Took chickens to butcher for first time yesterday

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Wednesday, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. Wednesday

    Wednesday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A friend could not eat 10 of her hens that stopped laying so I said I would take them to the butcher because I hate waste. I was vegetarian for 4 years and never got egg layers for meat. I do eat humanely raised meat and wild caught game now so I felt hypocritical buying meat at the store but wasting free range chickens from a friend. The irony is that I could not bring myself to process a non laying hen of my own. A friend rehomed her the night before the butcher. It was intense taking 10 living creatures to the butcher and staying to watch the process. We had chicken and dumplings tonight and I was grateful for the sacrifice. Do any of you have problems butchering your own birds. I admit I don't think I am strong enough to process my own girls when they stop laying.
     
  2. dpenning

    dpenning Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    I don't have birds yet but have been reading the forum for the day when I can. I've wondered how people find places that will process live birds. I'm not entirely sure I could do it myself but have done google searches to try and find local places that will process poultry but so far no luck. How did you find a place to take the birds?
     
  3. Wednesday

    Wednesday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It wasn't very easy to find a place that does live birds. A neighbor mentioned that there was a halal butcher that processed live birds. I was lucky to find a clean place that did a great job for 4 dollars a bird. They did 10 birds in 30 minutes. I would google animal processors in your area. Call Halal grocery stores and restaurants in your area also and ask if they know anyone. Birds have to be brought in alive in Halal butcher shops per their religion. Good luck! You will love having chickens once you get them.
     
  4. dpenning

    dpenning Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Thanks, that is a great tip!
     
  5. katbriar

    katbriar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Check out the processing day support group thread. Lots of helpful posts and people with the same ideas, concerns, feelings. They're very open about learning and sharing.
     
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  6. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello Wednesday! I am an urban hobby farmer with just a few hens. A true city girl, I had no experience with farm animals or growing my own food when I started on this adventure but knew I was very interested in learning all about it.

    Because I am only allowed a very few number of hens in my area what do with my non-laying birds is definitely an issue. I am not interested in just having pet birds. After a lot of thought and research I decided to process my first bird last year. (I have done 2 now and plan on continuing as my birds age out) I told my wife going into it that this was either going to make me a vegetarian or a farmer so watch out. I knew that it was not going to be easy and that it would effect me.

    Farmer it is. Honestly, it could really have gone either way and the experience did make me think A LOT about the food I eat in a very profound way. I completely understand that it is not something everyone feels comfortable doing but it is something I personally recommend to anyone who eats meat -- even if it just one time.

    It was both harder and easier than I expected. It was hard. With the exception of the occasional bathroom spider, I had never killed anything and I do name my birds and talk to them and had had this bird for more than a year. I was very scared of doing something wrong and causing trauma or pain and it took me a long time to work up the nerve. It was intense and sad and I did tear up. (both times and I know it will likely happen the next time too)

    The actual physical act and process was easier than I thought and it was sort of surprising how quickly my bird went from living thing to looking like regular food -- I know that sounds sort of stupid but I am not sure how else to explain it. I think for a lot of people there is a really big gap between "animal" and "food" because we only ever eat packaged, pretty, neat meat from bright commercial stores. The connection between what we eat and the living thing that it was is very abstract. When you process your own animal with your own hands it becomes something very real and tangible. I am glad I did it. I feel like I learned a lot of respect. I hope that makes sense.

    I respect everyone choice to do or not do this. For me, I choose to do it for a number of reasons. Health (my own and the birds), sustainability and as odd as it may seem a certain zen. I feel no less responsible for the deaths of the animals I buy versus the ones I have killed myself and at the very least I can ensure a good life, a clean, stress-free death and a respectful end with no waste. I also feel very grateful.

    Good luck on your chicken journey! If you decide you want to try it in the future PM me and I can send you a really good video.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  7. Wednesday

    Wednesday Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What an awesome post. Thank you. I know exactly what you mean from living creature to food. It was strange to be so stressed and anxious when I took the birds to the butcher. They let me stay and watch even though I wasn't expecting that. I am grateful I did. I think it should be part of the deal if you do eat meat instead of pretending meat comes from a styrofoam tray at the grocery store. Once the birds were killed, it was easy for me to watch the process of breaking them down into food. I was fascinated when they found both eggs and unformed eggs that had come from the oviduct and slid into the cavity. It reminds me that when you give medication, egg production is tainted for however many eggs are in there. The Hispanic ladies who processed the birds were happy to keep the feet and the egg yolks. I was grateful nothing was wasted. I am impressed and humbled by anyone that can see the process through and not waste an animal. I also respect people that choose not to eat meat. Thanks for offering to send the video. I'll let you know when I get the courage to do what you have done.
     
  8. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! That is actually the other benefit I found from breaking down my own bird - i feel like I learned a lot of chicken biology. Seeing the eggs "in production" inside her, seeing exactly where her crop is and how it works, actually seeing the gizzard and all the little rocks. It was incredibly interesting and better than any textbook anatomy drawing. I feel like I can actually better assess my living birds health needs at this point. It is sort of a side education that I did not expect.
     
  9. hipchef99

    hipchef99 Out Of The Brooder

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    I tell my little girl, our animals depend on use for food, shelter and safety. It's up to us to make sure they have a good clean happy life. We will be there in the beginning and at the end. Who, other than my hand, would I want to comfort her in the end..................Bill
     
  10. oceanfronter

    oceanfronter New Egg

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    I tell my birds they're going on holiday - memories of 'Chicken Run'. Can anyone tell me anything about feed for meat birds? The butcher said that their organs were enlarged? They were raised, as all my meat birds, on started, then grower, scratch, cracked corn and what they forage off the land..........may not be your department, but, hoping someone in the know picks up. Need to know for next year's batch. Thanks
     

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