The Deed - How to come to terms

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Sweetened, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. Sweetened

    Sweetened Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2010
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Hi everyone.

    Everyone has been so helpful and tolerant of my questions, so forgive me but I have more to ask!

    I'm planning to have my very first flock next year, and I would like to be able to have some meat and some layer birds in order to do a cull later in the season.

    The only things I've ever killed are spiders. I've given CPR to a mouse and a chipmunk, rescued countless cats and dogs, some with graphic injuries and I have done everything in my power not to ever have to put one down myself. I love animals and I know I will love my chickens and that they will die loved, but how do I come to terms with this?

    Part of the reason I want to do this is because I believe people have lost a connection to their food that we had until only 150 - 200 years ago. Meat and vegetables just appear in freezers and fridges and most people are okay with that, but I'm just not. I'm not religious, I'm spiritual, and ritual is something that I have concerning many things. When I found a freshly run-over fox pup less than 1km from my home, I brought him home and gave him a burial because I just couldn't bear it.

    I suppose what I'm asking, other than how to come to terms with your first, second, third (etc.) kills, is do you have a ritual at all to make your birds feel comfortable? Do you still fight guilt, or have you never had any and I'm just not rational? Have you been able to find peace in the fact that the bird died, not as a waste and inhumanely, but as a cared for animal that had a decent/great life?

    I'm sure a couple people will tell me I'm just not up to it or maybe I shouldn't do it because I seem emotionally brittle. I'm compassionate, not brittle. I've located a butcher I trust (person I work with), incase I don't have the stomach for it, but I want to try, and I know to try I must do it with conviction, for the sake of the bird.

    I hope this makes sense and thank you for your answers.
  2. DanIndiana

    DanIndiana Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 27, 2010
    Valparaiso, Indiana
    I'm just reposting this from another response; not sure if it will help.

    I've only processed one batch of 8 Cornish X, and am now raising a batch of heritage roosters to compare for meat. The processing was definitely challenging my only time. After the first bird I was pretty grossed out. By the second, I just wanted to get it over with and never do it again. Then it got OK in the middle, and by the end I was already thinking about what my next batch would be and trying to improve my technique. I really felt like I accomplished something at the end. I felt more capable. I had a friend who had done it before help me. The biggest thing was having someone there reassuring me that it wasn't a big deal, and helping me not freak out about it. Remember that. No matter how weird it feels, you'll get through it and feel good about yourself at the end. It's definitely a worthwhile life experience.
  3. Amethyste

    Amethyste For Love of Boo...

    I have not killed any of my birds for food as of yet. They are all pets atm. However, I have had to cull a few chicks as well as a few hens over the years.

    The first time for me was the hardest. I cried for days knowing it was coming and it had to be done, but I knew that if I wanted to be able to raise meat chickens I had to go all the way and actually take a life, and not shirk that responsibility.

    She was a sweet little chickie, about 10 weeks old. She had a very small cross beak when I got her, and I was hoping that it would not be getting worse. It did [​IMG] It was horrible...she couldn't eat, and there were other health issues as well...just an all around sickly, malformed chick. I decided that it was better to put her down before it got even worse for her, so I read up and found out what I needed to do.

    I couldn't bear to suffocate her with the Co2 or freeze her like some people suggested. I believe that if at all possible I needed to take full responsibility and not run away and leave her alone.

    I know its silly what I did, but this made it easier for me. I took her from the pen and held her up to all the others so they could see her, and told the flock that she was sick and wasn't going to have a good life. They all came over by me and looked at her in my hands and bokked a bit. I told them all that I was raised to take responsibility for my animals, and that meant making sure that they ahd the best care I could give them throughout their life, and making sure that their death was as easy and gentle as possible.

    I took her out of the pen out of sight of the others and sat down with her with a blanket over my lap and held her for a bit in my hands and talked to her. She was pretty calm about it all tbh. I stroked her head and told her that she wouldn't feel anything and that she would be a happy healthy girl on the other side. I stroked her head with my fingers for a min or two to get her used to it, then dislocated her neck in one snap.

    I knew what was coming, and I still cried [​IMG] But I know I did the right thing, and did in a way I could deal with it. She didn't suffer and that was the most important thing to me. Since then, I do it pretty much the same way....I talk to the bird, and explain to it why this needed to be done, and just try to calm it and do the deed quickly. It does get a little easier, and I am able to not cry as much as I did but I still feel bad. But its a personal responsibility. My husband won't do it, and it's only us. I am the only one able to do it to and for our girls, and that is part of being a responsible pet owner and human being.

