??? re: butchering your own farm animals

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by stef, Aug 18, 2006.

  1. stef

    stef Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I so admire and respect the many of you on this forum for your skills and talents, and how you exercise them in working towards your goal of self-sufficiency. There is one topic, however, that seldom (I did not say 'never') comes up and that is butchering your own chickens and rabbits and ducks, hogs and cows, etc.
    If you have done it, or you currently do it, how difficult was it for you?
    Although I can see myself doing almost any task around the farm, that's one I'd have great trouble making myself do. I buy from the grocery store, and the most I do is cut up a whole chicken. I don't know if I could take a living thing and kill it (although I have no scruples about eating it afterwards). Once the killing was done, I could cut up and pluck and cook, etc. But the butchering, right now I don't think so.
    Stef
     
  2. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    The "butchering" IS the cutting up . Its the "slaughtering " that has you wondering LOL
     

  3. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If they die instantly, you can do it. It's when you do it wrong and don't get a quick kill that is hard. If you hang chickens upside down and slit the neck properly, they wonder what is going on, then pass out before they know anything is wrong. This is not a quick kill, but I think it is humane.
     
  4. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We used to do it, But right now ain't got anything needs to be put in the freezer. Or anything old enough. I can remember when my father had A bodt cast on and he butchered A large hog . With just my mother and older brother to help. And that was 45 years ago. So if A person in A body cast can do it theres NO reason that folks who are physicaly able can't..
     
  5. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    I do all my own butchering cows, poultry everything, It is hard sometimes but We like meat and I think if you eat meat you ought to know where it is coming from and atleast I know my animals had a good life while I raised em.
     
  6. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    It's truly like anything else--changing a diaper and getting poop on your hands, having a child vomit directly onto your lap, putting your pet dog to sleep at the vet--it gets easier the more you do it. I think everyone gets that little quiver in their throat the first few times, but my trick has always been to remind myself that it was better for this animal to have been raised and slaughtered humanely by me than to live (and end) its life in a factory farm.
     
  7. beorning

    beorning Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure as to why, but my feelings about slaughtering change from animal to animal. I have no qualms about killing chickens or fish, maybe because I don't relate to them much. Mammals are harder. Regardless, I do OK as long as I know that I am slaughtering in the quickest most humane way possible. I believe that the difficulty is part of the process and keeps us respectful of what has to be sacrificed in order to feed ourselves. It always has kept me aware and concerned about being sure that the animals live a good and pleasant life before they are slaughtered.
     
  8. cmonkey

    cmonkey Well-Known Member

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    Because this will be our first foray into mammals, I'm hiring someone to come out and do them, so I can watch and learn. He has a mobile unit, and his brother has a processing shop (mostly deer in the fall but out of deer season he'll do anything you bring him). After that, I plan on doing it myself. Okay, with help, I'm not all that big. But ITA with PP who said that these animals have a *much* better life _and_ death than those in CAFOs and federal abattoirs. When we moved out here, we decided that if we couldn't slaughter our own animals, at least once, we had no business eating at the top of the food chain. So far we've done chickens and DH hunts Bambi in the back 10. I plan on moving us into the livestock arena with goats to start, then we'll try a pig. I don't want my kids to think meat comes from a styrofoam tray; I want them to be engaged in the world, and that means understanding that if they eat meat, some animal has to die, and they can have a direct effect on how that animal lives out its life, and how it ends.

    -M
    ...rambly
     
  9. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    Might I humbly recommend that you start with a rabbit or chicken before a pig?
     
  10. Farmer Willy

    Farmer Willy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It gets easier--I reckon that's the sad part. Get's easier to move up the food chain also, that's the scary part.
     
  11. AnnaS

    AnnaS Well-Known Member

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    Once you have chased the $*&%$ chickens through the woods, around the house, into the barn, then spent a half hour trying to snag one... you will WANT to kill it.
     
  12. quietstar

    quietstar Well-Known Member

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    Your concerns show your basic respect for life. If you provide a healthy, contented life for your livestock and complete the process with a quick, humane kill, you have carried that respect to an honorable, honest conclusion...Thats the way I see it. Those of us that grew up in family groups that butchered hogs and cattle every fall have found a more comfortable acceptance to work from, but I will always feel a bit sad and appreciative for the life taken. Thats who I am....Glen
     
  13. silverbackMP

    silverbackMP Well-Known Member

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    LOL
     
  14. 6e

    6e Farm lovin wife Supporter

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    Amen Anna!!!!!!!! Lol
     
  15. Simpler1773

    Simpler1773 Well-Known Member

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    Is there anyone who can help you thru it the first couple of times? We had a neighbor friend come and kill our chickens the first two times, and now I am fairly confident I'll be able to do it the next time (I reserve the right to change my mind...lol).

    Having someone who's done it before help you was best for me.

    Ricki
     
  16. cmonkey

    cmonkey Well-Known Member

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    We've already done chickens. We're advancing to mammals 101.
     
  17. silvergirl

    silvergirl Well-Known Member

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    We have killed and dressed our own poultry, but I have hesitated to kill our rabbits and our kid goat because I don't know how to kill them quickly and professionally. The chickens and guineas were easier, although it still tugged a little at my heart, because I knew how to kill them quickly - hanging them upside down and quickly slitting their throats. Can anyone tell me the fastest, cleanest way to kill rabbits and young meat goats?
     
  18. jehehmeyer

    jehehmeyer Longing for home!

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    I haven't "slaughtered" animals. I do kill them when I hunt. It is not quite the same. I would say to slaughter the animals in the quickest yet safe manner. Yes it is serious business. When you are up to you elbows in innards, you'll understand that. Having gone through the kill, dress, and butcher cycle many times. I end up being thankful and I get upset if I screw up cooking the meat. I do feel better for having done it myself. I think I kill the animal quicker, in a less stressful situation (for the animal), and definitely in a cleaner environment. --Good Luck.
     
  19. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

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    Stef, I agree it's still hard to take a life... and all the justifications - don't quite do it - yet. And I'm still only doing chickens.

    I keep thinking maybe if I knew a "thank you for your life ritual" it'd help.
     
  20. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Rabbits are not much in my experience but the quickest, most efficient, painless way to kill a goat kid(or grown goat), is a shot to the back of the skull, angled toward the lower jaw. They go straight down and never utter a peep. They will make a few reflex movements as everything does after a quick death, don't worry, if you shot it as I described, it *is* dead. I have easily done over 50 goats ranging in age from 2 months to 2 years, using this method. It does work and I feel good about knowing that it did not suffer.