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Monday, November 28, 2011

Chicken processing (butchering) on our farm

If I had any remaining questions about my existence as a "real" farmer... those were put to rest last Friday.  The day after Thanksgiving was spent here on the farm with my husband and a friend, processing chickens.  You see, we have never butchered a chicken before.  So many of my customers have asked us to raise real chicken meat for sale.  I can raise the meat chickens, but in order to sell the meat I would have to drive them to the nearest federally-inspected facility to have them butchered (5 hour drive each way), or..... butcher & process them here on the farm for sale. 

So we had a friend who grew up on a farm come over and teach us.  Overall, it was a pretty simple procedure, although since it was the first time for all of us it took a very long time.  I do feel it was done in the most humane way possible - we care for these chickens every day and wanted their ending to be quick and painless.  And it was.

The 10 chickens we processed are now in the freezer.... it may be awhile before we feel up to actually eating any of them, but I'm sure we'll get over that soon enough.... just like we were able to get past the fear of processing them ourselves.

Next year will be a great year - we'll be raising pastured poultry for our customers - Chicken & Turkey!  And if all goes as planned, they will never leave our farm their entire lives.  They'll live out their days eating pasture, organic garden produce, and organic grain - while outdoors and never caged or treated inhumanely.  They'll meet their end by our hands in as humane a manner as possible.

If one cares for animals, but still wants to eat meat.... isn't this the way it should go?

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  1. Your post is so important to me because we will be working toward doing the same thing this coming year. And your comment about all of those chickens sitting in the freezer, but that it will probably take a long time before you'll be able to actually eat them...I can relate. I don't know HOW I'll be able to take the first bite of the first chicken that we processed. It will be a LONG, HARD swallow for that first bite. It makes me have such great respect for farmers. And, it seems that some many people don't understand that the strong feelings of most farmers to be good to their animals, even the ones that are going to be processed, is because those animals, even though they're destined for the dinner table, are to be treated with care. Doubtless, it's a dirty job to process meat, but I don't apologize for having chicken with my dumplings!! However, I do want to do everything as humanely as possible. Thank you for sharing. And if you get the stomach for it, a lesson in processing would be great! EEKKK!!

  2. Good for you. I did several this year myself.