    When we get meaties (chicken/duck/geese/pigeon/rabbits etc) like I want to get, I know it will be hard cos it will be just me processing them. My husband cannot do it, he has tried and I won't force him to do anything he just can't do like that. But I have done it already and they won't be beloved pets. They are being raised for a purpose, and when it is their time to go, they will have had a better life than the grocery chickens ever had and a quick humane death with a thank you to the spirit of the bird who gave their life to feed me and mine.
  4. ReikiStar

    ReikiStar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Taking this task seriously and honoring the birds whose lives with be lost to feed you is not irrational. Some people just don't feel or think as deeply about animals and their considerations as you do. We won't eat our birds, but we've had to cull one, another that had a cross beak which was too severe (mind you, we have another cross beak bird who wasn't as bad and is doing just we wanted to give everyone a chance). We mourned our sweet little Evy for weeks. But knew we did it because we cared enough about her to not let her suffer. Whether you'll be ok with culling your birds for consumption is something you won't know until you've done it. I hope others who feel the way you do about animals will respond and not the folks don't feel as deeply as you do, since their advice won't reach you the same way.

    Wishing you peace with which ever decision you make.
  5. ThomsonCentennialFarm

    ThomsonCentennialFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2011
    Holliday, Missouri
    If it helps, remember and pray Psalm 8 before it comes time to butcher and be thankful to God.

    For the leader; “upon the gittith.” A psalm of David.
    O LORD, our Lord,
    how awesome is your name through all the earth!
    I will sing of your majesty above the heavens
    with the mouths of babes and infants.
    You have established a bulwark against your foes,
    to silence enemy and avenger.
    When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and stars that you set in place—
    What is man that you are mindful of him,
    and a son of man that you care for him?
    Yet you have made him little less than a god,
    crowned him with glory and honor.
    You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
    put all things at his feet:
    All sheep and oxen,
    even the beasts of the field,
    The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,
    and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
    O LORD, our Lord,
    how awesome is your name through all the earth!
  6. GeeJay

    GeeJay Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 14, 2011
    Horton, MI
    I/we just raised our first batch of meaties(only chickens we have ever had), I too worried I would not be able to do it. But I took good care of them; fed, watered, gave treats, talked to them! I purposely did not name or play any favorites, but there were a few pullets that would greet me every time I went to check on them in their tractor out by the garden. When the day was 4 of us, each doing a different job...and I got through fine.
    No ritual, just doing the job for the freezer, and to share with my family.

    So I have started the next batch since I survived the first.

    I do care about the animals, but know that I am raising them for food for our family. I am not a hunter, and don't really like fishing either-sitting in the boat is fun though! [​IMG] I would prefer to be a vegetarian, but we eat the chickens I raised, and the fish my hubby catches, and the venison he brings home once every couple years. I am concerned about the state of the economy, and they way people eat without thinking about where the food actually comes from or how the animals or veggies were treated. That is the reason I started raising chickens, to get closer to the way things used to be.

    Next year We will expand and have layers, and maybe I wont need to do the meaties...we will see!

    I hope the best for you and your decision. But from a newbie...I think you can do it, if I can!
  7. ailurophile23

    ailurophile23 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 21, 2010
    For what it is worth, I can't even kill spiders. And while I haven't yet killed a chicken, I have helped my husband process both deer and chicken. For me, once they are dead, the processing, while not easy, is at least possible and it is an interesting anatomy lesson. I think the best thing to do is to read up on methods and chose the one that you feel most comfortable with. After that, add as much ceremony as you need - if it helps you be calm while doing the deed, it will be easier on the birds as well. I think it is always good to express your thanks for the sacrifice of their lives for the food that will feed you and your family. I always say a few silent words to the animals as the processing begins. To me, it is all part of becoming more connected to our food supply and understanding what we are doing - and it is inherently emotional. May you find the peace you need to do this. ~Laura
  8. GhostRider65

