New To Raising Meat birds

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by shoechickens, Nov 15, 2014.

  1. shoechickens

    shoechickens Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm 13 years old from England, about 3 months ago I decided not to eat any more factory produced meat but to instead raise all the meat i wanted myself. I have been searching all around the internet and you tube about how to raise and butcher them.I have decided to use a chicken tractor and me and my dad made a pretty big one out of a old bed. I haven't decided how to butcher them. To either cut their head off or cut on of their jugular (don't know the spelling) while there in a killing cone? Whats best? and i also want to know if killing them will change me in some way,and if ill be able to do it. I will be keeping 15 Cornish cross at a time do I don't get to know any of them[​IMG]. I am planning to dunk them in hot water then put them in a chicken plucker i will make. Thanks for reading!:) any help and corrections on my plan would be excellent!I dont plan to start the process untill march but im planning ahead (as i always do) [​IMG] thanks a ton, Jeff
     
  2. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It sound like you have a pretty good plan. I haven't raised meat chickens yet but I do raise dual breeds and butcher the roosters. The trick is not to get attached to them. I usually never name or treat my roos like pets. I wait til I know its a hen and I will be keeping it. As for being able to do it, you will only know when you go to do it. I have a friend who raises chickens,too. She can't kill them but has no problem plucking and gutting them. I hate plucking but I don't mind butchering or gutting. So we team up. I prefer to hold the chicken and cut its head off with a hatchet. That way its quick and I know it didn't suffer but the cone is humane too. If butchering chickens has changed me it has been for the good. It reminds me that I can do all kinds of things to take care of myself and my family. It will definitely be a learning experience for you and I wish you luck! I smoked one of my roos today and he was pretty tasty!
     
  3. shoechickens

    shoechickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the reply! I will be making the killing comes out of old milk bottles[​IMG]
     
  4. lollipopguild

    lollipopguild Out Of The Brooder

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    I've found wringing their necks to be the most efficient way of killing them. A lot of times, with meaties, the method will decapitate them, anyway.
     
  5. shoechickens

    shoechickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Lollipopguild could you tell me how to do this?
     
  6. lollipopguild

    lollipopguild Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 13, 2014
    It's hard to explain. I hold them in my left arm like a football (usa football), grab the back of their head/neck with my right hand, drop them and quickly snap the neck in a clockwise movement. You'll feel either an internal decapitation or the obvious complete decapitation. I would watch some YouTube videos.

    I've cut the necks and chopped heads off before. I much prefer just wringing them. It's less of a hassle and the only tools you need are your hands.
     
  7. Cabin Katie

    Cabin Katie Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 16, 2014
    Hi Jeff, I'm Katie [​IMG]. I couldn't help but respond because I too quit eating factory chickens when I was 13. But I mostly just didn't eat chicken for 7 years lol. I started raising my own chickens again 3 years ago and have slaughtered off and on since I was 9 so its safe to say I know what i'm doing (most of the time[​IMG]). I think it's pretty cool that you are caring about where your food is coming from and taking a great responsibility of the circle of life. ANYWHO I'm going to tell you how I do it, as well as throw out some pointers.

    Of course first off you are going to choose a breed, the cornish cross is a good beginner for the obvious reasons; they grow the fastest out of other breeds (6 - 8 weeks), very meaty and has the most "familiar" taste (all suspermarket meat chickens in the US are cornish crosses, most americans have never tasted any other breed, I'm not sure about the UK but that seems to be the deal here) Most of the time I'll have someone offering their half grown meat chickens because they impulse buy them, or their hen that doesnt lay anymore, or their rooster etc so I have a pretty steady supply of chicken throughout the year round so I only do a large harvest twice a year.

