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Does anyone raise their own meat?

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  • Does anyone raise their own meat?

    I am wondering because this year we are going to raise chickens and ducks for eggs and also for meat (If I end up with extra roosters or drakes). But I want to cull them in the absolute most humane way possible and I am wondering what that is. Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks guys!
    My blog - About me, my family, and my hobbies!

    *Please ignore my horrible typing and grammar I am usually typing it all on my very uncooperative phone*

  • #2
    I spent a very odd half hour on youtube, and eventually went with the neck-under-a-stick technique, as with my teeny hands and puny strength I was worried about not being quick/strong enough.
    YouTube - Humane slaughter of chicken

    Tips - pick your bird before you let them out of the coop in the morning (so they're not as alert), hold upside down for a minute or so (they get a bit of a head rush and if they were flapping, tend to stop) or while you take them to your chosen area, do the deed, yes they DO flap when they're dead. Hang by the feet for a few hours then cut off the head - this means most of the blood has drained into the head so it's a bit less messy. Others say slit the throat and bleed immediately.

    If you even feel hesitant, don't start the process. My first bird, I just decided one morning that This Is It, had my morning cup of tea, and went straight out. I'd tried to psyche myself up a couple of times before, which came to nothing!

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    • #3
      I raised chickens and cows. I didn't slaughter my cow personally. It was really hard on me to send him to the slaughter house. I've not done it sense. I made the mistake of making a pet out of him.

      I have, however, raised and 'processed' my own chickens. I looked at several ways to kill them without having them go through a lot of stress. One thing I can tell you is to have a super sharp knife ready and don't hesitate cutting the head off. I hesitated the first time and it took me a couple of swipes to kill him. (I didn't do well with that) Do it with strength and quickness and it's over and done with. I had my husband tie their feet together while I held them (feeling horrible for cooing to them when I'm getting ready to kill them) and hung them by the feet over a nail a little higher than my head. Then cut their heads off and quickly turned/walk away. It's not for the faint of heart. Warn you they flop around against the post for a few.
      I never did the hot bath dip with them. I just plucked them while they hung on the nail. I always heard this was really hard without dunking them in hot water but I didn't find it difficult at all. I did skin a few and that was really easy and quick if you are planning on stewing them and don't care about loosing the skin.
      I can tell you not to wait too long to cull them. My first few were about 6 months old and they were so tough I had to put them in the pressure cooker.
      What breed are you planning to get?
      I learned a valuable lesson with the first steer I sent to slaughter. I should have named him Hamburger and not Snookers.

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      • #4
        Hang them by the feet, and break (twist) the neck quickly and sharply. Wait til the chook calms down first though. Hanging him upside down makes them a bit dizzy and stuns them (more like passing out, same thing).
        It is noisy and rather distasteful but you get used to it and better at it. It's gross, but protip: Make sure you only TWIST and don't PULL. Those heads come of easy and you'll freak yourself out.

        I lived in a farm town most of my childhood, heh. The things you learn :P

        Oh, you could do the old school way with decapitating it with a hatchet from the back (as to kill them quicker), but it's hard to hold them down.

        Sorry if i grossed anyone out by the way, i'm so used to it.
        I'm a paleo foodie, come check out my recipes: http://strangekitty.ca/

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        • #5
          I'd like to work up to this eventually too, but for now we're just raising laying hens & ducks. What breeds has everyone used for meat? It seems like the common meat breeds have been bred to pretty much eat themselves silly, so I'm just wondering if there's a more natural (or heirloom?) breed that is good for meat.
          My Primal Journal with lots of food pr0n

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          • #6
            Thanks everyone, right now my chicks are only a few weeks old so I have a lot of time to get the process in my head, I think I have already come to terms with it. We are just planning on any extra roosters this year, but if all goes well next year we plan on having at least 100 birds a year but not sure what breed to chose for that yet. Really I would like to raise chickens, ducks, geese, goats, pigs and a cow for food but right now I figure its good enough to start with chickens and work my way up in size of animals. I would also like to raise all the meat I need for my animals.

            Yes please anyone more info on heritage breeds! I would love to get something like that for my flock - this year I just went with what I could get at Big R.
            Last edited by Fern; 04-27-2011, 03:21 PM.
            My blog - About me, my family, and my hobbies!

            *Please ignore my horrible typing and grammar I am usually typing it all on my very uncooperative phone*

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            • #7
              I'm crunching the numbers now. We use to have our own meat cattle when I was kid, but times have changed.
              I've got the grazing land covered, but the purchase price of the beast along with the butchering ect can easily reach a point where you virtually only break even - or worse.
              On the flip side, at least you know where you meat comes from.

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              • #8
                I dont care about the money so much as I care where my food comes from. I have a close family friend that I can get a cow from for free I just dont have the money to fence my land yet.
                My blog - About me, my family, and my hobbies!

                *Please ignore my horrible typing and grammar I am usually typing it all on my very uncooperative phone*

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                • #9
                  I got an assortment of large breeds from McMurray Hatchery that did well. They were really nice and very knowledgeable. They do have a lot of breeds that are on critical and endangered list. I'd give you a link but typing this on my nook.
                  I learned a valuable lesson with the first steer I sent to slaughter. I should have named him Hamburger and not Snookers.

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                  • #10
                    I think I remember watching Food Inc. and seeing a clip of Joel Salatin on Polyface Farm killing chickens. I think they used a killing cone. Basically, he put the chicken in the metal cone upside down so that it's head was poking out the bottom of the cone and then cut off the head.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by yodiewan View Post
                      I think I remember watching Food Inc. and seeing a clip of Joel Salatin on Polyface Farm killing chickens. I think they used a killing cone. Basically, he put the chicken in the metal cone upside down so that it's head was poking out the bottom of the cone and then cut off the head.
                      I just watched that last night (and didn't sleep too well as a result), and yes, he used killing cones. I think they sell those at McMurray. I was wishing I lived near Polyface Farm so I could buy meat from him!
                      My Primal Journal with lots of food pr0n

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                      • #12
                        I live in an apartment so... I raise mealworms.

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                        • #13
                          You can make a cone--hardware stores have cone-shaped sheet metal contraptions for various purposes. I even knew someone who used an orange traffic cone with the end snipped off.

                          For heritage breed info, and more news on how you can help with genetic preservation, check out the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy =)
                          “Falconry is not a hobby or an amusement; it is a rage. You eat and drink it, sleep it and think it. You tremble to write of it, even in recollection. It is as King James the First remarked, an extreme stirrer up of passions.” --T.H. White, The Godstone and the Blackymor

                          "The world must be all fucked up when men travel first class and literature goes as freight."
                          - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

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                          • #14
                            i grew up on a farm and my autumn / winter job was killing and plucking turkeys, so I must have offed thousands of them over 10 years or so. Broomstick over the neck and pulling the feet was the easiest and quickest for me..

                            Anything with four legs went to the professionals and came back in plastic bags - which was a bit upsetting when it was our pet pig and it turned into bacon, but we got over it pretty quickly

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                            • #15
                              I don't think I could butcher my own critters. Definitely leave it to the butcher!
                              --Trish (Bork)
                              TROPICAL TRADITIONS REFERRAL # 7625207
                              http://pregnantdiabetic.blogspot.com
                              FOOD PORN BLOG! http://theprimaljunkfoodie.blogspot.com

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