Jan 20/2010
How to kill a chicken!

Chicken Killing for Fledgling Farmers

Chicken Killing for Fledgling Farmers

It’s been 575 days since the first motley brood of heirloom chickens entered our lives. We’ve watched in amazement as our little flock of 7 quickly surged to over 30 strong. Nature called our broody hens into hidden nursing dens only to emerge weeks later stumbling over piles of cheeping chicks. We’ve marvelled at their familial ways and the very “bird-like” way they live their lives. Mostly we have been a pretty passive neighbour to our flock, happily trading their freedom to range for the pleasure of our peering eyes and nosy musings.(and let’s not forget those delicious free range eggs). We have smiled over the birth of their young and ached for the loss of many to the masked bandits of the night.

Lately we have noticed the fairly predictable goings on in the coop feeling a bit chaotic and unbalanced. Squables over prime roosts, food and a general sparring for space and seniority. With 5 ‘teenage roosters’ in the house things were becoming a bit “testy”! We have always known the time would come to do what all bonafidefarmers must do – harvest their crop!. It was time to take the rooster by the neck and well…..

We called upon our good friends, Tom and Grant (fellow islanders) to act as guides and help us through this difficult task. Growing up on a farm, Tom was well conditioned as a young lad to these kind of farm tasks and kindly offered to lend us some of his confidence and know-how. Grant was keen to hone his culling skills after he had so bravely dispatched of his own rooster overflow just weeks ago. We were feeling really nervous and putting it off as long as we could but with the help of our friends we felt strong and capable enough to do the deed at hand.

Chicken Killing 101 by Safe Farmer

Chicken Killing 101 by Safe Farmer

Tuesday, January 19 arrived (my birthday…now that is one I won’t forget!), clear and calm after the storms of Sunday and the dark of a
powerless Monday. The day was heralded with a blood red, blazing sunrise filled with the din of croaky, adolescent crows. We made sure “the boys” enjoyed a nice morning with their favourite oatmeal scraps while we prepared our rudimentary, open aired slaughter house (ew…that sounds so gross). Noah and Finn set up a butcher’s block in the forest well away from the fence line so that the smell of blood and death did not tempt any midnight marauders.

After all the nerves and apprehension it happened in a bit of blur. In a sensible and matter of fact way the young roosters were seized by the legs and carried upside down towards their end. They immediately relaxed and were quiet as they were walked down death row. With a quick thank you and blessing upon their short lives, they were given a little twirl to make them dizzy and limp, then a stretch of the neck between two nails and “wham” down came the sharp axe. It was a swift and clean cut leaving an animated body less head – eyes flickering and twitchin’ while its body was stuffed neck down in an inverted pylon. One after the other they were taken in the same
way; calmy and quickly and without much blood, or fuss or drama.

The next part of the process was pretty “hands-in” as you will see if you choose to watch below.Warning!!! it’s a bit graphic but an important part of the process.

Feel free to ask any questions…we’re happy to share the little we now know. We give thanks for the wisdom and good nature of our friends as well as all the other folks who have shared their stories and knowledge. We welcome any tips more experienced farmers may have to offer, as no doubt therewill be a next time…as the cycle of life continues around and around.

3 Comments

  1. May 7/10 3:57 PM
    karen says...

    hello…Thank you for sharing with us…
    Did i miss a video on how to do everything up until the gutting??
    I would like to see how you actually did the ending the life (killing isnt a nice word for something at is giving us food)
    The way you guys went about gutting it really made me feel at ease to do my first one..
    THANKS GUYS…Karen

  2. May 8/10 2:48 PM
    Noah Bond says...

    Hi Karen. No you didn’t miss the first video. It all happened so quickly I didn’t even get time to set up the camera. I prefer “ending the life” – much more gentle and appreciative… thanks for that! Good luck! You are welcome to share your story if you feel comfortable. We would love to have other “firsts” and “fledgling farmer” moments to share.

  3. Feb 14/11 2:12 PM
    Noah Bond says...

    Hey there Dave.

    Will check with my tech and get back to you. I’m sure it can be remedied easily.

    thanks for letting me know, Noah

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