    Depending on how many people you are looking to feed with each harvest will deter-main how many chickens you should get obviously. I go with 5 each time but will be upping to fifteen or 20 this spring since my family is starting to want some of my open range chicken meat :p. You've already got a chicken tractor so that's excellent! Better prepared than not prepared. I don't know which part of England you live in but here in central Illinois it can still be pretty cold on and off in March so I start the chicks off in a brooder with a heat lamp. I don't necessarily keep track of how many weeks it should be until they can handle weather on their own, I can usually just tell. If the average tetemperatures around 50 - 60 degrees f and half of their "fluff" is gone then I suppose they are ready for the chicken tractor. You can also pick em up when the heat lamp is off and just feel how much body warmth they have.

    Now, like I said earlier my chickens are open range. No cages, no fences lulz. I keep them in the tractor until my other egg chickens are used to their presence and they are big enough to defend themselves a bit better. Also over the time period of them being tractor chickens I try to ween them off corn feed, as open range chickens durring the warm months they do not need feed from me. They have all the bugs and vegetation they need. The problem is the corn in their feed is so addictive. I've had one break my skin pecking at me like a fiend. The corn is also bad for their digestion, good for boosting their growth, but it's just bad. I've slaughtered chickens on pure corn diet too and it makes their organs SO stinky, even if I withhold them from feed for 24 hours before hand. Grass has all the antibiotics they need to make them healthy and well and making their meat less bacteria-y.

    Anyways, I don't know what kind of place you are living at if it would be allowed to let them be open range but I'm lucky enough to live out in the country where it's ok to do that and I think it's completely ok to raise them in a chicken tractor as well. When it comes time to slaughter I'll use the chicken tractor again to isolate them for 24 hours and keep them on fresh grass (like I said, grass is good for keeping their bacteria down!) So when it comes time for slaughtering I prefer to use this method I found from a video on youtube. I could probably fish for it for you. What I do is I wear a mexican pancho (yes I know it's silly lmao) and make a tight cone on my lap where I place the chicken upside-down. I slit the throat right under their jaw with a very sharp fillet knife (make sure its sharp otherwise their will be a struggle and you don't want that D:) when I've got the chicken in a nice trance. When I do it correct they don't even notice that they are bleeding out. I've done pretty much every method ever and this is my favorite. Not only is it very humane but they bleed out completely without a struggle which makes the meat much more tastey :D. Will it change you? Yes. But I feel like it's in a good way, it's very personal I always thank the chicken. I like to mentally prepare myself as well. I'm 23 so the best way I prepare myself is to drink a tall glass of dark beer first lmao but you're 13 so don't do that lol.

    When I feather the chicken I dunk them into the hot water THEN have a second ice water bucket that is also soapy. The ice water will contract the skin and make it so it wont tear when you feather them. I keep a bowl with salt water out for the feet, gizzard, heart, and liver for chicken stock, and I cure the rest of the chickens body in a cooler of salt water. It's to help purify it. From there they'll go into larger labeled bags into the storage freezer and if I have enough feet, gizzards, liver, and hearts I'll go ahead and make some stock to put into the freezer as well.

    I feel like I wrote a novel [​IMG] any questions? How large is your chicken tractor?
     
  8. shoechickens

    shoechickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much for the HUGE reply[​IMG]! The chicken tractor is about the size of a single bed. I have a few questions: what do I do with the liver,heart extra? My mum suggested a patta. And sould I limit their food because can't they have heart and leg problems?Luckily I have a big garden in the contry so I can let them free range a bit with our laying hens. Yet again Thanks for the reply!
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
  9. lollipopguild

    lollipopguild Out Of The Brooder

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    Keep them! I fry or saute hearts, liver, and gizzards. Some people restrict feed based on a 12 on 12 off schedule. I free feed and haven't had any problems. IĀ give mine the ability to free range, but they usually don't. So, don't be surprised if they seem lazy.
     
  10. Cabin Katie

    Cabin Katie Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 16, 2014
    Hmmmmm. Patta. Never even thought to make some of that. Might need to try it out.


    All that stuff usually makes really good catfish bait as well if your into that. They go crazy over the liver :p
     

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