The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Chicken killing

I made the mistake of telling a friend this morning that I was going to be killing chickens today, forgetting that she was a vegetarian.  So, fair warning --- vegetarians, you'd better move along.

First signs of fall on the Clinch
First signs of fall on the Clinch Mountain (and space to protect the weak of stomach.)

Today was my third lesson in chicken slaughter, and Mark's second.  We were both amazed by how our feelings have changed over the last few months, from "ew, yuck!" to "this makes sense and I'm ready to do it."  Chickens have become livestock to us --- animals which you take good care of but don't name for the obvious reason.

View into our chicken tractor Today, I slit three chickens' throats, dipped one chicken in boiling water to loosen its feathers, cut off one chicken's feet, watched as our friends threw them all in the automatic plucking machine, and (the hard part) disemboweled and cleaned three chickens.  There was blood --- an unbelievably bright red pooled in the wheelbarrow where we let the chickens hang for a few minutes and bleed dry before beginning to process them.  But the only part that really freaked me out was the second throat I cut which I don't think I did the best job on.  (And the dead chicken smell which lingered on me until I took a hot bath when I got home.)

Mark's going to post a video summing up the chicken processing operation this weekend, so I won't go into the details here.  I was shocked, however, by the reactions to chicken killing videos I'd seen posted on YouTube --- a good half of the entries used a lot of profanity to tell the video-maker that they should die like the chicken did.  Is our society really so cut off from the food chain that we're willing to buy a chicken sandwich from McDonalds but aren't willing to even consider where the meat came from?

(The chickens pictured above are all still alive and kicking, by the way, in our tractor.)

Read other posts about killing and eating your own chickens:

Our chicken innovations have also included a homemade chicken waterer.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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