2

votes

Raising your own chickens (to eat)?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created June 11, 2011 at 12:16 AM

I have raised chickens for eggs for years. As a result I eat my own pastured eggs (lovely deep orange yolk) every day for breakfast. I've been thinking about raising some "broiler" chickens. Raising them is the easy part...but I could not kill them myself. Would a butcher or some mobile processing unit come out and do it for me? Has anyone else raised and eaten their own meat chickens?

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on February 27, 2012
at 11:54 PM

Honestly this is the best option. I grew up around chickens, and we basically divided the work load. Older cousins/brothers killed the chickens, granny blanched the chicken in boiling water for about 30 seconds after it bled out to soften/degrease the feathers, then us lil' one did the plucking. Once that was done, Dad or Grandpa cleaned it.

9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

(3325)

on June 11, 2011
at 11:20 PM

oops! forgot the link ;) http://www.hipchickdigs.com/2009/09/how-to-kill-a-chicken/

9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

(3325)

on June 11, 2011
at 11:19 PM

Here's a (graphically illustrated) blog post I found that describes the whole process.

9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

(3325)

on June 11, 2011
at 11:13 PM

It took many, many excruciating twists and I was bawling the whole time. That was my first slaughter. What I've learned is that some level of compartmentalization is necessary. I always make sure that I give the chicken love and thank her for her life beforehand -- This is the MOST important part for me. I can kill an animal, but I can't live with the regret I would feel if I didn't acknowledge that animal's sacrifice first -- I then put my emotions aside and do what needs to be done... and I use the cone method now. :)

9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

(3325)

on June 11, 2011
at 11:05 PM

It was a learning process for me. My parents always cut of their heads on a chopping block the old fashioned way and my grandfather lost his thumb this way, which made me weary of that method. My partner at the time of my first slaughter told me about his grandmother who would pick up a chicken by its head and then swing it in a circle to break its neck. This sounded gruesome, but effective...so I got the idea that I could hold the chicken, pet it lovingly and calm it down, and then snap its neck real quick while it wasn't looking. This ended up being NOTHING like I'd imagined. (continued...)

6235e0b7e3c4c4b9df3d926829bc32f6

(333)

on June 11, 2011
at 10:46 PM

lanabelle, I too admire what you are doing and how much of your own food you grow/raise!! How do you kill your chickens?

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 11, 2011
at 03:44 PM

i wish i could do this. in theory, i think its the cleanest and most humane way, but im so not there yet. i admire people who can do this so much, but reading through this thread brings a tear to my eye! im still a sappy vegetarian at heart!

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 11, 2011
at 03:42 PM

i really admire what youre doing!

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on June 11, 2011
at 12:06 PM

Yes, once you successfully acheive that, you can move on to practicing advanced cognitive dissonance. Why not? Everyone else does.

C23ec4b85f3cbeb9ddf6bf78317d56e3

(300)

on June 11, 2011
at 02:10 AM

maybe you can get someone to do the killing for you and trade them some eggs and chickens in return.

666de0361be572857ebec0d2ed02674e

(290)

on June 11, 2011
at 12:38 AM

Ha, I've been wondering this very thing. I finally decided that the only way I could do it was if I had so many chickens that I couldn't name them all... ;-)

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6 Answers

4
9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

on June 11, 2011
at 02:40 AM

I raise my own chickens for eggs and meat, as well. I do the slaughtering myself, but I grew up on a farm where we raised sheep, chickens, and ducks, so I was already fairly comfortable with the idea when I slaughtered my first chicken.

Having chickens has made so many positive changes in my life. The chickens are pastured in my garden in the wintertime (in the areas where I'm not growing winter vegetables), I use their manure for building soil, they eat down my invasive bermuda grass, and their little personalities and quirks are just fun to be around. With the addition of their egg supply and occasional meat, I'm growing about 60% of my own food during the summer and fall seasons.

I'm not sure about your area, but I grew up in Petaluma (literally the chicken capital of the world, nicknamed The World's Egg Basket), surrounded by farmland where there were many mobile butchers in the vicinity. For the first several years of raising lamb, my parents had a butcher come out who would slaughter the lambs. After a while my father started doing it himself. They always slaughtered their own chickens, but I'm certain that the service exists (at least in some places).

