Questions about children's reactions to butchering chickens

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by ella&clara, Sep 18, 2010.

  1. ella&clara

    ella&clara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 18, 2010
    Hi, I am new here. I am from SC and stay at home with my 2 daughters, 4 and 18 months old. I am considering raising chickens for meat. I have no experience with poultry. I worry about my girls not liking the whole killing and eating thing. My father had beef cattle when we were growing up and we did not butcher them. I realize now that if I'm willing to eat meat, I should be okay with raising my own. So just wondering what folks think about children's reactions to eating the chickens. I know meat birds wouldn't be around long, and I could work at keeping the children from getting attached, etc. Any thoughts would be helpful! Thanks!
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Your kids seem young enough that if you just raised and ate them like it was no big deal, it would be no big deal to them either. They will grow up thinking it is normal. I know turning my birds into food was no big deal when I was younger, because nobody made a big deal about it. That is what you do with food, eat it. It would be great to expose your kids to where real food comes from!
  3. ella&clara

    ella&clara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 18, 2010
    I do want them to know where their food comes from, and when we drive to the farm to get the chickens and eggs we do eat I point out the chickens in the field and say that's where the chickens live we eat. My father had a calf butchered and I told my 4 yo we'd be eating it, and my 4 yo was dismayed, then said, "Not the horns and tails, though?" and I told her no, and she was okay with it. But she doesn't live there,
  4. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    Apr 6, 2007
    The younger we start our children out with this the better off our children, and our society will be as a whole. Every child is different. I've processed for the first time with several children from 5 to 65. Start out slow and gentle maybe only letting the child see the processing, not the slaughtering. You will instinctively know.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010
  5. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I grew up helping my folks butcher chickens from a very young age......don't think it scarred me and it certainly didn't make me not want to eat those chickens. We have a beef cow herd and my kids grew up knowing that they could very well end up eating those cute baby calves someday. I think the kids who don't know where their food comes from are the ones missing out on that part of life.
  6. HennyJenny

    HennyJenny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 26, 2009
    Bennington, NE
    My boys (5 & 7) watch but don't help. They would like to but it isn't really "helping" if you know what I mean. The only issue we have had was with a rooster that we had hatched and named. I don't think any of us will forget the "Zippy" dinner (and it wasn't teary so much as just boy goofy - Zippy was pretty mean and he tasted it). Any of the other roosters or the meat birds have not been an issue for them. In fact they have commented that these birds make great fried chicken [​IMG] I have been very matter of fact about the destiny of meat birds and misbehaving roosters though from the very beginning of our chicken keeping. In fact big Copper was following my 5 year old the other day and I heard "go away Copper or you'll be dinner". I have been very careful when butchering not to show when I'm feeling conflicted but to show good respect for the bird.
  7. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    My kids have grown up with our raising our own pigs and steers for the table. We added chickens a couple of years ago and none of it has phased them at all. In fact my 10-year old DS likes to watch [​IMG] They give the pigs and steers meat names and have no problem understanding the difference between pets and meat animals.

    I think it's been good for them to know where their food comes from and the responsibility and care involved in raising meat for the table. They know that our animals have a much better life and a more humane death then anything that comes in a pretty package at the grocery store and that seems to be enough for them. I've never had them refuse to eat anything because it used to be walking around in the field and they've never had any bad dreams about slaughter day or anything like that.

    As long as you are matter a fact about the process and don't start out by giving a big " I know this might be difficult, but" speech your kids will probably just accept it as how things are too. Mine often ask who we're having for dinner instead of what. It can get a little confusing since the meat animals have names like pork chop, sausage, t-bone, and rib eye.

    ETA: They both have picked out a favorite hen that will get to die of natural causes and they also have a favorite roo, but they know if he gets ornery he'll be sent to freezer camp.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010
  8. shaft0463

    shaft0463 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 8, 2010
    This is something I have been contemplating as well. My husband and I are getting ready to adopt an older child, in the 8 to 12 range, and I am a bit worried about how the whole "eating the chickens in the yard" thing will go over.

    But with the younger kids it's a bit easier. They get more used to food coming from the back yard instead of the store. A lot of kids, when asked where eggs or hamburgers or milk come from, will say "the store" before they get to "chicken or cow" as the answer. Says a lot about our culture.
  9. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    Quote:My kids always named them things like that too....t-bone, hamberger, steak......
  10. robk0220

    robk0220 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2010
    Wapwallopen, PA.
    We have 6 kids here, and do our own processing. the youngest 2 (3 and 18 months) don't have a clue as to what is going on. The other 4 (8, 7, and 4 year old twins) are usually out with us "trying" to "help".

    The oldest is the only one who seems to be bothered by it. She just goes off and plays and pays no attention to what we are doing most of the time. The two older boys want to "help" and usually end up selecting who is next from the processing cage. The one we thought was going to have a major issue with the whole thing is the younger twin. Boy, did he surprise us all. He is the shy, meek little one who speaks real soft and is quiet most of the time. The first day, about the 3rd bird in, he's running up screaming "get him! cut him! chop his head off!"

    I dunno. Everyone is differentÂ…
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010

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