Do you eat your chickens?

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khelashi

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Do you eat your chickens?
« on: August 20, 2012, 10:13 »
I keep chickens since about 4 years now & love them and their delicious eggs! I also love to eat chicken but have not got the heart to eat my own.
Although my head tells me it would be such a good idea, economical, healthy and kinder to the chickens than supporting mass productions (although I only buy organic & free range), every year I consider it, then "chicken" out. ;-)
Do you eat yours? And if so, do you kill them yourself? Or do you pay someone to do the gruesome work for you? Or do you have some sort of arrangement? How do you do it?
Gardening requires lots of water - most of it in the form of perspiration. :-)

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JaK

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Re: Do you eat your chickens?
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2012, 11:02 »
We do. We let our broody birds hatch chicks so we can sell the girls and raise the boys for meat. I went on a course to learn how to dispatch and dress a bird correctly before I attempted doing it myself. I think you can read about it over and over in books but it is always best to learn this kind of thing from someone who is used to doing it properly.

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Mrs Bee

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Re: Do you eat your chickens?
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2012, 11:30 »
I agree with learning to do this by doing a course.

I recently learned how  to dispatch a chicken quickly and humanely.

I had seen various methods on the internet but to my shame didn't act swiftly enough to cull an ailing chicken.

Now that I have seen it done practically I know that I could do it when necessary. It was the best thing I did since having chickens.

OH went and sat in the car while I was shown how to do it, so it will be me that has to do the deed if necessary.

I have been thinking about raising some chickens for the table but OH is putting up a resistance. He says we haven't got enough room in the garden.

If you are going to do it, don't give them names. Couldn't eat my egg layers it would seem ungrateful :unsure:

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GrannieAnnie

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Re: Do you eat your chickens?
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2012, 12:59 »
No good trying to eat hybrids though, there's no meat on them

But if you raise dual purpose birds like Rhode Island Reds, Light Sussex etc, then you can grow the cockerels for meat, but check to see if their crowing would be a problem with neighbours.

We raise meat chickens purely for their meat and have hybrids for eggs, but we have eaten the odd cockerel!

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Casey76

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Re: Do you eat your chickens?
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2012, 13:27 »
I have eaten my chickens in the past (I don't have any at the moment :( )

In spring I normally order a mixed batch of about 25 days olds from three different meat breeds.  They are intermediate growing, so are table weight aby 12-14 weeks (rather than the 8 weeks for fast growing, and 20-26 weeks for true dual purpose birds).

Normally I keep the pullets for eggs, and the cockerels are dispatched bewteen 12 and 18 weeks, who ever cros first goes first ;)  As they are generally meat birds, if the pullets don't lay good eggs they are dispatched too, where I normally just take the legs and breasts.

I dispatch and dress myself, having taught myself how to do it out of a book.

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ANHBUC

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Re: Do you eat your chickens?
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2012, 13:54 »
I have dispatched and eaten bantam cockerels.  Like Casey76 self taught.  Not a lot of meat but it would be wasteful to just dispose of them.  I have another 2 that have just started to crow so I am looking up some nice casserole recipes I haven't done for a while. 

Even if you are not going to ever dispatch to eat your birds you should be prepared to do it for a sick bird.   ;)
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khelashi

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Re: Do you eat your chickens?
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2012, 14:36 »
Do any of you get someone else to do it? I'm just not sure if either of us is really up for the task....:-(

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GrannieAnnie

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Re: Do you eat your chickens?
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2012, 14:40 »
It's not always easy finding someone else to kill, gut and pluck for you.  My OH is a licensed poultry slaughterman, so I don't have a problem.

