Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Great Debate: Butchering Chickens

It is quite humerous to me the opinions that people have about our purchase of fertilized chicken eggs.   I work with a majority of men and they loved hearing about the fertiliezd eggs that we got; however, opinions started flying as soon as I mentioned what we plan on doing with some of the chickens.    

Take Gentleman #1:  His wife is a vegan: He is not. Together, they adore animals and do not believe in animal cruelty (neither do I!).  Please note: this gentleman eats meat.

Gentleman #2: Just read a book about a plant-based diet entitled The China Study and converted his ways from a meat-loving carnivor to a (mainly) vegetarian diet.  He has had this new way of eating for two months with a couple of meatatarian slipups now and again.

Both gentlemen have been giving me a hard time about our plans to butcher some of our chickens.  Gentleman #1 argues that it is not humane to butcher a chicken.  While trying to defend myself about how slaughterhouses work with the meat he purchases from the grocery store, he rebuttled with an “ignorance is bliss” type of attitude.  I find this completely hypocritical.

Gentleman #2 gives me a hard time about eating meat in general, stating that it will be the death of me and that humans were not meant to eat meat.  Again, this is his opinion.  And as the saying goes, “Opinions are like…*

 My opinion:

{I am not saying that my opinion is the proper opinion to have; however, it is something that my husband and I strongly believe is right for us.}  

We do not want a lot of chickens running around our yard and I will not tollerate several roo’s pecking each other to death.  Our current chicken area is over a quarter of an acre where the chickens can roam and eat bugs as they please.  I like knowing that our food source is able to run free and I dlike knowing what they are consuming.  There are no cages to keep them in or horomones fed to our chickens to bulk them up.  They are a la natural, and I feel that we give them a great life here on the homestead.  Did you know that chicken bought at the store is generally butchered between the ages of 35 days and 45 days old?  I remember what our chicks looked like at a month old, and they werent a fraction of the size of the chicken breasts that I purchased from the store.  Our chickens will not have to deal with being bulked up for slaughter, as we can patiently wait for our chickens to mature naturally before getting ready to butcher them.

3-4 week old chick
I know our chickens are happy.  They run up to me when I go into the back yard and will eat goodies (cracked corn or kitchen scraps) out of my hand.  I find them running around free-range at 6 in the morning and sometimes I see them roaming around at 9:00 at night when I take the puppy out to go potty before bed.  I feel that the environment we provide for our chickens is the best possible atmosphere for them to have to live out their happy, healthy lives!!

Please note: I am still not 100% sure we are able butcher the chickens ourselves, but we are not ruling it out.  We are researching methods of humanely butchering some of our flock.  I found this video of a way to humanely butcher a chicken.

These are three very different points of view on butchering chickens.  I am sure you have your own point of view on this topic and I would love to hear what you have to say about butchering chickens.  


*If you havent heard the saying, it is:
"Opinions are like a-holes. Everyone’s got one and  they all stink.”


  1. We were discussing this the other day- vegetarian diet. I'm not much of a meat eater but I do eat some, just not big chunks of it. My daughter/son are basically vegetarians. I think we can get by with a vegetarian diet if you are very well informed on nutrition and lead a non-active lifestyle. By this I mean we work in an office, have appliances to do our work, machinery, etc. If you had to work by hand, let's say construction, farming by hand (1800-early 1900s), live off grid doing hard labor- you need more calories and those are probably best achieved with meat. The raw foods advocates and some vegetarians/vegans don't get enough calories assuming they are not eating cake and donuts. I don't like hurting animals but we definitely process deer, purchase a hog and process our own meat, small game, etc. I think home raising and butchering is much more humane than big business meat. I would not worry too much about their opinions. Does your vegetarian friend wear leather or anything else made with animal byproducts? I'm not sure how you can be vegetarian (other than just preferring vegetables to meat) if you also use animal byproducts.

    1. Kathy,
      Thank you for the comment!
      My vegetarian friend does not wear anything leather; however, he eats meat sometimes, so I would have to say he's not a true, hard-core vegetarian. I would say he is MOSTLY a vegetarian.

      We are going to have to decide (soon) what we are going to do because as of this morning, one of the roo's is crowing like crazy. I dont want to be the reason our town bans chickens! :-)

      Thanks again for the comment! They are always appreciated.