My First Time: and it isn't going well!


11 Years
Mar 29, 2008
South Carolina
Hey, guys. I'm not sure if I chose the right forum or not, but I need to hash this out with people who may understand.

I have my first flock this summer. We ended up with 3 roosters, but they all were getting along fine with each other so it wasn't a problem. Then, in the last couple of weeks, Frankie was getting pretty aggressive. Not towards the other chickens, but anyone who came in the pen. I was ok, he respected my dominance, but he would go after anyone else. We even had company playing in the yard and he got out and went after the little girl.

Obviously that is unacceptable. My son and I decided to cull. We had never done anything like it before so we read up on all the info we could find. We went for it. I'm not ashamed to say that I chickened out and my hubby had to swing the hatchet. Once that was done, the skinning and everything went well and I had no problems. Definitely my first time, but meat wise it was fine.

My problem is that for the last 24 hours I've felt horrible. I feel like I just killed him. Duh! Of course we killed him. I know I made a mistake by naming him and falling in love. My brain knows that chickens are meat. My brain knows that we're allowed to, even supposed to, butcher and eat them. But my heart feels bad.

I had never hunted anything or butchered anything and I just need to hear from someone who has done it before.

Am I a horrible person? Will this feeling go away?
It does get easier. In time the feeling of responsibility/guilt can be replaced by a thankfulness towards the animal for providing you and your family with food. I grew up in an environment where we raised much of our own food - both vegetable and animal. Started butchering animals as a child. It is never fun , but it is a part of the life cycle. Till today I remain thankful towards any animal that I have raised to feed my family. Logically you did the right thing. That rooster was a liability. He chose to attack the child (not an uncommon occurrence), and that was unacceptable. You could not risk the possibility that he might scar or seriously injure someone. You did the right thing - you are not a 'horrible' person. You are a responsible person and are to be commended.
I had never hunted anything or butchered anything and I just need to hear from someone who has done it before.

Am I a horrible person? Will this feeling go away?

It is perfectly normal to feel sad or remorse for killing an animal. Those feelings are what makes us human.

What I do, I apologize to the animal before I kill it, and after it is dead I apologize again.
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Kudos to you for accepting this responsibility! One of my huge pet peeves is folks keeping mean roosters that attack children "because I love him" or "I could never kill anything". So, you just went way, way up in my estimation and I don't even know you!

What you feel is very normal and will get better. I grew up on a farm and butchering animals is normal to me, but I still don't like it and sometimes cry a little with a particular animal. I got a little too attached to a pig last year and decided to leave when "the Truck" came to butcher them. When I got home, I went to the pen and cried a little, but it's okay.

My best advice is to put that bird in the freezer for a few months. Don't ever intend to eat an animal you butcher right away if you're having emotional issues. Stick it in the freezer for a while and let the feelings fade. By the time you pull it out later, you won't be seeing that rooster you raised, it will just be meat from the freezer. Even with the time at the butcher, I didn't cook pork for a few weeks after that pig, it was just too fresh in my mind.

I share your sorrow and wonderings. We just slaughtered our first girl today. She had stopped laying, and we have 2 others to go after her (gulp!) . I really had to get up my nerve and talk myself through it. My 17year old son helped me, and I praised him for his courage later. After reading the other responses, I feel a bit better. It's difficult at first as you bond with these birds and they trust you. I think this is the hardest part. I know it gets a little easier as time goes on.
Look. We get attache to those little things. We lost one tonight and can't find her and it's killing me. I've slaughtered two rounds. 4 the first and 9 the second time. It honesty does suck. But it shows we have a heart and it makes it more real. Don't know if it gets easier but you do learn to remember why we raise them.

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