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ANHBUC

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Re: Do you eat your chickens?
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2012, 14:42 »
If you did find someone I don't think it would be cost effective.  Unless you paid them in chickens but they probably would have enough of their own!  :(

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splash101

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Re: Do you eat your chickens?
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2012, 17:02 »
I've dispatched and eaten our cockerals. It was part of the deal when my hubby and children wanted some chicks to raise.
It was no use expecting hubby to do the deed, he can barley look at a chicken on the supermarket shelf - to say he is squeamish is an understatement.
I did a fair bit of research on the internet (god bless youtube) and it wasnt the dispatching that caused me concern but the dressing. Funnily enough, the night before the deed was to be done there was a programme on the TV showing how to dress a a chicken (must have been karma or korma, not sure which)
As it happens, once the decision was made (the starting of the crowing) it was quite simple. I didnt feel guilty or worried about it at all, and was very calm. In fact it was much easier to do than i thought it would be (nothing gruesome). There wasnt any panic in the bird either, no real flapping or squawking and the dressing was also much easier to do that reading about it.
My only issue was getting the job done, cleared up etc before my hubby and children got home. Once the 1st one was done it was easier (and quicker) for the next ones.

I agree with what others have said about finding a course to show you how to do it, even if you dont decide to rear birds for meat its worth knowing in case you ever have a really sick or injured bird and the vets isnt open


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Squibbs

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Re: Do you eat your chickens?
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2012, 23:23 »
We hatch some 50 chicks a year - half or usually a bit more are inevitably male. We raise a variety of breeds including sussex, cream legbars, araucanas, orpingtons and welsummers, the boys are grown on until they crow Then skinned and gutted - the hearts and livers are fried or if I am very keen turned into pate. My daughter has a go at helping with the plucking and gutting as much as a 5 year old can help!

The chickens are quartered and boiled in stock and the meat stripped and used in cooking sauces and frozen for my meals at work.

Occasionally I will make sausages and chicken nuggets.

We do have a small number of proper meat chickens which do roast well and provide meat for a few meals after the main roast too.

We kill our own - you may find someone who will informally do it for you in return for some token but technically this would be illegal unless they were a proper poultry slaughterer. Unless you are doing hundreds then a commercial slaughterhouse won't be interested at all.

I hope you don't get put off - there's little more satisfying than eating tasty chicken that you know has had a good free ranging life and a quick humane death.
My maths shows that bird is equal to or greater than the word...

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wildwitchy

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Re: Do you eat your chickens?
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2012, 23:36 »
I would really like to raise my own chickens for meat but I had to cull one of my ex batts (she was too sick for the vets) & thought i'd taught myself sufficient for the task but it all went horribly wrong. It upset me so much I was almost sick afterwards & I really cried.  :( The thought of doing a culling a chicken again horrifies me, yet I do eat meat. I'm such a hypocrite.

I think you're really good and brave who do it.

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ANHBUC

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Re: Do you eat your chickens?
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2012, 23:44 »
So sorry wildwitchy.  I use a broomshank as I don't think I would be able to apply enough pressure using just my hands.  I hope that you recover enough from the bad experience to learn how to do it.  I think it is an essential part of bird keeping.

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wildwitchy

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Re: Do you eat your chickens?
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2012, 00:03 »
Oh ANHBUH it is, totally agree. I'd tried to use my hands and I wasn't strong enough, so next time - hopefully not,  (I hope they go to chooky heaven in their sleep says me) ill use the broomstick method.
It was a while ago when it happened and it's still as vivid as ever. Ooh horrible.

If I could get someone to do the deed, thats fine, I can gut and and pluck etc that doesn't bother me, seen far worse. It's just knowing i've killed an animal.  :(  I know it will have had a wonderful life, far better than even the tesco's free range chicken etc. A man on my old allotment raised his own meat chix and they were fab. Best chicken I've ever had.

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khelashi

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Re: Do you eat your chickens?
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2012, 00:09 »
Thanks for the replies everyone,
I found this one here:
vy_vutu5qO0but I am not sure if I could do it to be honest. It's a huge step. I try to imagine it because I really would love to be able to but I think my preference would be if someone could do it for me. My husband would be even worse ;-)
Although my 10 year old son says he would do it while they are asleep so they don't feel anything. ;-)



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