I am tryying to butcher a chicken, but I am having a problem with the dispatching - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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#31 of 54 Old 12-01-2008, 03:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I totally did not realize it is almost exactly one year later- but....
I did it.
I didnt kill the hen in the origional post. She went on to lay a fine clutch of chicks. Two of them are roosters.
I intended to kill both today anddo the pluck method.
There was so much friggin flopping that I couldnt make myself do it a second time.
I put his head under the handle of a rake adn puled up on his legs to snap his neck. Im not sure if i did it wrong, but he went a flipping and a flopping across the yard. I dove after him, put his head on a log seat we have in the back, grabbed the hatchet and I chopped his head off. He still did a whole lot of twitching and a bit of flopping- only this time I was holding on.
I had to make a cup of tea while I waited for is blood to drain, because I was all shakey.
I decided to skin not pluck. I live in the city and it was taking to long. Plus dd can only watch so much tv. I didnt want her to see the process, not at this point.
but anyway, I did it. I hope I can do it again, but it won't be today.

Edited to add- I read taht I had found this chicken a home, lol, I actually ended up keeping her. Shes just such a pet.

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#32 of 54 Old 12-01-2008, 03:24 PM
 
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It has been a long time. Chooks are always very theatrical & I still have moments where I am wondering if it really is dead frequently. I know people who will happily kill sheep but don't like killing chooks so you did well. It may well have been dead once you broke its neck but they do run around for a while afterwards if you let them. I dry pluck them while they are warm. Do the wings & the legs first as they cool off the quickest.
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#33 of 54 Old 12-01-2008, 10:06 PM
 
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Dh does the butchering here. He prefers breaking their necks.

Homesteading Mama to homeschoolin' kiddos London (10) ; Alexander (8) :; Holden (5) :; and Sergei born at home 8/18/08
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#34 of 54 Old 12-01-2008, 10:22 PM
 
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This has been so interesting to read, thank you for reviving the thread.

My husband recently killed a chicken by twisting its neck. It was very clean and there was no movement from the chicken afterward, but it was already injured and likely in shock, so I'm guessing that's why?
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#35 of 54 Old 12-02-2008, 02:08 PM
 
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What an elightening thread
And makes me feel better that others have learned through trial and error as well.

The place that processes our chickens (I'm not up for doing 50 at a time on our own) didn't renew their licence for turkeys last year and I had two turkeys to be done.
The only other options were to box them up in the trunk of the car and drive them an hour away, or let DH try his hand at doing them at home.

Now I have never killed a chicken, but I do know enough little tidbits on how to make it go smoothly.
DH asked his brother, an avid hunter, to come out and help, thinking he would at least know what he's doing. His brother told us once he was here, that he had only done one goose before lol! So much for the voice of experience. And besides, the birds he does are already dead.

Anyway, I didn't supervise the entire process, but I knew things were't going as planned when DH took my meat cleaver from the kitchen (rolleyes) then came back in a few minutes later and asked for the axe lol! (I told you so!).

Afterwards he told me he didn't turn the bird on its back and the cleaver wouldn't go through the spine first. Once he figured out that the bird has to be on its back, it went a lot better...except he wasn't expecting the struggle afterwards. I guess he got banged up pretty good from the turkeys wings flapping around.

Then to top it all off, they didn't scald them so the plucking was REALLY difficult. And it was very cold outside so they ended up plucking the turkeys IN MY KITCHEN! They skinned the 2nd one.
It's not as bad as it sounds, and it wasn't that messy at all. But still...

His only comment about the whole thing is that "It was a very humbling experience". And I totally could have said "I told you so!" about so many things!

DH and I - totally winging life with our four children, DS1 (6.5yrs), DS2 (5yrs), DD (3yrs) and DS3 (1)!

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#36 of 54 Old 12-02-2008, 02:36 PM
 
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DH recruited an assembly line to butcher our first batch of birds, but with the second batch he took them to a local Amish family to butcher and clean. Best $1.75 per bird we ever spent :

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#37 of 54 Old 12-03-2008, 02:24 AM
 
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What an interesting situation, and this thread is just great! I have already told DH that if we end up going completely on our own, he was responsible for slaughtering. I just can't do it. I'll clean it fine...I just need the head cut off first.

Aileen, Mama to Hannah James, 4/01/07 Smartest kid I've ever known! And Gabriel Joseph, born at home 3-31-10!! Delaying and selectively vax'ing
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#38 of 54 Old 12-03-2008, 06:28 PM
 
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we butchered 50 birds once by a variety of ways (I was in high school) but the easiest for me was grabbing the head, swinging the body in a circle, then executing a quick whiplike snap to break the neck. Quick and easy, and only requires one person

I raised steers my whole life, and I can honestly say the first one to go to slaughter was by far the hardest. After that, I was used to it I guess...plus the reward of all that delicious home grown beef made it so worth it!

