, 2008
    3 lb, 12 oz dressed.

    I have fed my dogs raw in the past (the LOVE chicken), but this one is ours.

    I'm going to roast him for dinner one of these nights. I suppose tonight is too soon?

    He's brining now.
  7. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    Aug 25, 2008
    Welcome to BYC. And hearty congratulations for doing what I can't yet do. I'm encouraged by your courage! Thanks.
  8. DCS

    DCS Songster

    Nov 26, 2008
    PS - Why is it "dressed?" Why not "un-dressed?"

    Or perhaps I am not using the word correctly.
    I mean: 3lb, 12 oz gutted, missing his head and without the vast majority of his feathers. I couldn't get them all... I also ended up giving up and skinning the wings. Except I cut one at one joint and the other at the other, so he's a little lopsided.
  9. KellyHM

    KellyHM Crowing

    Sep 10, 2008
    Lakeland, FL
    Mind telling us how you culled him? I'm still debating how to do mine...they're 8 wks old now, so the time is near. I'm a vet (well, in 4 months when I graduate), so I've seen a lot of animals "put to sleep" but that's when they're sick and/or dying already. Did you happen to weigh him ahead of time? I was wondering what live wt vs. processed wt was. [​IMG]
  10. DCS

    DCS Songster

    Nov 26, 2008
    No problem. And "courage" wouldn't be the best word. Determination, maybe. Resignation? He put me in a difficult spot by getting injured, and I didn't feel like I had a lot of choice in the matter.

    I didn't weigh him pre-cull because I didn't think to. He's as big as the others, though... which doesn't really help you either. I'm not exactly sure how you weigh a live chicken, short of hypnotizing it to lie on the scale. Or should I have weighed him dead pre-dressing?

    The gory details: (you've been warned)

    I had a 2' piece of rope with loops at both ends, and had scouted out a branch in the backyard that had broken off about 4' from the ground so I could just loop the rope over it without having to thread the rope, then try and get it around the roo's feet. I went into the coop, grabbed said rooster and looped his feet. He didn't like hanging upside down, so I carried him out sort of right sided up, trying to keep his rather bloodied behind from getting all over me. I didn't want to try and loop his feet once we were out there, because with my luck, he'd get away and I'd never be able to catch him again. I looped the other end over the predetermined broken-off branch and slowly let him down. I gently extended his neck and used a very sharp fillet knife to gash one side. I ended up cutting into the crop, but didn't realize it, as I sort of looked away. I mean, really, you don't need super aim or anything. (I put central lines in jugulars all the time - the internal jugular and carotids course very close to each other - sort of hard to miss with a deep slash.) Anyway, my german shepard seemed really REALLY interested by now, so I took this opportunity to put him back in the house. There were a few half-hearted flaps, but overall, not much splatter. There also wasn't as much blood as I thought there would be. (Remember, I am used to seeing humans gashed open, so your mileage may vary.)

    By the time I got the dog back in and back out to the spot, I was pretty sure he was dead (about 10 minutes) - partly because he wasn't moving as far as I could tell, and partly because he'd regurgitated up lunch. I still waited a little bit with him lying in the sink to be sure, as I reread the basics about 18 times and debated whether I should try to pluck or skin.

    Does that answer your question? Overall, the death was quiet and peaceful, which is a huge difference from most of the deaths I "oversee" in my ER. Dogs and cats have it pretty easy - euthanasia deaths (or at least the ones I've witnessed) were like this chicken who slowly bled into unconsciousness. The 80 year old grandma who shows up at my door without the magic "let me die in peace" papers gets an unmerciful onslaught. Sort of a sad commentary, and a little off topic, but what happens in real life.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2009

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