There was a thread a couple of weeks ago about whether people took their birds to the processor or if they did it themselves. I thought I would throw in my two cents here. I have processed 9 birds myself; skinned them all. 3 at one time, then my hawk-killed hen, then 5 Cornish Xs this weekend. I've decided 5 is about all I want to do in one sitting; it takes just about 2 hours, from set-up to vaccuum-packed and in the freezer. Right now, I'm working 60 hour weeks and our weather is supposed to turn much colder (perhaps our first freeze) by Saturday. All of that combined to help me make the decision to take my Cornish Xs in to be processed; there were 14 of them. First you should know that while I eat meat, I am very concerned that animals be treated humanely and with respect at all times, and I do my very best to get an immediate kill, whether I'm hunting or processing. Here are my thoughts on the day: I was stressed loading them into the large dog crate I was going to use to take them in. From the squawking they did, you would think I was killing them when I picked them up. Their screeching bothered my hens, who were running back and forth in the chunnel (100' away), completely freaked out. I was stressed by the dirty looks of the commuters in the lanes next to me; I can't image how Tyson drivers must feel. To be honest, even though there was probably 3square feet of empty space in the crate, the chickens all crushed together along one side of the crate, and it looked like I had spent hours torturing them. That in itself stressed me out, too. When I got to the center, the guy grabbed my birds by any body part he could find (wing, foot, head) and literally threw/dropped them into the low, 10-bird crate to take them inside. They had never been handled so harshly, and I was a little irritated that they squawked more when I gently picked them up than when he was throwing them around! He dropped (literally) each bird upside down into a large cone (big enough for a turkey), pulled on the head, and slit the throat. Based on touching their eye, I would guess that they were alive for a good 30-45 seconds (depending on the depth of the slit) after the cut. I hated that. My sadness and guilt just about did me in, but it was too late to turn back. He threw the chicken out of the cone and into a large, colored trashcan (colors to help keep the orders separate), and then the chicken was dropped into a spa (have to inject a little levity somewhere), where it floated in the hot whirlpool for a couple of minutes. Then it was off to the plucker, and out spit a clean carcass. I dragged a different trash can full of carcasses over to the gutting station, and they cleaned the carcasses. Then I dragged the carcasses to the cutting stattion and they guy cut 7 into pieces for me (used a bandsaw) and left 7 whole, except he cut off neck and feet. I loaded the meat off the cutting table into my cooler, and dragged the cooler out to the car. They recommend strongly that you NOT ice the birds for a couple of hours (in fact, 3 workers there told me it was DANGEROUS to ice the birds too quickly), but my Serve-Safe training got the better of me and I iced them as soon as I got the cooler into the trailer. It was 36 minutes from start to finish. Would I do that again? No. When I process my own birds, it is a quiet, contemplative time. There is, ironically, very little violence. Even the two birds on which I first used the dispatcher, that were paralyzed but probably not killed, didn't flap as hard as the birds in the cone. There is almost no blood the way I process them. I treat them, alive and dead, with reverence and appreciation for what they are giving me. At the processor, they also processed turkeys, goats, sheep, and cattle. They process Halal for Islamic clients. Watching the goats and sheep get killed was very difficult for me. The processor only charged $1 a bird, which was a deal financially (they're only about 30 minutes from my house), but today took an emotional and spiritual toll on me I'll not soon forget. So, for me, it's back to processing 5 birds a day, myself. But, I'm glad for the experience, because now I know what is important to me.