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We just can't do it.... We can't kill/process our own

 
Gary Lewis
Posts: 132
Location: Maine, USA
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I don't know why we have an issue with this...but after watching many videos on how to humanly kill and then process a chicken...and doing loads of ready on the process, we have decided that we just cant do it ourselves. Maybe it is that we just become too close to our girls...they really do become pets more than livestock.

We are scared of all the 'stuff' that is being pumped into store bought chicken...and know we want to avoid all of that....but still we can't do the 'deed'.

Are we alone on this? Are we just failed farmers?

 
Clifford Reinke
Posts: 124
Location: Puget Sound
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You can't kill them yourself, or you can't let anybody kill them? If you could let them be killed, maybe you could work out a trade with someone a little less squeamish?
 
Gary Lewis
Posts: 132
Location: Maine, USA
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We just can't do it ourselves........

I hope we can find a place closeby who will process them for us.
 
Jay Green
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Try the Amish in your area, if any. Some charge very reasonable prices. You could advertise for someone to help...I know if someone in my area posted an ad, I'd come and show them how, walk them through it, etc.

There are many just like you and some have come up with creative solutions...like doing their neighbor's birds, while the neighbor does theirs. That way, you aren't killing a bird you've come to know and neither are they.

BUT...with a view towards sustainable husbandry practices, it is a valuable skill to learn and everyone who is serious about farming or raising animals has to come to it sooner or later. When you have a tough job to do, it's best just to pull up yer pants and get it done. There may not always be someone to hire to do it or trade off with and having a level of skill and self-sufficiency in the matter will move you farther along the road to a sustainable, healthy food source on your land.

Personally, I see it as an extension of my love and care for them and the natural culmination of that good relationship that we have had. I wouldn't trust that job to anyone when it comes to my good birds and I wouldn't stress them by taking them away from the only home that they've known in order to do it. Love comes in many forms and with many definitions.
 
Alder Burns
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Location: northern California
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wow! too bad you're nowhere near me! I'd gladly do up five birds and keep the sixth!
 
Alice Lynn
Posts: 23
Location: Tennessee
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I think there's nothing wrong with not being able to do it yourself, but I do agree with Jay in that it is likely kinder to have it done in a familiar environment. Having someone come to your farm would be less stressful that sending the animals somewhere else.

I know I would never be able to slaughter an animal, I'm hopeless and soft-hearted about that kind of thing. So I just quit eating meat. but for medical reasons I could only eat fish anyway (since I was very young), so it wasn't exactly a big sacrifice. It might have been different if I'd had more options.

I hope you find a balance that works for you. I think it's great that you are moving away from store bought meat. Your chickens really have lived a much better life than those found in the supermarkets.
 
Galadriel Freden
Posts: 345
Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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In a way I feel like this too. We got our chickens as egg layers, but have been toying with the idea of raising some ducks for meat, as we can't keep roosters on our suburban lot; however, I love ducks (had pet ducks as a child) and I've never killed anything larger than a snail (and I even avoid killing bugs!), so I'm not sure I could do it, when push comes to shove. Yet like you, I want meat which is healthy, and I want it humanely. It's a dilemma!

On the other hand, I think if you can do it just once, you will be able to do it. And it's all right to feel sorrow about taking a life. If your chickens really are to die, I think they should die quickly and peacefully at home with you, rather than in a strange scary place with strange scary people.
 
Rion Mather
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Don't feel bad. You are experiencing the feelings that are shared by many. This is why I don't raise animals.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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Have you seen Paul's video about respectful chicken harvest?


Even though I have no problem with harvesting my own animals, I found this two part video with Alexia very helpful. I think it help to ease my heart a bit before I killed my first chicken. It doesn't have to be a brutal act. The difference between a respectful harvest and an emotional nightmare is in the details. A sharp knife, a good secure hold on the bird and swift, clean work will make the process easier on your heart. The first one is the hardest one. After that it's just like shampooing your hair... rinse and repeat.

I always make sure to thank the chicken for it's service before we part ways. I know they don't understand, but it makes me feel better about it.
 
Lisa Paulson
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I have very much benefited from this discussion and thank those sharing their thoughts. I have grown more and more thoughtful with age and though I was vegetarian in my youth , I am likely a more thoughtful omnivore now and I am endeavouring to raise more and more of my families food and yes struggling with the process off dispatching a life to consume it. If anything really grasping and taking this responsibility into my own hands certainly lowers my consumption and does increase my overall thoughtfulness about all of this .
 
Gary Lewis
Posts: 132
Location: Maine, USA
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Thanks for the thoughts and video link - as I said to start with - read the book, seen the videos! Still not looking forward to doing the deed...and probably will not do it.

Our first flock of chickens gave us a load of joy, a load of eggs, and lived out their natural lives after production. Our new flock will probably do the same - we got them for egg production not meat. We went into the process with that plan fully in mind.

The question now is really can we, should we, would we have chickens for meat. I think we would be happy with raising the chickens and letting someone else do the processing. You may think worse of us for making that decision....but it is the way we are. That we have given the animal a better life than in a cage, and not pumped it full of hormones to make it grow un-naturally is the bonus for us. Being intimately involved in the killing and processing is not a right of passage for us....(fencing this old farm is our right of passage).

