Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dead chicken walking

Chicken butchering day is quickly approaching. If I have time to do it this weekend, I'll do it. Otherwise, it may have to wait until after Thanksgiving.

Before the dog attack this summer, we were planning to butcher about twenty chickens. After the attack, that number was reduced significantly. Right now I have seven roosters and eleven hens. If I want to hatch my own eggs next spring, I'll need to keep two roosters. Three, to be on the safe side. So that means four roosters have got to go.

I've made my choices. On the poultry equivalent of death row are:

My buff orpington rooster.

My three newer Ameracauna (Easter egger) roosters.

Those roosters spared from the chopping block are:

My old broken-toe Ameracauna rooster. He's over three years old now, and his meat would probably be too tough to eat. Besides, he's proven himself a survivor, he and the two remaining older hens. And he's not aggressive at all toward people, as some roosters become.

My brown leghorn rooster. Being a leghorn, there wouldn't be much meat on him anyway. And I think he's purdy.

Lastly, my salmon faverolle roo. He wins a spot on the living list because after the dog attack, when my injured hen (also a salmon faverolle) was hiding in the coop recovering from her injuries, he stayed with her and kept her company. Yeah, I'm a big softy. Not a softy enough to let all the chickens live, of course.

I'm a little nervous about the whole butchering experience. I've done it on another person's farm, with other people's help, but never here by myself. Hubby will be helping, of course. Hubby will do the actual deed, and I'll do the hot water dunk. Hubby will pull off the feathers, and I'll do the gutting. It's all very straight forward. I've got everything planned. I've done it before, and I know I can do it this time.

But I'm still nervous.


Mama Pea said...

Yeah, I don't know anybody that actually enjoys "doing in" their chickens. (And I'm kinda glad I don't!) But, as you say, you've done it before so you know what you're doing. Imagine if you were doing it for the first time, with no experience, and just a book in front of you!

jenny said...

Good luck! At least you'll have your husbands' help. My husband is umm "sensitive" to the sight of blood, so I had to do it all alone. First time, I had my uncle show me how, 2nd time I did it alone. Took me a few minutes to get up the gumption to chop the head off. *gulp!* I felt bad about it for awhile, but I'm ok with it now. Luckily for my current chickens, I only have 2 roosters left, so no worries for them until Spring comes...

Karen said...

I absolutely do NOT want to be at your house when you do this. I would be ubernervous too! Do chickens really run with their heads cut off? Make sure the axe is sharp...nothing like a dull blade to belabor the process!!!
By the way, how would you feel, if, in January, I make a solo trip to your house for just one night? If I leave Tuesday morning (8:00 a.m.), I would get there by noon and stay the night. I could return after breakfast the next day. I wouldn't miss any work and I could save my days off for Easter!!!

Erin said...

Jo, wow, death row! But you can do it... I have read and read about it, but I am sure nothing will prepare me for the first time! Good luck to you. I am getting ready to leave town any day to head to MN, so if I don't comment, it's only because I am on my husband's netbook with spotty internet, but will be reading your updates for sure, lol!

Jo said...

Hi Mama Pea -- Yeah, that's why I went and participated in the process at the other farm. So I wouldn't be working blind!

Hello Jenny -- Thanks for the luck, I'll need it! Yeah, seven roosters is just to many. Two is more manageable.

Hello Erin! Have fun on your trip to MN! The weather has been really nice recently, hope it stays sunny and dry for your trip.

Hey Karen! What do you mean you don't want to be at my house when I do this? I could save you a rooster, you know, for your next visit, if you like! Then you can see for yourself whether they run around after the deed is done!

I think you taking a trip out to see us in January would be super great. Super great! Just give me a heads up ahead of time so I can take the days off, if I don't have them off already. Love ya!

Karen said...

Absolutely I will! Mom expressed an interest in joining me. This will give both Mom and Dad a break. I'm grateful that I can spend a couple of days a week at their house. Dad is able to go to the gym and I get to spend time with Mom. Wish you were here though.

Lucky Lizard Ranch said...

wishing you good luck and good aim!
you will do an awesome job and will have fresh broth, soup, roasts, etc! thankfully you have a manageable number, last time we did it we did 40, talk about a long stinky day!

Cat said...

Your Salmon Faverolle roo is gorgeous! We have only one, a Barred Rock, (we live in the suburbs but can have up to twelve chickens) in with our nine hens, but he's getting pretty noisy. Not sure I have the guts to do him in myself since we hatched him from an egg a few months back, so he may go to live with friends in the country.

Jo said...

Hi Karen -- Yes, bring Mom along too. I'm jealous of your time with M&D these days.

Howdy Liz! 40 chickens? Wow. Kudos to you! I'm kinda glad we don't have more too, especially since we have no freezer space at the moment!

Hello Cat -- It's great that you get to have chickens in the 'burbs. I understand about the noisy roo, you don't want the neighbors to start complaining. It helps if you share eggs with them, though!

Unknown said...

Did you kill them yet? The 2nd ameraucana looks nice.

Jo said...

Actually, I haven't killed them yet. It's been so cold all winter and I'm a big wimp-o. Strangely enough, I've met a lady who would like to take two of the ameracaunas to add to her home flock. So it looks like two of them will get a stay of execution. The others will likely be put into the freezer soon -- all those roos are driving my hens crazy.

Unknown said...

thanks for replying. The second ameraucana has quite a look and i think you should give the other two away and kill the buff orpington. Save the ameraucana and 3 others and that will be good for the hens.