Sunday, December 03, 2006

Chicken Butchering – Part 2 - Slaughter

In my first post on this topic, I explained how the chickens were fed and brought to the area where we slaughter and butcher them. This post is graphic so click away if chicken slaughter is not something you wish to see or read about just now.

There are a number of different steps involved once the chickens are rounded up. The first is the actual killing. There are a number of humane ways to achieve this. Some people cut the jugular vein. Some wring the necks and others chop off the heads. The easiest one for us physically and emotionally was to chop their heads off. This was done with a hatchet. We opened the door of the coop reached in, took a chicken and carried it to the chopping block. The chicken is laid across the block and a loop of string is placed around its neck. This loop is so the chicken will not move just before the ax falls. The chopper holds the feet of the chicke and swings. Each of us who swung the axe did not fear killing the chicken. Rather, not killing the chicken was a far greater fear. Our goal of a quick death for the chicken helped us be careful and accurate in our swing.

We’ve all heard stories about chicken running around with their heads cut off. Based on how much flapping of wings occurs while we hold the feet of a headless chicken, I believe this would be true. Out of respect for the chicken and fear of creating a big mess I don’t believe in testing this theory. After the head was severed, we placed the chicken upside down in a cone to finish bleeding. Under the cone is a bucket to catch the blood. The next step after the chicken is finished bleeding out is plucking. I’ll describe that in my next post of this series.
Chicken Butchering
Part 1 Prep
Part 2 Slaughter
Part 3 Plucking
Part 4 Evisceration and Chilling
Part 5 Eating & Freezing
Part 6 Final Thoughts

chicken slaughter

My Thanksgiving turkey, a Royal Palm, about to be slaughtered. Note the cone on the right for bleeding the chickens. The turkey is too big for this cone and needs to be held in a bucket instead.


  1. Wow, that top photo instantly evoked my idyllic summers as a kid at my grandparents' Kentucky farm. The slaughter business was just a part of the whole things, but I suppose to a boy, it was the most memorable. Thanx for the memories.

  2. Anonymous5:58 AM

    Murdering bitch. You deserve to have happen to you what you do to chickens and turkeys.

  3. Anonymous8:07 PM

    Thank you for your great information and photos, I only hope I can find the rest of your blogs.

  4. Anonymous1:40 PM

    Do you also call a Grizzly Sow a murdering bitch when she catches a salmon? Granted, not quite the same thing. The fish is wild and free, the chicken not, but that doesn't seem to be what you are upset about.

  5. Anonymous12:26 PM

    Humans are built herbivores. A bear is built carnivore. people who say about animal slaughter, "its the way of life." it certainatly is not.

    if you must know, the world is going to be forced to truned vegetarian anyway. If all you fat americans cut your meat intake by 10 %, the 60 million starving children out there would be fed.

    i am only a child, and yet i know all meat eaters are all Mudering Bitches.

  6. Anonymous10:24 PM

    Are yall serious? Do yall hear yourselves. Your bickering over chickens. I think evryone in this world has the right to eat whatever they want in this life. Is it affecting you in anyway to know that someones eatig meat. I mean come on whats the big deal. Why else did god put so many dumb useless animals on the planet. I mean come on chickens can't even fly or have any defense mechanisms they might as well be eaten by anything that wants to eat it, at least it would then have some purpose.

  7. josh p.2:55 PM

    "i am only a child, and yet i know all meat eaters are all Mudering Bitches."

    Yes, you are a child. You will enjoy life more when you can get past your adolescent idealism--though in your case it seems like adolescent misanthropy is more the problem.

    You need to think things through to their logical ends. "If all you fat americans cut your meat intake by 10 %, the 60 million starving children out there would be fed." Think that through and you'll realize just how absurd that statement is.

    Hate is never the answer.

  8. Anonymous5:27 PM

    Thanks for the post! I'm going to put it into practice this summer as we're going to handle our own meat birds.