We want to learn from folks, grow as farmers, live better on the planet and be at peace with ourselves. Being part of these discussions is part of that process.

 
Joe Braxton
Posts: 320
Location: NC (northern piedmont)
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I shall leave all discussions of religious views and what I would call an animal's "soul" for those more versed in such things.

I just know that when you realise in your core that something (be it plant or animal) must die for you to live, and that it is far better for you to control that process, the act becomes far easier.

"And that's all I have to say about that."
 
Clara Florence
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Check out your local area for a small commercial chicken processor, they will sometimes process for a small fee. My mother takes hers to one and for $3 per chicken they come back packaged, weighed and prepared the same day. She was shown how the chickens were processed, its quick and clean. There's no mucking around, like there was when she did it herself.
 
M Winters
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Location: Zone 8B East Texas, USA
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We are raising chickens for the first time in a long time this spring. We ordered day old chicks - 15 layers (Red Stars) and 15 cornish rock crosses for meat birds. I raised these babies in our dining room for 4 weeks until they were big enough to go outside to their new coop and yard. In those 4 weeks I handled them almost daily, looked them over for signs of illness, made sure they were warm enough and had clean water, even washing their little butts when some of them pasted up. By the grace of God and my hard work I didn't lose a single one.

After a few weeks in the coop I could see that my meat birds were growing uncomfortably large (I won't be ordering Cornish crosses again for this reason) and the time had come to put up or shut up. I approached the processing like I had approached getting the birds int he first place: reading everything I could, watching YouTube videos, and mentally going over the proceedure in my mind. It helps that I'm in the medical profession and have spent a fair amount of my life in the ER and OR. I prepped for processing day the same way I prepped for a new procedure in the OR. And in the same way I struggled to find a place of clinical detachment that would allow me to approach the act with respect and confidence and competence.

The first bird went into the calming cone (we don't call it a killing cone), and as the bird relaxed so did I. We thanked it for the sacrifice it was borne to make on behalf of our family and expressed hope that we had made its short life as comfortable and enjoyable as a chicken's life could be. We went slow and stepwise and I found that my wife and I grew closer though the process and through talking about our thoughts and emotions while doing it.

It is not for everyone. It may not be the right time for you guys to do this yet. If you cannot do it yourself at least hire it done (the processing that is) and raise your own meat if you plan to eat meat. Your family will advance along the path at your leisure. We found that by going to a friends and helping with their processing it was WAY easier for us to do it ourseles knowing the process better. YMMV
 
Eva Taylor
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Location: eastern panhandle of W.V.
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M winters, I can't agree with you more, watching the process can help. I think that part of the sustainable lifestyle has to do with sharing your talents and resources in exchange for others talents and resources. I can kill a chicken but I can't build a masonry wall yet, there is no shame in not having a skill. Ill trade ya can be just as good!
With that said I gotta say when we had to butcher ours I asked my cousins husband over to teach us and we ended up with a chicken killen party. About 8 people all getting together to get the job done. I killed one myself, surprised myself, and found that there was a closeness I felt with the chicken as I killed it, a resignation on both our parts to the deed that had to be done. I feel like a sap saying it but its how the thing went down and I gotta say I do feel a sense of responsibility for making certain the animals I brought into the world had a caring hand on the way out. I would encourage an at home butcher even if you can't watch the killing part, that is such a small part of the process after all. If you can't bear it, trade it there is always someone willing to trade work for food!
 
John Polk
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Don't forget a great resource: a farmer's wife.

The egg farm I worked on seasonally in South America had to cull around 2 dozen hens per day as part of their rotation.
Their farm hands had plenty to do without getting involved in this.

The owners had groups of farmer's wives come do it for them. "Butcher 6, keep 1."

One lady brought her daughter with her. At the end of their work, they would take their dozen hens home.
They took theirs live.
They started with 2 dozen hens, and butchered as needed.
When they got down to 12, they came back and "earned" another dozen.
I gave them a ride home once, and they made me promise not to tell the owners that their hens were giving them more eggs than the family could eat. LOL
 
Renate Howard
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Location: zone 6b
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Our first hens were pets and we adored them and wouldn't think of killing them. The more you have, the more the newness wears off and it becomes easier to think of them as meat. Get a few evil roosters gang-raping your hens while they rip their feathers out and the hens cry out in pain and fear and you're downright looking forward to the day you have enough free time to do the deed.
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Renate Haeckler wrote:Our first hens were pets and we adored them and wouldn't think of killing them. The more you have, the more the newness wears off and it becomes easier to think of them as meat. Get a few evil roosters gang-raping your hens while they rip their feathers out and the hens cry out in pain and fear and you're downright looking forward to the day you have enough free time to do the deed.


Or the rooster tries to spur your 4 YO and you will go ninja on him with a machete right there. Everyone has their limits.


Joe Braxton wrote:I just know that when you realise in your core that something (be it plant or animal) must die for you to live, and that it is far better for you to control that process, the act becomes far easier.


^^^^^This is truth.

 
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