Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mondays with Marcia Lowry-Butcher Day the Kind Way

In April we set fertile eggs from both our meat and egg hens in the incubator to hatch 21 days later in May. Out of these we typically get 10-15 butcher birds and 5 or so replacement layers. This year we had a bad hatch and only ended up with 3 roosters to butcher and 5 laying hens. Today was THE DAY for the boys. They have lived a healthy, stress-free life up to now and the killing process was swift and I hope, merciful.

Pict. #1 - hanging to bleed out
Pict. #2 - headless in scalding water to loosen the feathers for plucking ease
Pict. #3 - evisceration - gizzard and liver among intestines (Mel - you would have LOVED all the fat!)
Pict. #4 - the finished product - two 5 pounders and one 4 pounder. It took me about 1 hour from start to freezer.

(My friend Marcia is living the sustainable lifestyle...off the grid, in Wyoming)


Mel said...

I remember being about 9 years old...at a relatives farm. Watched as about 10 chickens were butchered and we got to pull the feathers out after..no hot water first. My aunt's and mom made homemade eggs noodles to go with the chicken. Honestly...I couldn't eat chicken for about 3 years...but it wasn't about the humane slaughter... It was plucking all of those feathers out!

The final product looks great..and the innards look so large and plump.

Cynthe said...

This is how chicken is prepared in Pakistan, where I lived most of my childhood (2.5-13 years old).

No hot water for us either. No hot running water in the house. Supposed we could have boiled some though.

Being an animal lover, I found it weirdly horrifying. Still can picture the exact scene, 50 years later, with those chickens 'running around with their heads cut off.' And know where that expression comes from!

Certainly could never butcher any animal myself...and was totally GROSSED out by the feel-smell of the raw flesh / chicken fat when we plucked the feathers!! Ate the cooked meat w/o a problem though.

However, I'm a long-time vegetarian partly because I could never raise and slaughter animals myself. It's appropriate for those who do choose to eat meat, to truly be okay with the slaughter.

Marcia said...

Mel - The hot water does make the de-feathering easier but the smell of wet hot feathers is NOT pleasant.

Cynthe - I do find that I have to be in a certain frame of mind to do the butchering - be it chickens, lambs, pigs, or wild game. I just remember that they (at least the domestic ones) were raised for this purpose and that they received excellent care and the best feed possible. And, I do have some livestock "pets" - sheep, a lovable milk cow, and elderly hens among other critters that get to live out their lives here.
Thanks for the great comment!