So let's just say my hen dies of heat stroke...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by KatGold, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. KatGold

    KatGold Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Seriously, I almost lost a hen yesterday to heat stroke. We saved her. Super for all. But that got me thinking, what happens when it really happens. Heat stroke, neighborhood cat, whatever. When we have an accidental death, what do we do? When is it okay to dress an animal that suddenly died? When is it not okay?

    How do I talk my husband into "doing the deed"? Well, I guess that's a question for another day.

    We have dual purpose birds and we know that we raise the best meat in town (along with other folks of course), but our birds are clean and well cared for. We want to make the transition to "freezer camp" someday, but we've never done it. Our biggest obstical will be our children who see them as pets rather than livestock.

    What advice would you give to a first timers. This is sort of a multi-level question and exploration of lots of roads we have to cross before dressing our first bird, so feel free to jump in wherever you'd like.

    Many thanks,
    Kat
     
  2. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, any time it died of a sudden traumatic injury (and heat stroke would fall into this category too), I see no reason you can't eat it if you process immediately before the meat has time to go bad. I guess if it were killed by some wild animal, you might want to discard, in case the animal had rabies or some other disease or parasites. But, if its something like it accidentally got hit in the head, or it strangled itself in some wire fencing or whatever, I'd process.

    If it dies of disease, then you might want to pass it up and consign to the earth as fertilizer or whatever.

    I almost lost one of my tom turkeys in April to heat stroke. We had been cold up to then, and a warm front went through in the morning on April 10th. Temp jumped from the 40s to the upper 80s, and I hadn't yet taken off the winterization on the run. I was in process of doing that, which in and of itself was stressing them out because they're Royal Palm crosses so kind of nervous anyway. Between the stress and the heat, I guess it was too much, and he suddenly flipped over and started having a seizure. I had the garden hose there, so I dragged him out, spread his wings open, and hosed him down for about 5 minutes. He looked really bad for a couple of days, droopy wings and weak, but he recovered.

    However, I was prepared to get the pot boiling if he had died. I wasn't going to let a whole turkey go without getting something out of it.
     
  3. itsy

    itsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Kat - I likely wouldn't even process if it just dies of it's own accord but many on here do. I think it's a personal choice. If another animal got to it first - I certainly wouldn't eat it.

    What's the size or age of your birds? The best advice I can give is "just do it." I know you want to convince your hubby, but you could certainly do one by yourself to start! [​IMG] There's likely no way I'll ever be able to convince the bf to help me. You can read about my recent first processing here. There is a graphic guts photo in the post.

    Believe me. If I CAN DO IT - YOU can do it!!! If you knew me - you'd not take me for "the type" who could kill a bird and dress it, much less do it on my own. So I KNOW you can do it! [​IMG]
     
  4. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    I'll eat an animal that dies of accident if I see it die. If I go out and it's dead, and I don't have any idea how long, then it might or might not be processed into cooked dog food. A chicken would be thrown away, but something like a sheep or pig, I'd be less likely to automatically throw it out.

    As far as I know, you can't get rabies by eating the virus, so that isn't a big worry. Seriously, when I worked in Animal control, we had two men who ate a raccoon, and afterwards decided to bring the head in for testing. Yup, rabies. Those two men were fine, no health issues over it. Maybe they were both exceptionally lucky?

    Birds don't get rabies, so not even an issue with a hawk kill.

    Heat stroke? The meat will spoil quickly in the heat with the guts still in it. If you see it die and get it processed, fine. If you don't know how long it has been dead, throw it out.
     
  5. Two Creeks Farm

    Two Creeks Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lost two to heat, 70 one day, 105 the next. Saw the one taking its last breaths and processed, rested it and mmm mmm good! The other we figure had been dead for about an hour, way to long in those temps to trust.....dogs liked it however.

    Toughen up, if you are raising them you need to be ready to get the job done. You either raise pets or food......
     
  6. KatGold

    KatGold Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow! Great responses folks! I forgot to subscribe to my own post and thought I didn't get any answers. I was so pleased to click on my own post and find all this.

    I am raising food rather than pets. That's always been the plan. Whenever I'd ask the DH if he thought he could kill and dress them, he's smile and say "they look tasty already!" Now, somehow, he has no memory of all those chats. Grrrr.... The big problem with me doing it is that my girls are young and we homeschool and they are rarely away from me for more than 10 minutes.

    Itsy, I will check your post. I am a softy, but I'm also passionate about what I consume and feed my family. They are not pets in my mind, but I've never even gutted a fish. The biggest problem will be my daughters. Even though we've talked about eating them, they cannot warm up to it. They name them within seconds and love them like crazy. I love how much my children have grown by having this experience and I don't want to traumatize them. Further, we have at least two children on our block who have turned vegetarian because "eating meat is mean." I'm not ready to deal with that issue in the house. They can go veg later if they want, but I don't want our family meals to turn into "Mommy's mean look at her plate!"

    So, I guess if a chicken dies before my eyes of heat stroke, it will be obvious. I won't worry too much questions whether heat stroke or disease if it's 110 and one keels over. Other then that, I'll just let it go back to the earth.

    And sometime, before we just take one with intention, I will check view some websites and books.

    Thanks for everything you've said here. It is so helpful. I can't imagine having made the transition to having chickens without this incredible body of knowledge available.
     
  7. KatGold

    KatGold Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I meant to answer this. They are only 1 year old now. I'm kind of thinking of processing them after the second molt since that's when their laying will greatly decrease as I understand it. When is the best time to process? And, is there an age beyond which we ought not process?

    Thanks.
     
  8. itsy

    itsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What type of chickens are they? How many of them do you have?
     
  9. KatGold

    KatGold Chillin' With My Peeps

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    3 Plymouth Barred Rocks, 2 Americaunas, 2 Buff Orphingtons, and 1 Cuckoo Maran = 1 year

    4 Blue Maran's (one looks suspiciously like a roo, but he has not yet crowed) = 2.5 months


    If I am lucky enough to end up with a crowless roo, you know I'm going to keep him forever and hatch out my own Blue Marans for evermore!
     
  10. itsy

    itsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm pretty new to the whole chicken thing. We have about 17 pullets (on the verge of laying eggs) and one unexpected New Hampshire Red roo. I was under the impression that they'd be laying eggs until they were a few years old?

    If so - I wouldn't be processing any of them any time soon.

    I could understand getting attached to a laying bird that you and your kids have been picking up and loving. I do also understand that at some point - when egg production slows or ceases - people eat those birds.

    After butchering and trying to eat that three year old hen I was telling you about - I'd rather just raise meat designated birds that I will process at 8 weeks. There wasn't much meat on the old girl. It seems like something I may do in the future when my hens completely stop laying, but until then, I'm going to still enjoy the eggs!

    The heat stroke issue is something completely different on the other hand. There are a couple other threads going on in different sections about what to do to keep yer birds cool. I'll have to look into that myself because it's getting hotter and hotter here. We decided to free range most of our pullets, and they spend much time under one particular tree in the yard that has branches that come to the ground.

    Send me a Blue Maran!
     

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