Poultry Slaughterhouse Changes

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by kynewbchickie, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. kynewbchickie

    kynewbchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Just thought I'd give people a heads-up -

    I've had a nightmare of a time finding a poultry slaughterhouse in Kentucky that will process egg-laying breeds after 12 weeks of age. They claim that the new USDA regs have something to do with it, as well as the differences in digestive systems of egg-layers and meat birds after the age of 12 weeks causing contamination issues. This is totally new information to me. I'd had an appointment set up for my roosters since mid-May for mid-August only to get a call last week about the changes and their cancellation of my appointment to bring the birds in. Given the overpopulation of boys that I have, leaving things "as is" wasn't an option as they've been tormenting my girls - and myself, now - so I ordered a kill cone and set out to buy the rest of what I needed to process my birds here at home. We used to have a mobile processing unit in the state that was run by an older couple, but from what I've found out they're no longer in service. Only one poultry butcher that I've found in my state will still do kosher slaughters of egg-layers over 12 weeks of age, but they're about 4-5 hours away from me.

    Has anyone else in other states heard of these changes as well? I'm rather interested why, all of a sudden, egg-layers older than 12 weeks are no longer being accepted. Even more interesting is that these businesses are pointing fingers hesitantly at the USDA.
  2. outlander

    outlander Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 6, 2013
    Belton, KY
    Huh. Interesting. I wonder if it has anything to do with the major processing plants speeding up their inspection line from something like 80 birds/min to 175 birds/min... Maybe since the younger birds are less prone to contamination, a faster rate of inspection is possible. Of course, these guidelines are for meat birds not egg layers...but you and I both know how rooted the big broiler companies are in KY.

    Could be an attempt to lessen the profits of independent heritage breed producers, and boost the broiler industry. It wouldn't be the first time the USDA is accused of sitting in the pocket of Big Ag. When some out of the blue new guideline appears to help corporations and hamper small time producers it gets my hackles up.

    Just trying to connect the dots.
  3. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio
    Huh is right. Outlander, I think both your reasons are good possibilities. Sad part is they both involve gov intervention.

    kynewbchickie - I say take them and tell them they are 12 weeks old. Call their bluff and see what are they say?
  4. kynewbchickie

    kynewbchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm just going to process them here at home. After all the poultry these places see coming through their lines, they'd know the difference between 12 weeks and 21-22, I'd say.

    My personal theories: Since the proposal of the backyard chicken ban in most cities and large towns in Kentucky that is expected to go before our House and Senate by the end of the year (written about last month in our local paper), I'm thinking this may be part of that attempt to "deter" people from having chickens for fresh eggs and their roosters for meat in their own backyards here in order to boost sales for grocers. Of course, people in rural areas outside of city limits are outside of this ban - but the limitations on processing egg-layers after a certain age affects all of us, not just in the cities.

    Another is the prevalence of truly free-range organic-fed chickens in the Farmer's Markets. In Berea, for instance, there is a large Farmer's Market that has a couple of meat vendors. We all know that in order to be able to legally sell meat products in a venue like that, or larger - you've got to have USDA clearance on your product for the health and safety of patrons. 12-week-old egg-layers don't really have enough meat on them to qualify for a McNugget, let alone a whole broiler. These vendors use meat breeds, so they're in the clear - but what about the other people who use the egg-layer roosters and culled hens for their broilers? This kinda knocks them out of the running a bit.

    If there ever was a time where the USDA was sitting in Big Ag's pocket, we're seeing it now more than ever - the GMO debate is raging across the globe and even though 50 other countries have banned them in their food production due to their own study data on the health and safety of the stuff, the U.S. is still pushing them. Quite a few former Monsanto employees/legal representatives sit at the helm of the FDA and USDA and in other gov't offices - so there's a huge conflict of interest involved. For those of us with egg-layers that we want to process, we're just going to have to get adept at processing them at home within legal guidelines in regards to where we live, or else find slaughterhouses that will accept our birds.

    The only one I've been able to find for the entire state of KY is SS Enterprises out of Bowling Green, KY - if that helps anyone else needing services. KSU still has their rental mobile processing unit available, but you are responsible for the rental fees and using the equipment yourself in order to dispatch and process your own birds.

    Our county's Extension Ag Agent is just as perplexed as the rest of us are. No one is giving clear answers as to why these changes have happened. Their reasonings aren't the same at any place that has discontinued processing of egg-layers over 12 weeks of age, and the reasons are so varied and many, it's hard to connect the dots.
  5. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    What ever the reason, you willhave the benefit of procesing your own and there fore be completely independent of a processor.

    One of our local procesor stopped taking in outside turkleys on kill day; A day when they processed their own for customers.

    Pushed me to learn the process. I still find it difficult, but appreciate a new skill. It is one step toward independence, and strengthens home grown production.

    Good luck processing.
  6. kynewbchickie

    kynewbchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Arielle, that's very true. I'm just concerned that before too long, citizens won't have the legal right to own their own flocks, raise them for eggs and/or meat to be able to process them independently. It just seems that little by little, more and more is being taken away from people.
  7. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA

    In Boston the Mayor is all for people having chickens , in the right and appropriate suburbs of course. In NY I hear they can have chickens, but don't know the rules for sure.

    Have you read the blog by SugarMtnFarm.com He has another blog that is about fighting the good fight. Check it out. THis blog will lead you to the other.one that will interest you.

    You are right that much of our "government" effort is to shut of the availabity of fresh produce not produce by big agribisness. You might find the above mentioned link a place to put your efforts to stop this nonsense. Or at leasst slow it down.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by