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Raising without too much attachment?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by mrstillery09, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. mrstillery09

    mrstillery09 In the Brooder

    Feb 9, 2012
    Kansas City, Missouri
    In an effort to become more sustainable and know where our food comes from, my husband and I have decided to get chickens. I plan on getting some for laying, and some cornish cross for meat birds. I have never actually slaughtered anything before. Nor has my husband. However my dad has slaughtered cows, pigs, and chickens, so I know he'll help guide us through it all. I'll be the one in charge of taking care of the chickens though. What are your tips for raising chickens, without getting overly attached? One of the main reasons I am going with the cornish cross at this time is because I know it's best if they are slaughtered sooner rather than later. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    (Just to add, we haven't bought any chickens yet, but I'm trying to be as prepared as possible!)

  2. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009
    First: Welcome to BYC.

    May I suggest you start out with a laying flock, THEN work on the meat birds? Meaties can be hard for the newbie chicken mom to raise, as they need special care.

    As for not getting attached, it is really about your personality. I raised meaties, and loved them all the way up to that last minute. Did I feel bad? YUP. I feel bad when I process my regular roos as well. BUT, I know that my chickens are spoiled rotten from day one to processing. For me, it isn't about being attached, but being sure that what I am doing is the right thing for myself, my family, and the bird itself.
  3. peterlund

    peterlund Songster

    Jan 29, 2010
    MA Cranberry Country
    You will WANT to process the Cornish X and after week 4 you wont see them as cute and fluffy.... (like a layer flock). They are usually such voracious eaters that they will grow and eat and poop so much the day of harvest will be joyful. I agree that raising a batch of layers first is a good idea... many times there is a rooster or two in there that can spark your meat bird fever. As for slaughter,,,, not really a big deal after the first one. EVERY harvest starts with a tug to the heart... It gets easier. Do what you feel is comfortable for you.
  4. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    I'm lucky to have grown up in an ag community where slaughtering animals was normal and commonplace. We got pigs and cows from our neighbors, processed our own chickens - we usually knew the face of the critter that was our dinner. I always considered it normal - livestock was raised with a purpose, and you'd better give it good care whether it was a chicken or cow, knowing you would be eventually killing it for food (otherwise you'd get whupped).

    I know now that isn't how everyone else has grown up, and I know not everyone can understand at first how someone can care for a creature, raise it, and then "kill" it for food.

    When you get you meaties, just pound it in your head - you are a "farmer" now. You now have "livestock", not pets. Just like growing a garden, you are growing food for your family. They just happen to be more alive than a tomato plant, but in the end, they are food. The better care you give them, the better food they will give. Fresh air, fresh water, good food will all allow them to grow into a good product. Cornish X are bred for a purpose, and that purpose is meat, and the better the care you give them, the better the meat will be.

    When it comes time to process, remind yourself over and over - this is what you raised them for. You can't eat a living chicken for dinner - your meat must be processed. Taking the BIG leap yourself to process is a hard one for many folks, but it's a rewarding one - once done, you've proven that you can complete the cycle of life and be able to "make" food for your family rather than relying on a store. At first, if you're not used to it, it's hard to take a living creature and transform it into food. It's a skill that requires resolve and backbone - there isn't any turning back. It's ok to feel bad at first - we're conditioned that way as a society to not want to take a life. It will get better through. It's not ideal to be completely blank about the process - for me, I don't feel "bad", I feel thankful for the food and the ability to provide good meat for my family. I'm thankful for each critter I process and I always mentally send it my gratitude for feeding my family. Each animal I kill - from a deer to a chicken, is important to me, and I'm grateful.


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