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#61596 - 06/05/08 12:42 AM Butchering Attitudes
Maria Ricardo Offline
Past Moderator
Coop Keeper

Registered: 03/26/05
Posts: 434
Loc: Hawaii
Today I killed one of my most beautiful roosters. He was dying and needed to be helped along. It was a very difficult occasion, my first time. The reason I am posting is to find out peoples experiences when they first started butchering. I know you all are not crying like me. How can I harden myself? I am not a vegitarian.

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#61597 - 06/05/08 07:05 AM Re: Butchering Attitudes
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Well, you've got to distance yourself from the birds you know you will kill eventually. Unfortunately, I cry each time I have to put one of mine down too. I get too attached to them and it happens. But, to learn how to distance yourself, get some broiler chicks to practice with (they are my most hated bird....ugh...)

Keep in your mind that you will HAVE to get rid of them one way or another, don't let yourself get attached to any one of them. (if you do...just don't kill that one... lol)

It's hard and I'm not hardened to it, but I keep in mind that if it must be done, I'm making it easier on the bird and decreasing the suffering it's going through at that point.

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#61598 - 06/05/08 06:08 PM Re: Butchering Attitudes
Real Chic Offline
Chick

Registered: 05/20/08
Posts: 17
Loc: Canada
I have 30 meat kings, I would like to know what the most humane way of killing them is?

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#61599 - 06/05/08 06:52 PM Re: Butchering Attitudes
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
It depends on how you want them to look when dressed (finished). Many use the simple ax method where it breaks the spinal chord and the veins and arteries. An almost sure-fire way of killing the bird (other than that ONE freak accident....)

Then there's the BB method which I use to put down my "pet" birds because I can't do the head-off thingy and worry that I won't do it right.

Then there's the killing cone. You hand the bird upside down in the cone and, excuse the term, make one or two slits on either side of the neck. One will sever the jugular, the other will sever the carotid artery. The bird simply "bleeds" out and doesn't really know what's going on. Once sufficiently bled out, you can remove the head and being the cleaning process on the bird. I know others that use other (and probably better) methods than these.

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#61600 - 06/06/08 04:06 AM Re: Butchering Attitudes
Jocelyn Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/02
Posts: 1467
Loc: Canada
You are always going to cry over pet birds, dear. It's just part of grieving. I use the axe method, knowing the body is instantly dead once the spinal cord is cut. I usually tap the severed head with the flat of the axe too, just to make sure the head dies as fast as possible. Sometimes death is the last gift you can give a pet, and it's welcome then. Meat birds, well, as said already, name them "freezer" ,"barbeque" or "Shake n' bake", then leave them in the freezer as long as you need to till they have lost their personality and become "meat".

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#61601 - 06/09/08 03:39 PM Re: Butchering Attitudes
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1280
Loc: Canada
Maria:

It is good that this is hard to do. I am afraid of people who can kill without a second thought. If our humanity does not make us human, what does? I would like to say too that releasing an animal from suffering is hardly butchering. On one hand, killing is killing, but I like to believe that your motive, and your intentions mean everything.

As others have said, meat birds are raised with the knowledge that their lives will be short and the freezer their destination. But even knowing that, we ensure them the very best (short) life they can live in clean, safe surroundings. Then we try to kill in the most ethical manner possible. No rough handling, very low key, quick and instant. We put them into a killing cone and remove head with axe. But this is never, never easy and takes a certain amount of intestinal fortitude. It is the dark side of the great thing about home raised chickens.

We all encounter sick birds, or surplus birds, or old birds and we have to deal with them and some people say, kill it, it's just a chicken. Just a chicken? Just a beating heart, something that is so happy to have a dust bath or run awkwardky through the deep grass on a summer day. For me, if killing ever gets easy, it's time to lock myself in a dungeon.

You are NOT alone in this. As you can see many of us know exactly how you feel. We struggle with the same issues. What must be done is not always easy, or pleasant, but is usually the right thing to do. A good poultry keeper shows up for the hard jobs when he's needed, and it sounds like you did just that. Take some comfort in that.

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#61602 - 06/12/08 06:37 AM Re: Butchering Attitudes
Dee Dee Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 11/19/02
Posts: 174
Loc: Maryland
Uno said it all extremely well.
I needed to hear that wisdom too.
Hugs to you Maria, you did the right thing even though it was hard.

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#61603 - 06/14/08 02:02 PM Re: Butchering Attitudes
Maria Ricardo Offline
Past Moderator
Coop Keeper

Registered: 03/26/05
Posts: 434
Loc: Hawaii
Today I called a neighbor who is experienced butchering chickens. He will come over and help me process (that's the nice word) the eight roosters that I haven't been able to sell. I will try to not give in to my feelings, maybe they will be lessened.
Thanks to you all for your kind words and wisdom.

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