Best of luck to you. I feel like slaughtering my own chickens puts me in touch with my food on a very deep level, but the idea might take some getting used to. The fact that you are looking into growing your own food ??? and providing sustenance for the animals that ultimately will provide sustenance for you ??? is fantastic.

9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

(3325)

on June 11, 2011
at 11:05 PM

It was a learning process for me. My parents always cut of their heads on a chopping block the old fashioned way and my grandfather lost his thumb this way, which made me weary of that method. My partner at the time of my first slaughter told me about his grandmother who would pick up a chicken by its head and then swing it in a circle to break its neck. This sounded gruesome, but effective...so I got the idea that I could hold the chicken, pet it lovingly and calm it down, and then snap its neck real quick while it wasn't looking. This ended up being NOTHING like I'd imagined. (continued...)

6235e0b7e3c4c4b9df3d926829bc32f6

(333)

on June 11, 2011
at 10:46 PM

lanabelle, I too admire what you are doing and how much of your own food you grow/raise!! How do you kill your chickens?

9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

(3325)

on June 11, 2011
at 11:19 PM

Here's a (graphically illustrated) blog post I found that describes the whole process.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 11, 2011
at 03:42 PM

i really admire what youre doing!

9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

(3325)

on June 11, 2011
at 11:20 PM

oops! forgot the link ;) http://www.hipchickdigs.com/2009/09/how-to-kill-a-chicken/

9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

(3325)

on June 11, 2011
at 11:13 PM

It took many, many excruciating twists and I was bawling the whole time. That was my first slaughter. What I've learned is that some level of compartmentalization is necessary. I always make sure that I give the chicken love and thank her for her life beforehand -- This is the MOST important part for me. I can kill an animal, but I can't live with the regret I would feel if I didn't acknowledge that animal's sacrifice first -- I then put my emotions aside and do what needs to be done... and I use the cone method now. :)

2
34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on June 11, 2011
at 12:41 AM

Compartmentalize! (this is what my husband always tells me if I have something to do that emotion is getting in the way of) lol

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on June 11, 2011
at 12:06 PM

Yes, once you successfully acheive that, you can move on to practicing advanced cognitive dissonance. Why not? Everyone else does.

1
127116e41acceee9f2f000076f8b788d

(477)

on June 11, 2011
at 04:54 AM

I raise chickens, rabbits, and pigs for our meat. Chickens are easy, but rabbits are even easier (just pull the skin off).

If you did the butchering with someone who knows how, after a few times, you would be able to do it without an issue.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on February 27, 2012
at 11:54 PM

Honestly this is the best option. I grew up around chickens, and we basically divided the work load. Older cousins/brothers killed the chickens, granny blanched the chicken in boiling water for about 30 seconds after it bled out to soften/degrease the feathers, then us lil' one did the plucking. Once that was done, Dad or Grandpa cleaned it.

1
D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on June 11, 2011
at 12:53 AM

I raise my own chickens for eggs and meat and butcher them myself.

If you live in a rural area, there will probably be someone that will butcher the chickens for you if you take them there. In my area (Southern Indiana) the Amish charge about $1 per chicken.

To get a mobile processor, if such a thing exists for chickens, would probably cost too much money to make it worth it.

FWIW, the first chicken took me forever to kill, not the act, but getting the nerve to do it. Now, it's no big deal although I do not enjoy it.

1
0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 11, 2011
at 12:52 AM

Growing up we raised laying chickens, broilers, turkeys, and ducks. By far the most difficult ones to butcher were the ducks.

The chickens, not so hard. The turkeys, we couldn't wait to kill those ugly bastards.

We used a cone deivce thingy as seen here.

I know that we can bring our large game to a "processor" here. I bet they would butcher your chickens. Do you know anyone who raises pigs or lambs? Many times processors are hired to slaughter them. Chickens would be a piece of cake for them.

1
Medium avatar

(19469)

on June 11, 2011
at 12:36 AM

I have never raised my own chickens, but I imagine that you live in a somewhat rural area (at least rural enough to raise chickens for several years without any complaint) and I would imagine that you are not alone among your neighbors in this pursuit.

If your neighbors are lacking the requisite skills, your local farmer's market or co-op should prove useful in finding someone willing to do the deed for a fee or for a few personal-use broilers.

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