    As far as the hateful vegetarian goes... I have a bunch of teeth designed for tearing and severing flesh, like a bear/dog, as well as big flat ones in the back for mashing up vegetables, so your 'born herbivore' notion goes against what people learn in elementary school animal science.

    The problem of hunger in this world has absolutely nothing to do with meat eating, we don't have a shortage problem, but a distribution problem. There's food rotting in cargo holds as political forces in some backwards countries stop humanitarian aid reaching starving children. There are many organizations trying to spread food to the hungry and there's plenty of food to send.

  9. Anonymous8:38 PM

    Way to go feeding yourself! You are in full contact with your food source, from growing to processing. I bet that little vegan BITCH would starve if her F--king mommy and daddy couldn't find a grocery store within a 2 mile radius that sold TVP (textured vegetable protien). Way to go carnivore! At least you have the nerve to confront the uglier side of what you eat!

  10. Anonymous3:41 PM

    Just thought I would mention that chickens have cannibalistic tendencies even in the most ideal of environments. They can even kill each other in the most savage of ways. That's just the way they are made. So my question to the person who calls others "murderous bitches" is " Does that make the creator a murderous bitch too?"

    There must be death in order for life to exist. There must be life for death to exist. The two are One and the same. For the vegetarians out there who think they do not kill, what about yogurt? You wipe out entire cultures and think nothing of it. You may say, "Well that is different, the life of bacteria is not as important as the life of a chicken." I say, Life is Life. Death is Death.

    Not being mindful of your actions is ignorance. So who is more superior? A person who is eating mindfully the chicken he killed, or the person who consumed yogurt in a plastic cup, threw it away and thought nothing of it?

    Answer: None of the above.

  11. Anonymous1:23 AM

    Wow. Great conversation. I am sitting here at almost midnight, just having found this and having to go out and kill the first 25 of my spring broilers. Never done it before. Hunted plenty, but never willingly killed anything that I have raised. Thank you for the information.

    As for the uneducated, narrow visioned vegetarian up above, please learn your history. Are you a human? Home Sapien Sapien has been in it's current species cycle for roughly 40,000 years. Agriculture has been around for about 8,000 to 10,000 years. Do the math. Before humans learned to grow food, they hunted animals. The killed them, they butchered them, they ate them. Along with that they found vegetation that they could eat. Mostly tubers, but they tried lots of things. But, without any reservation they killed meat and lived on it primarily. If they did not kill to eat, they would die. Almost without fail.

    So the next time you want to talk about what humans are, they are omnivores. Sure, not as common a word as herbivores or carnivores, but it describes the human condition. What does it mean? It means we will eat anything that we can. Meat is good. Plants are good. Anything that can be eaten and used to survive is good.

    Now, from the other posts on here I see nobody else seems to be suffering from why anyone would want to raise chickens to eat. At least I know where my meat comes from. Now, I can't wait for the turkeys to be ready in the fall!

  12. Thanks for your informative blog, to help me proceed in what I must do today.
    Yes, chickens ARE cannibals... my rooster has been denuding several of my cornish cross for over two weeks now. One was so bloody today that I knew he had to go.

    I strangled him. Now I'm doing the prep to pluck and etc. Again, I appreciate the information, and until some odd future time when no one has to kill to eat, I appreciate the fact that I will be able to stew this rooster that I raised myself. I just wish he had behaved himself... I would have left him alone, and had fertile eggs....

  13. Okay, there are a couple of things I really just have to respond to here. And I'm going to get to Mr. "Murdering Bitches," but to me the most ignorant comment came from another anonymous poster, talking about how many "dumb animals" God put on this planet for us to eat. This kind of ignorance just drives me up the wall. Whether we are meat-eaters or vegetarians, I think animals deserve some respect. And yes, for those that eat meat, that means respecting them during the killing process. There are no "dumb" animals. Any animal that has made it to this point in the world's timeline either has survived millenia of natural selection or been protected by humans because of their intrinsic value. Either way, they deserve some respect.

