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Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Austincb, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. Austincb

    Austincb Hatching

    Dec 27, 2012
    My husband and I are building our first run and have a coop being made. I really like the thought of meat chickens once we figure out what we're doing. I'm sure they would live a better life with us and die more humanely by our hand than the chickens in the grocery store. I also like the idea of eating cleaner and wtih less preservatives.

    I am though struggling a little with the thought of killing one. Is this something you get used to? What do you do with all of the extras from the chicken you aren't using?

    How long do meat chickens need to mature before processing them? Do you process yourself or take them somewhere?

    Thanks for all of the help!

  2. Wyandotte103

    Wyandotte103 Chirping

    Dec 29, 2012
    My henhouse
    I cant be of much help. it doesnt get easier though. i would reccommend getting laying hens instead! Hope i helped!
  3. Elke Beck

    Elke Beck Songster

    Jun 24, 2011
    Sunny So Cal
    I never thought I could kill my own chickens, but I ended up with three roosters that I could not keep,. I figured if I gave them away someone else would eat them and reap the rewards of all my hard work, so I studied how other people do it, and watched every YouTube video I could find. Then I made a careful plan, and things went well. The first was the hardest, mostly because I did not realize how much force you need to make a deep enough cut in the throat, so the first one lingered until I screwed up the courage to finish the job. The next two went much easier.

    BTW, I wore a Kevlar glove on my left hand, and I think that made a huge difference because I did not have to worry at all about whether my fingers were going to get cut.

    Only you will know if you can do it. It is a lot of work to process chickens, and it is not fun killing something you have raised, but I figure my 3 boys had a great life being chickens, scratching and eating bugs, taking dirt baths, and pooping over everything that they could, and then they had one bad day at the end. It was a far better life than factory farm chickens get, and in the end they all die.

    Is it a sobering thing for me to be so hands on with the meat that I eat? Yes. Will I do it again? Yes.

    I recommend starting with a few laying hens and see how you feel about them. I do not get that attached to my chickens, but for others they are more pets than livestock. If you get that attached it may be very hard to kill them. Bear in mind that the old saying is true - If you have livestock, you have dead stock. Even if you keep laying hens as pets, eventually you will have to put down chickens that get sick or old, and being able to do it yourself is best.
  4. beckyjo

    beckyjo In the Brooder

    Oct 19, 2011
    I was in your same position a year ago. I consider myself an extreme animal lover...yet find myself more concerned about the lack of humane treatment of animals that we eat more than anything. This is what brought me to the conclusion that I would raise my own meat chickens and treat them well...giving them a wonderful yet short-lived life no matter how difficult it may be for me at butchering time.
    We raised 50 Cornish X last summer. We bought the electric fencing from Premier and moved it every 5 days towards the end. They ran around in the sun and pecked at the grass and clover and bugs. The chicken you buy in the store have likely never seen then sun and have been pumped full of crap. I fed them in the morning and afternoon..they did not always have free access to food (but did to grass and bugs) and I believe that this is why I never had any leg/heart problems. I butchered between 8 and 10 weeks. Starting with the boys first. Most were almost 9# live weight at 8 weeks. I did worry that I wouldn't be able to butcher them...but I was able to have my husband and son do the killing part. I did the scalding...everyone helped pluck (we are getting a whizbang this year) and I did the evisceration. We were all pros by the end. I think what made it easier for me was that they got so big so fast and I was worried that they would die if I didn't butcher them in a proper time. This would not be honoring their lives...which was my main goal. I have considered taking them somewhere to be butchered, but think that it can more traumatic to be transported. Plus I wouldn't know that they were being killed as humanely as possible and this again would go against why I am truly doing this. I am sure that many would not agree with me. But this is just my own personal choice.
    Also..the meat is AMAZING!!
    I would recommend getting layers also. Nothing better and healthier than a free-range chickens eggs!!
    Good Luck!
    1 person likes this.
  5. redsoxs

    redsoxs Crowing

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    I X2 what beckyjo said! There are also some online tutorials about processing your own birds. You get to be pretty efficient at it in no time. Good luck to you!!
  6. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer Premium Member

    May 11, 2010
    Either you like it or you don't. When I raised meat birds I ended up allowing a processor down the road do the deed in exchange for some birds or eggs. Although I euthanize pets on a daily basis, I don't like dealing with the mess of processing birds. Since I don't have any meat birds, I will trade eggs for a homegrown bird ready for the table.
  7. luvmyEs

    luvmyEs Songster

    Dec 9, 2011
    North Carolina
    I think the first bird is the hardest and each one after that gets easier and easier. But for me each time it was always the first bird! Try and see if their is a farm around you that would teach you on their birds. I learned by processing over a hundred birds at a local farm.

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