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Slaughtering your own animals

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I have 5 birds that need to go, 2 roosters and 3 drake ducks. I have watched videos on the Internet, I know how I want to do it, the problem is that I just don't think I have it in me to actually do it. When I started my "farm" my brother told me he would come over anytime and help me with this part of it, well I have been asking him for months now to come help me with these 5 birds and he now says I shouldn't try to be a farmer if I cant do all the jobs on a farm. While I see his point of view on this, I also feel like he needs to help because he said he would. I don't know how to clean the inside of the bird or anything, I have never done it only watched videos on how to do it. Anyone have any tips for me? If he is not going to help I need to get this done within the next 2 weeks. I have the males in a holding pen and they serve no purpose at all to me because they beat up on all my girls so they have to go somewhere, and really the freezer is the only option. I posted on craigslist to see if someone in my area would do them but the closest place is over a 2 hour drive and they charge $5 a chicken and wont do the ducks at all.

post #2 of 12

Ask your brother and/or any experienced friend(s) or ones willing to learn to come help you learn to do it yourself. Make a social event of it for moral support. You don't want to be alone and unsure your first time, you might fail to kill it and only wound it and get even more upset. But maybe he's right and it's something you should learn to handle. Ever bought whole chickens from the grocery, removed the bag of guts, and divided into pieces? Seems to me if you can do that, once the head and feathers are off it's mostly familiar territory.

post #3 of 12

Well, that's a bummer that he's no longer willing to help.  I'd want someone to help me the first time I took on something like that, too!  There are probably some tips / tricks that come with experience or guidance that you'd overlook on your own.


Here's a link to an old acquaintance's blog (haven't talked to her in years) about her and her family's first slaughter.  http://twwly.com/our-little-farm/  Seems things aren't going as well for her farm looking at her latest post, but aside from that she has experience in these matters and would likely be willing to offer suggestions if you aren't able to find someone closer to you who is able to help.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

That is a helpful blog, and yes once the head is gone, its really just a bird, but I would HATE to mess up on the killing and have the bird suffer. I have asked everyone I know if they can help me and everyone is like "Yeah I would love to help!" and then they flake out. I asked my Dad to but he cant do it until he goes on vacation at the end of October. I am not feeding these birds until then. I just found out that my husband is going out of town next weekend when I wanted to just do it my self so that will not work either now. I think I am going to try to save up $20 and offer to pay my brother $20 (to help with gas, he lives 100 miles away) and see if he will be willing to just help this one time. He helped when we had to do our goose last year, so I have seen it done, and helped with it a little, but not enough for me to feel comfortable doing it myself. With these birds gone though my feed cost will go down and I will be able to put all the birds in one coop in the winter and only have to heat one coop instead of 2 so that has me very motivated to get this rolling! And then we will also get to have Duck for Thanksgiving!

post #5 of 12

I had to do away with an egg eating chicken.  I used the head chopped off method because I was so worried about messing up with the "professional" way to do it.  It was quick and I think pretty hard to mess up.  I used an article from "Backwoods Home" I think, to get myself ready for it.


Is there anyone in your area who would take a free rooster or drake?  Around here on Kijiji (Canadian version of Craig's list), there are a surprising number of people who would still take such a bird.  That would also be an option, or selling them, if you don't feel up to butchering.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to update that we did slaughter the birds today. It took forever. I got my brother to come help, he did the killing and I had to help him do the plucking, and then skinning because after plucking 2 roosters I didn't want to pluck the ducks so we just skinned them. I did feed them before we did it though and it was a bad idea, I had read lots of places not to feed them but I felt bad for having to kill them so I did it anyway. But I am really glad its done and over with, its a huge burden lifted from my shoulders. Next time I think I will be able to do it without his help, provided someone kills them for me because I really just don't want to kill them myself.
post #7 of 12

bummer on not skinning the ducks.  ducks make the most amazing cracklings.  that said- good job on doing 5!  I have only done one chicken that I accidentally ran over with my chicken tractor and it took me over an hour.  So much cheaper for me to pay to have it done- but the guy by me only charges $1.75/bird

post #8 of 12

pogo0685- I've processed birds on a MPPU where the bird comes to me dead, de-headed, footless and featherless and I just clean out the inside stuff.  This fall I had to do my own.  I used this blog for the pictures.  I used a killing cone though.  I tried to just cut just the artery but did cut the trachea each time. 


My chickens were so much fattier (is that a word?) than any pictures I've seen online.  Globs and globs of deep yellow fat.  The intestines were fully covered in fat.  I wasn't sure I'd even be able to eat them, but it was..... ok.  Not great but I forced myself to eat. 


How was skinning?  Some of the birds de-feathered easily but some were a real beast.  If you slice through the skin does it just slip off?

post #9 of 12

Mumm, if your bird is less than 6 mos old the skin will just pull off. Any older than that and you have to really tug it off. A lot older than that and the skin just doesn't come off unless you rip the meat with it! We just skin all our birds as well. It is SO much faster. Although I really hate to lose all that good fat on the ducks. 


We use the chop off the head method. We just want to kill our animals as quickly as possible so as to save them from lengthy terror or pain. We had friends show us how to butcher the first time, and I'm so glad we did! Once you get into it, it's really easy, just like anything else. 


I would never call killing an animal "fun" :p , but it is sooo nice to have your own home raised meat in the freezer. Enjoy your 5 tasty birds!

post #10 of 12

We butcher deer every year (usually 1 or 2, maybe more this year), but I've always heard chickens are a PITA. I think my parents did it once or twice years and years and years ago and decided it wasn't worth it... so, at this point, I simply buy chickens off my friend who raises out lots (along with turkeys & pigs) and has someone else butcher them :) Much easier, not much more expensive, and I'm supporting a friend, so win/win/win xD

post #11 of 12

Oh my goodness- but deer take sooooo long to skin, gut, chop up, store! orngtongue.gif A chicken goes from running around to inside my freezer in 20 mins flat! Not that I'm against your supporting your friend. ;) I'm just saying that deer are huge! lol I too love to put a deer in the freezer but I would certainly call that long procedure a PITA. orngbiggrin.gif

post #12 of 12

It'll get easier and you'll get better every time you do it!

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