    With regard to whether we are naturally carnivores or herbivores, we are descended from large apes (namely the Chimpanzee), and they are opportunistic omnivores. This means they are built for both eating meat AND vegitation. Think about it--that's why we have both molars and incisors.

    I have the utmost respect for small farmers that humanely slaughter their own chickens and turkeys. These birds live a great life on these small farms. "Mr. Bitches" should look into the practices of corporate farms and slaughterhouses if he really wants to experience soemthing disturbing--something meritorious of his outbursts. These chickens undergo the least humane living and dying conditions. I'm turning vegetarian, not because I oppose killing animals for food, but because I am so opposed to the way corporate farms carry out the task.

    1. Anonymous1:00 PM

      so why don't you just buy meat from local farmers instead of turning vegetarian and risking your health.
      As far as humans coming from monkeys... you are so wrong. Read this:

  14. I understand it's hard to NOT REACT to someone else's judgment with our own judgment (against their stance or belief).... but I believe in my heart that the more we are able, as a people, to agree to disagree, the less dissension and conflict will exist. Carolyn Myss says that the very act of judgment is an act of separation.... yet we cannot fully separate from each other any more than we can separate from God/the web of life/the planetary biosphere. I wish peace upon all parties, and believe that my visualization of each of us personally manifesting peace in our own small way as a path towards enlightenment. I love my chickens, mainly want eggs and the enjoyment of their antics... but when and if I need to put one down, or to even use one for a meal, I can do so lovingly, with gratitude towards the bird... myself... everything.
    Blessings to all,

  15. Anonymous12:13 AM

    Upon close examination of my teeth, I note that several are canine in function. They are the specialized product of the many years of evolution of my species. (I also have teeth useful for eating grains and fruits and such.) From that basic anatomy observation, I can deduce that my healthiest diet is probably omnivore. To deprive my species a major food group is to mal-nourish my kind.

    On the other hand; when I examine a ruminants' mouths, I can deduce that their metabolic needs are remarkably different from mine. This can be confirmed by leaving a pound of steak in their trough and observing their disdain at feeding time.

    In conclusion, I am Man... and you my dear are a bleating sheep trapped in a woman's body. Please seek some counseling for your underlying emotional issues.

  16. egg and poultry lover7:15 PM

    I just got two female chickens. I plan to eat the eggs they lay. And once they stop laying eggs I plan to eat them. Calling the butchering of chickens murder is very stupid. Murder is the killing of a life form, with the only goal being that, the animal’s life is ended. To kill an animal for food is not!! In any way, shape, or form murder.

  17. I noticed that "Anonymous" called humans 'herbivores', which is actually not correct. We humans are omnivores.
    Also, it is of note that many native american cultures integrated prayer to whatever animal they found it necessary to kill. It was an expression of their respect for life. Such respect is sorely lacking in our culture; yet it still doesn't mean that someone should not eat the chickens, or goats, or cows, that they raise.
    Arguing about this is just like arguing over politics over religion - it is endless until whoever is arguing agree not to disagree. As humans, we ARE capable of that.
    Peace to all.

  18. ... and ps...
    chickens CAN definitely fly! otherwise, the ones I've found outside of the pen some mornings have teleported.

    1. Anonymous1:03 PM

      ha ha... even my 2 week old chickens can fly. It's been confirmed several times.

  19. We are the Poultry Liberation Front-Palestine. Your days of subjugating and murdering innocent poultry are over! We demand an immediate cessation of your colonialist carnivorous activites and a complete surrencder to enlightened avian rule. Long live the Chicken! LALALALALALALALALA!! Jihad!

  20. Anonymous1:52 AM

    This disgusting behavior is as evil as rape and murder. I hope you spend the rest of your life locked up, you sick fukc. Obama was supposed to change society to stop this kind of thing from happening but he hasn't yet. He will. There are plenty of good vegetables you could eat instead and not have to rape and murder.

  21. Anonymous7:43 PM

    maobama is irrelevant and soon a distastfull memory.