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That last overnight meal

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Ahab, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. Ahab

    Ahab Songster

    Jun 28, 2010
    When we isolate a few birds to be killed (I'm thinking ducks, which are uber-flock animals, but chickens, turkeys, and geese probably qualify, too), and lock them up in isolation with water but no food until slaughter-time in the morning, are we doing this for them? Or for us?

    They hate being deprived of food, and the companionship of their flock-mates, and being stuck away in some isolation-chamber made from a dog crate, thinking about, you know: what happens next. Not that they know specifically, unless you're so incautious and uncaring as to keep the chopping block and processing area in full view of the rest of the flock. But still. They know something's up.

    We, in return, get alimentary canals less full of ewwwww than we otherwise might, which makes processing a bit faster and possibly more sanitary, depending on how good you are with a knife. In return for accusing looks from the condemned when we come to do the deed.

    My grandmother wanted to eat a chicken, she'd walk around her chicken yard looking them all over, then scoop up The Chosen, her decision based on its value to the flock (superfluous young roosters didn't last long in fried chicken season) and the recipe in mind (old hens past their prime got their futures measured against how long it had been since Grandpa had chicken and dumplings), and before the chicken had time to contemplate its fate, or commiserate with its companions about the essential unfairness of it all, its head was off with the feathers right behind it. It was cooking long before rigor set in.

    This kind of reminds me of why I hunt: Squirrels and rabbits and partridge and deer are just walking along, minding their own business, and the next instant, with no foreshadowing or warning, they have ceased to be. They have become meat.

    Yet our domestic animals get an overnight incarceration to contemplate their fate and their hunger.

    So, does anyone these days just perform an impromptu execution as discreetly as possible, and deal with the oozy entrails in processing--which is, of course, exactly what we do with all our wild ducks and birds and deer and the like? And not bother with the overnight incarceration?

    Are their drawbacks I'm missing?

    I tend to kill no more than two or three at a time. Beyond that, it gets like work.

  2. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    You don't have to remove their feed. If you don't mind dealing with full crops, then by all means keep them with the flock until it's time. Even withholding food for 12 hours won't empty their intestines. All it does is give you an empty crop.
  3. KenK

    KenK Songster

    Jan 23, 2011
    I like to get them off the roost before they fly down in the morning.

    My birds won't let you just pick them up so it's either that or chase them around with a fish net. Seems easier and less traumatic to me.

    Crops are mostly empty.
  4. Ahab

    Ahab Songster

    Jun 28, 2010
    Thanks. Ducks don't roost, so catching them is more a herding issue ending with a selective swoop by a smelt net. But it's good to know the only real difference between slaughter on the spot (more or less; certainly out of sight, earshot, and smell of the flock) and slaughter after a night in stir is the contents of the crop--which I've never found much of a problem with partridge or wild ducks.

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