    GhostRider65 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2011
    NE Wisconsin
    Hi Sweetened,
    My name is Kim and I'm just like you, I have made myself try to do the things that must be done when that time has come, with all the animals I have ever owned and many who God just put in my path for me to look after.
    I love all animals and have saved as many as I could over the years, always crying my eyes out if I lost them. I've had to put down my favorite dog, an old gelding horse who I rescued from slaughter. and 2 pigs we raised to butcher, and just this last 2 weeks 10 roo's I raised this year from chicks, The morning of butcher day a baby sparrow my darn dog grabbed and broke it's leg and had a bite mark through it's side, it was hurting so I had to put it down, there's been many others and it would take several pages to recount them all so I will just try to stay to recent events.
    I tried to keep our purpose in mind at all times with them pigs and chickens though it didn't make it any easier for me, they were even named Sausage and Bacon, chicken and dumplings to help remind me not to make them into pets, because at some point we wanted to eat them and actually know what we were eating.
    Well try as might I loved them crazy pigs and chickens even my meany roosters who were called White Devil 1 and White Devil 2, because they beat up every one, the other roo's the hens not people though.
    When we butchered I caught the roo easiest to catch, which most came right up to me, I didn't expect them to be so friendly to people....that made it even harder.
    I picked em up and petted and held them, said goodbye and told them we needed to eat and I couldn't feed them all, nor did I have a separate place to keep them all. I wished them well on their journey and told them to find lots of hens in heaven to be there flock. I thanked them for there life, and held them while my husband did the deed, until they were gone and quiet. I didn't cry at first just choked up a bit with the very friendly ones, but later I did when I was alone. and now describing it for you.
    I've always had this great connection to animals, dogs that hate everyone love me, horses that can't be handled soon are listening and being riden by me, standoffish cats love me, and I swear needle me on purpose just because they can. I rescued a wild deer young nubbin buck who got so freaked out when I blew the horn at him he ran right into the side of my car and almost killed himself, I turned around and pointed the lights at him so I could see, and gently felt his entire body checking for breaks, found only a bruise and some missing hair and stayed with him until he was ok to get up and leave, which the weird thing is he didn't really leave like run away, he walked a couple paces away and just looked at me for a minute or two then left at a walk. My husband says my heart is so big animals can feel it. Maybe that's the case or maybe it's just a gift God gave me.
    Strange thing is we hunt and fish, just about every kind of critter God made, I have little problem with killing and butchering wild animals, though I do always thank them for there gift of life. It just isn't like the animals you raise yourself, It feels more like betrayal, because you have cared for them there entire life protected them from predators, other chickens the dogs, until the day of there death, and you actually had the control to change there fate, but didn't. So it hurts a great deal. It will always make me very sad to butcher what we raise, but it's a fact of life I must live with if we want animals that are not polluted with chemicals, antibiotics, ect. to eat.
    So not sure if my post will help you, but it did get a little easier, the second time around, see we did 5 chickens one day then got interrupted by my son and grandson, so did the others a week later on hubbies day off. It still hurt , but I did not cry that time. So I'm praying over time and with pratice it will get easier, and less painful. I hope that when your time comes Gods give you strength to do what must be done with minimal pain and suffering. Hugz kim
  9. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    I also processed my first Cornish X a few months ago. I wanted to be able to try it, after reading so many threads here, but just didnt know if I could. When Tractor Supply had Cornish peeps for sale, i just took the plunge, figuring they are such the type of bird that if you get them you HAVE to process, or have them done, no other choice. Theres no "well, Ill just let them live and lay eggs". Not with those birds. The first one was really hard, but I did it. Second one I really really didnt want to do, but I did it. After processing both of them, seeing that beautiful carcass, knowing where it came from, and most importantly, knowing those birds had a good chicken life, and just went from their pen to lopping their head off, and they didnt even have time to stress out, get gathered up in huge groups, thrown in crates, trucked who knows how far, slaughtered, bagged, and shipped to a supermarket. None of all that. And after doing them, it really was such a great feeling knowing exactly what went into those birds, that they had a chicken life out in the sun, eating bugs and hanging out with their buds. Just knowing the good life they had helped justify it to me, and seeing those huge plump chicken breasts was very satisfying. I hope I dont have to buy supermarket chicken ever again.
  10. Sweetened

    Sweetened Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2010
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Everyone's replies have all been very helpful. I am most genuinely pleased that I'm not the only one who talks to the animals that happen into my life.

    I am very grateful for every ones replies, and I'm sorry to hear about the losses some of you have suffered that weren't from your original plans. I became tear-jerked reading through these.

    Thanks for sharing the experiences.

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