Well that was hard

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Hinotori, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. Hinotori

    Hinotori Silver Feathers Premium Member

    Apr 27, 2011
    Graham, WA
    Well I processed my first bird today.

    I had a 7 month old silkie cockerel who was getting more and more aggressive. Today was the last straw for him. I prepped up an area and heated my water. That was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I know it was needed. I've been told it gets easier. I used the cleaver and a block. It was the only way I could be sure to do it right and instant. The rest of the birds are business as usual. The other male he slept with is up with the girls and looks happy about that.

    It was the dickens gutting him out. Lots of little connective bits. Is that normal for an older male? Mom only remembers processing 3-4 month olds growing up so she had no ideas for me.

  2. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Songster

    Jun 21, 2011
    Waldo County, Maine
    The act itself gets easier with repetition. The thought/pause beforehand does not. And it's a good spot to take pause. I've said it enough recently around here that it may seem stale or trite, but that pause is what sets us apart from the beasts of the field, and is always appropriate.

    As the mechanics of it go . . . an older bird can be harder to gut out than a relative youngster. It's just a matter of more/older/stronger-with-age connective tissue between the gut and ribs.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
  3. Mamma_Duck04

    Mamma_Duck04 Chirping

    Apr 27, 2011
    Crazyville, VA
    I most certainly agree. I had to cull a hen when she turned VERY aggressive to the flock (they were adoptees from a friend, came as a pair of hens, all got along well for over a month, then total chaos to the point all of my original girls were scared if she as much as flinched). It was very very hard because my home has always been a 'home forever' to my beloveds & as nasty as she was, I'd grown quite fond of her. We had a talk just by ourselves & my heart confirmed this was the right thing to do- didn't make ANY of it easier though!!- so i went about getting things set up. My husband's a hunter, but couldn't commit to doing this for me (btw, I'm a saver, not a taker). But I knew I would do it right, with much love, & with much gratefulness for the fact she would provide our family a meal & not go to waste.

    So there was a long pause & some shaking on my part, then I did it & it was over. She was unusually peaceful & calm which made things easier for us both IMO (NOT like her at all). Then I came in to wash my hands & catch my breath & just started breaking down. So I called my mom [​IMG] & she listened to me cry & vent & cuss. After regaining my composure, she was bled out (I fully removed the head when I did it) so I went back & brought her in & proceeded to clean her up. There was a lot of connective tissue that I wasn't quite expecting (she was 6mo), but I knew where all the parts were & was able to get to everything fairly quickly.

    But I fully know that the difficulty I had making the decision & doing the deed itself was because I'd welcomed her in to my flock of girls, not as a meatie. I'm actually planning to do a small group of meaties early next year & really do think it'll be 'easier' in that I know they're meat, they won't be here long (but they will be here though their cute baby stage lol) & I intend to not turn them into 'pets' as I have with my ladies. I know it'll still suck to do the deed, but they'll have a very good & caring home while they're here & a quick & humane end.
  4. Hinotori

    Hinotori Silver Feathers Premium Member

    Apr 27, 2011
    Graham, WA
    The only thing going through my head was "make it quick" like a mantra. He had a good life.

    If we have boys among these new chicks, I'll do them much earlier.

    Make my hubby help next time. An extra pair of hands would have been nice for a short break. He's just working to long of hours right now.

    People here understand what it's like. Friend of mine is upset at me, but she doesn't have issues eating store chicken. Tried to explain to her. Don't think she fullly comprehends that stores don't make those shrink wrapped pieces
  5. PegramPoultryProprietor

    PegramPoultryProprietor In the Brooder

    May 21, 2010
    I can see why it could be hard for some. Fortunately I have dressed wild game so it came easy to me. Also, the ones we are eating have been designated as such since they arrived; I would probably feel bad if it was one of my breeders or layers. I've gotten to know them too well.
  6. I think it's much harder to cull a hen than to kill a meatie. It's just a different mindset for me. Even my banty roosters, I simply don't cull them. I find them a good home, instead.
  7. Bucky182

    Bucky182 Songster

    Dec 1, 2009
    I don't know call me crazy but it is not hard for me, I see them for what they are part of the circle of life. I gave them a good life, feed water and shelter and protection now as a renewable resource they must give me life. God gave us dominion over all animals, and as such we are to take proper care of those we have chosen to raise and realize they are a gift and a renewable resource. Do you feel bad when you peel a potato or cook a carrot? Not at all does it bother you to know scientist have proven they feel pain? Everything relies on something else to survive and we all need each other.

    Understand your place in the lifecycle and respect it and respect those who give you life. A perfect balance and a perfect circle. We as Americans and as "Moderen people" have grown so far from our roots we no longer understand or respect where we came from. Please don't think I am looking down at you I am just saying this is how it is and respect it. Most Americans go to a store buy meat and never think that meat came from some living animal who is no longer alive. These same people will tell you how industry farming is wrong yet are 100% relient on it, allot will tell you that hunting is wrong. (With no knowledge of management of wildlife and while eating meat) Those who don't eat meat simply because it is cruel or "inhuman" think nothing of skinning a potato or killing a carrot or writing on paper that is made from the flesh of a tree..........

    So I guess what I am saying is be proud, you are not a hippocrite, you are fulling your place in Gods life cycle and you are doing it with respect and compasion and have not passed the buck to someone or some business to do it for you and to pretend it does not happen [​IMG]

  8. draye

    draye Crowing

    Nov 30, 2010

    I buthchered 5 last night, and if it not raining when I get home this afternoon about 5 more is going in the freezer. I have about 35 to 40 to get butchered between now and Saturday.
  9. Hinotori

    Hinotori Silver Feathers Premium Member

    Apr 27, 2011
    Graham, WA
    I'd seen lots of chicken processing when I was younger, but not killed them myself. Mom was very encouraging and told me stories about all the chickens they did. This probably just was a harder one because I put so much time into him trying to get him to be nice.

    I didn't realize how much issues he was causing though. It's much calmer in the flock this morning. The other cockerel was even relaxed enough to take a treat from me which he hasn't done for a few months. Didn't eat it, but he's like that. Get a treat, use it to woo the girls. This guy even feeds the chicks.

    Well the bad cockerel will serve his new purpose as some soup soon. I have to make some fresh noodles for it. Since it's the first bird, everything I use for the soup I'll try to have made or grown myself. I think that would be fitting.

    Thankyou all for just letting me write about it. That helps so much.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  10. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Songster

    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    Quote:This is a great way to put it. I worked at a zoo a while back, and being in Dallas, livestock shows are a BIG deal. We had the prize winning steer at the zoo for a while, and I will never forget watching a little boy walk by with his mother. He says "look mom! A cow!". The mother turns to him and says "no, honey, that's a hippo". we have become so detached from our food, and our very nature. What you did is commendable, and you are so brave for doing it. I have never processed one of my chickens, and so I cannot even imagine how hard it was. Just remember. The kindness you showed him by allowing him to BE a chicken for the time you did (unlike the poor birds that end up in our grocery stores) is a far greater gift than most members of his species ever dream of.

    By the way, in chinese culture, silkies are a delacacy, and touted to provide tons of health benifits. They are the most expensive meat chicken in China, and they are stated to be more flavorful as well.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011

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