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#39 of 54 Old 12-03-2008, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dd was asking where the rooster was.. I kept giving those annoying "hmmm" answers. I was not sure what to say. Then I said "Great, are you saying we lost christmas dinner..?"

silence.......

DD: "IS THE ROOSTER IN THE FREEZER?!!!"

Me: big breath : "yes"

Dd: ohh...can I see his head?

Me:
DD: "does it have feathers on it? Where is it?"

Me: "in the garbage, you can see it if you really want to"

Then she asked about the plucking, and I told her I just peeled the skin off with the feathers still attached.

DD: "EEEWWWWWWWWWW!!!" laughs hysterically. "Like that show, with the man, who had his face peeled back and his eyes were showing? "
(she watches Gray's Anatomy)

I laugh hysterically she laughs hysterically

We get home..Dd goes to the freezer; "Is THAT him?" - points to the carcass

Me: "yes"

Dd: "Well, you can't keep roosters in the city, can you?"

Me: relieved that this is all making sense, and it normal for her. "yup"

phew. Glad that part is over too.

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#40 of 54 Old 12-04-2008, 01:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BunnySlippers View Post
He still did a whole lot of twitching and a bit of flopping- only this time I was holding on. .
Like a chicken with its head cut off?

Sorry I couldn't resist. I'm glad you were able to do it. We butchered 25 roosters this fall, and my dh did the throat cutting method. We don't have an ax or hatchet, so he just sharpened up a knife and he is strong enough to hold them gently under his arm and cut their whole head off with one fell swoop. Then he lets them hang upside down and bleed out. And we did the skinning method for most of them - just got most of the meat and threw the carcass away.

Anyway, I didn't feel too badly about it, though I wasn't the one be-heading, but I did feel badly about eating them. I think I'm just a Foster Farms kind of gal. I really didn't like the game-y taste.

Mommy to kids

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#41 of 54 Old 12-19-2008, 10:13 AM
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This is a great thread!

I love your DD's reaction. My DD has been very rational as well. It helps that we have a hen recovering from a head wound caused by an over-zealous roo, so she knows from experience that extra roos are problematic. After eating our first home-grown chicken, we were "shopping" for next spring's chicks and looking at chicken pictures she said, "That roosters looks good! I want to eat him!" Crazy kid!

I look around me, too, when I'm holding the bird and the knife outside the coop, like someone's going to "catch" me. But I'm in the country, and I do my dispatching at night.

Man, despite his artistic pretensions and his many accomplishments, owes his existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains - unknown :
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#42 of 54 Old 12-24-2008, 05:15 AM
 
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I've never butchered a chicken (we don't have any yet) but we were visiting someone the other day who had just butchered chickens. I was worried that the bloody snow and bucket of chicken heads would bother my three year old, but she was very interested! Just wanted to have a good long look at the heads, and then went on her merry way

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#43 of 54 Old 12-24-2008, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by weliveintheforest View Post
I've never butchered a chicken (we don't have any yet) but we were visiting someone the other day who had just butchered chickens. I was worried that the bloody snow and bucket of chicken heads would bother my three year old, but she was very interested! Just wanted to have a good long look at the heads, and then went on her merry way
, kids are curious.
I think it must be the perceptions and reactions from those around the children that determine if they react negatively to death and butchering.

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#44 of 54 Old 12-26-2008, 06:25 PM
 
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My son (two at the time) accidentally caught my dad chopping the head off of a goose last spring. I thought he would be horrified, but he just gasped, ran inside, and told me, "Papa chopped da goose for my lunch!"

I have said it before and I'll say it again: kids who are raised around animals who are to be butchered grow up with MORE appreciation of life, not less.
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#45 of 54 Old 01-03-2009, 01:59 PM
 
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no matter if you slit the throat and drain or if you chop the head right off, the easiest way is to hold the chicken firmly by its feet and hang it up-side-down. when you do this, the blood rushes to their heads and they practically go to sleep. they will still twitch once you cut them, but hanging them by a wire or putting them in a bucket with stop the gruesome flopping around. i bet youtube would have some videos of the whole process. good luck!
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#46 of 54 Old 01-05-2009, 12:19 AM
 
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Well, BUNNYSLIPPERS I definetly feel the failed chicken killing attempt here too. It is inspiring but also intimidating to read that everyone else here can do the deed. Dang it! Someday I want to be like an old Irish gramma or something and walk out to the coop in the AM and kill me a bird for dinner hatchet wielding and feathers plucking...........but so far I can't do it. ONLY in the spirit of sisterhood, will I share my first attempt solo was a couple of weeks ago.
She was suffering so badly, I thought "I can do this!" Grabbed the sharpest knife I could and tried three times to cut her throat (after talking with her and praying a bit) It is dramatic, and my daughter was coming closer and closer, so I thought OK, step on her head and pull the feet.....DH can do it so can I...........um.........one, two, three times......something popped and I thought I did it. By this time, I was yelling outloud "I'm so sorry so sorry so sorry". I thought she was dead and layed her in the hole I had dug in the corn patch.........then I saw the eyes : big and open. Sisters.......I buried her. It was one of my darkest farm moments. I was totally traumatized and defeated..........it happens. ok, you can stop laughing/shaking your head already.

