Preparation of chickens before taking to the processors?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by bluestem acres, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. bluestem acres

    bluestem acres Hatching

    Nov 17, 2010
    I have a few spent hens and a few roosters that I'm going to have processed. This will be the first time for me, I was hoping that someone could give any advice, tips, or something that must?? be done before processing. I have heard that you should not feed the birds the day before the slaughter, is this true? Any other good prep tips? I've found a processor, so I don't need any actual processing tips.

    Thanks, bluestem acres

  2. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Songster

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    You can take feed away from them for up to 24 hours before butchering. They're fine if they don't eat for a day, and if they are butchered with crops and intestines full of food, well that was kind of a waste of food. (unless you don't mind throwing away the food, then you can go ahead and let them eat a last meal. I do this when processing my own lambs and goats, I give them a bowl of feed to eat right before to make them happy and calm.) Don't take their water away though.

    When you catch them to put them in whatever container they are being transported in, and during transportation, try to avoid stressing them very much. The calmer you can keep the whole event, the better.
  3. bluestem acres

    bluestem acres Hatching

    Nov 17, 2010
    Thanks for the info. I've got a couple of days to make the decision. You've been very helpful!

    Thanks, bluestem.
  4. LiLRedCV

    LiLRedCV Songster

    Aug 25, 2010
    Land of the Rain
    Great thread as I'm ever curious about this matter too. (We haven't done it yet, but have plans too!)
  5. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

    Aug 24, 2008
    Southern Ohio
    yes with hold the feed. think of the crop, it just hold the feed before they use it, if empty makes cleaning easier and cleaner too.. give water
  6. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Songster

    Jun 21, 2011
    Waldo County, Maine
    My experience . . . best to have a date as early in the day as your processor will take them.

    Withholding feed, in my book anyway, is a practical matter of having the crop and a lot of the gut empty. Honestly, though, food in the tract presents more of a challenge to me, the amateur butcher, than to the folks who process my large batches. Doesn't slow them down a bit and I've never seen them cut into a crop or intestine.

    Still on the practical side, withdrawing the food and processing early in the next day can go hand-in-hand. If you factor stress on the birds into it . . . if you withdraw their food the evening before as they go to roost, they wouldn't be bothering it overnight anyway, and they'd have the night shift on their roosts to eliminate a lot of it, which would address the matter of emptying the crop and a good bit of the gut. Yours are not (as you've said) meat birds, but the disruption would be even less to any CornishXs who are accustomed to a 12-on/12-off feeding schedule.Though it's not a concern to me, that would also address the issue of the economics one of us brought up, about the cost of feed that will never be productive.

    Then, if you get up early to take them to the processor, you've minimized their stress at not finding any feed around when they hop down in the morning. The trip will be stress enough. Birds can be conditioned to a lot of things, but I don't think that motorized rides are a regular event in many of their lives.

    I'd recommend withholding feed overnight before their trip to freezer camp. As I hope I've described, an overnight, something like a 12-hour, withdrawal should minimize the stress on them, with the added benefit of making them easier to handle than if you withheld for a whole 24 hours. I don't know how yours behave, but if mine hadn't had feed in 24 hours and I opened the door to the yard or the coop, I'd have one heckuva challenge keeping them contained as I rounded them up. Especially with all of the opening and closing of the door or gate as rund them up. If you get to them as they're just waking up, they'll be a lot easier to handle and crate up for the trip.

    My two cents.
  7. EggsForIHOP

    EggsForIHOP Songster

    Apr 18, 2010
    I too keep in mind when I with hold feed prior to processing this: If I feed them, but they never get to digest it, I have just WASTED feed! And yes, ScottyHOMEy is very right in the 12 on 12 off aspect - if your birds are already used to going to bed once the feed dish is empty, and then waking up and waiting for breakfast, it's not a surprise to them...that's just normal, and makes their day less stressful, I totally agree with that.

    Have I processed birds I had fed already for the day, yeah, and it really wasn't that bad or different or harder than one that had been all night without food...but seeing that crop FULL of feed that in every other way was still "right out of the bag fresh and ready to sue"....well....that just seemed wasteful to when I process I try to pick out the ones I want for the next day and keep them separate at night before...that way I can get up, knock out my morning feeding, and then get them knocked out with wasting feed, having to do all the processing at one time, or screwing up the schedule for any birds that get to live another day...and I'm not literally throwing away food that way either...just saying...that's how I look at things....

  8. mstricer

    mstricer Crowing

    Feb 12, 2009
    We just did this for the first time it worked great. We made an appt. our processor has you bring them in the night before. They got to eat. I crated them and took them over. Pick up the next day. No biggie.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by