Firsts - Processing Meat Birds

First post on a new blog?  Why not let it be about our first time processing our own home grown meat birds?

We have had egg layers for about six years now and have from time to time had to cull our flock or put down an aggressive rooster, so we have a tad experience from kill to freezer.  These past experiences included plucking by hand.  I do recommend the experience of hand plucking, there is something quite grounding about it. However, I'm so glad to have our plucker!

You'll see in the video we used Yardbird 21833 Chicken Plucker.  They retail for around $450, but we went in on it with some other small homesteading families and we just pass it around as needed.  The only other purchases we made were the shrinking bags.  We will probably try to pick up some restraining cones and scalding gloves before our next round of birds. 

Is it hard to take their lives? I have this post bookmarked on instagram by @may_blooms_acrage and this post by @modfarm that I go back to again and again.  The same hands that gently raised these birds were the same hands to humanely end their lives.  The gravity of death is never lost on us.  It's a tension we choose to lean into and not callous ourselves to.  As of now, David has been the only one to cut the necks, but I don't think anyone of the rest of us participating in that specific part of the process is out of the realm of possibilities. 

What about the kids?  Our oldest, Magnolia is willing to help, but has a bit of a hard time with it.  Henry and Mary Rose are quite enthusiastic about helping in anyway asked.  Joseph is along for the ride.  He had some questions, but was not stunned by any of it.  We were very intentional about every step and talked about showing respect to the animals and their lives.  We talk a lot in our household about what we consume - from food to entertainment - and stewardship of our bodies and all that we have been given.  Participating physically and emotionally in the food we eat is something that well aligns with our convictions and desires and we feel very fortunate to be able to include our children in this.

How'd you raise them? / Would you do it again? / How much did it cost?  At some point I'll try to sit down and share more about our experience raising the birds, including the chicken tractor David designed, what we fed them, the many frustrations, and the costs.  But for right now I am thrilled to have the cleanest and humanely raised and processed birds in my freezer, and yes, we will do it again (and again).



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