Good luck momma. You are not alone.
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#47 of 54 Old 01-05-2009, 06:29 PM
 
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One of my SILs (a wife of one of dh's brothers) taught me how to pluck and clean a chicken the other day. (And it was an odd setting; her pretty FL house with it's gorgeous kitchen. The setting Vs the work we in her lovely place simply didn't match. lol) She didn't do the killing, but the friend who brought the hens to us did. He held it in his arms and gently but firmly twisted the neck quickly. There was no squaking or panic on the chickens part, but there was some body movement for a few seconds after they were dead.

My sil then hung them upside down for an hour and the blood drained into their heads. We did the plucking and the cleaning and she tied a string around their necks. Then she took a poultry clipper and snipped the heads near the middle of the neck, and put those in boiling water to cook.

There was absolutely no blood dripping at any point, which totally shocked me. It was all contained in the head. She does it this way because she uses the blood in cooking; which turns spongy and is not drippy after being boiled. I did not know that.

And no, my sil was not born in the US and immigrated from Europe as an experienced home-maker. She knows all kinds of stuff.

I just don't know that I can kill them myself that way. He really had a hold on them.
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#48 of 54 Old 01-05-2009, 07:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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massagemamma, I think you need a pot of tea to get over that experience Do you think you'll try again in the future?
Its soo hard, I look forward to the day I am skilled and relaxed about this part of becoming more grounded with the circle of life thing.

UUmom, I wish I knew someone like that in real life to pick up skills from.

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#49 of 54 Old 01-05-2009, 09:56 PM
 
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UUmom, I wish I knew someone like that in real life to pick up skills from.

I feel lucky. She is very patient and knows so much about so much. It's amazing to me sometimes. She's super generous and very patient. She throws me crumbs for pretty much any attempt.

OK, is this obnoxious? We were at John's Pass in FL watching the tourist fishing boats come in. Some people want the boat folks to cut up their fish. Which is fine, most people don't know how to do that, and the pelicans totally love it... So we are on the pier, watching the boat folks clean the fish. I say nothing, but I am feeling appalled at what they are tossing to the birds. My SIL, older and more apt to speak her mind is there, admiring the haul, but then says to us, "What a terrible, horrible waste. They are throwing away all the good parts".

There is something so bonding about lamenting waste.
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#50 of 54 Old 01-06-2009, 02:24 PM
 
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I know what you mean, but I guess if it's going back down the gullets of seabirds, at least it's not being wasted in a larger sense -- what kills me is all the people who throw the little package of giblets from their supermarket chicken right into the garbage can, to rot in a landfill.
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#51 of 54 Old 01-06-2009, 02:41 PM
 
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I know what you mean, but I guess if it's going back down the gullets of seabirds, at least it's not being wasted in a larger sense -- what kills me is all the people who throw the little package of giblets from their supermarket chicken right into the garbage can, to rot in a landfill.
I agree. The bird watching was fun as well.

It is amazing what people throw away.
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#52 of 54 Old 01-07-2009, 12:13 AM
 
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Yeah, I had a loooooooooong walk the nasty chicken incident and apologized ten million times. I know there's a learning curve
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#53 of 54 Old 01-09-2009, 02:23 PM
 
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I got a big sharp knife and gave it to dh. I held the chicken down on it's back with it's neck on a board and looked away. DH hacked it's head off. I let go and jumped back - wow, had no idea they could bounce around on there feet that much and go that far!! Maybe it was wimpy not to look, but I couldn't look my chicken in the eye. Once it's head was gone though, it was just chicken meat - almost, still a little sad that it had to go. My mom said her mother butched chickens all the time, but she always got her sister to help. Maybe the moral support just helps.
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#54 of 54 Old 01-09-2009, 02:53 PM
 
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This thread is FASCINATING. I love your DD's response, BunnySlippers. i'd love to raise chickens... I think I'd have to get DH to do the chopping (if I could handle eating them at all...) I definitely want the eggs though...

Jenna ~ mommy to Sophia Elise idea.gif  (1/06), Oliver Matthew  blahblah.gif (7/07) and Avery Michael fly-by-nursing1.gif(3/10)

 

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