Processing Broiler Chickens

| 10/13/2009 4:48:00 PM

Hank and Missy the Katahdin lamb.The GRIT and MOTHER EARTH NEWS Community Chicken project came to closure last Sunday when 8 people gathered at my Osage County Kansas farm to kill and clean the commercial broilers we had been raising on range for the past 12 weeks or so. The event brought together a most unlikely group of editors, spouses, advertising sales people, teacher, librarian and medical intern. Most of these folks had never taken a vertebrate animal's life with their bare hands. Most had never felt the slickness of warm offal. Most had never been that up close and personal with the animals whose lives help sustain us.

 Featherman Killing Cones

MOTHER EARTH NEWS Sr. Associate Editor Troy Griepentrog and I took responsibility for raising the birds and supplemented their diet of bugs and clover with an antibiotic-free grower ration, which is part of the Homestead line offered by Hubbard Feeds. We kept the birds enclosed, and safe from predators with electric net fences and chargers supplied by Kencove and Premiere One. Feeders, knives, fowl catchers, waterers, chicks, hatching eggs and a vacuum sealer were all supplied by the various advertisers listed prominently on the Community Chickens website.

 Featherman Scalder

Killing any animal with your bare hands, is never easy – at least when you don’t do it every day. When I demonstrated a humane way to nick the birds’ jugular, using killing cones supplied by Featherman to restrain the birds, there was a hush among the group as folks reflected on what it means to take (and honor) a life and accept the animal’s gift of sustenance. When the blood flowed freely, some people turned away. My daughter, Alaina told me later she thought she was going to cry. To paraphrase Joel Salatin, it isn’t good to kill chickens too often, because you run the risk of becoming desensitized and of taking their lives for granted. That definitely was not the situation at the farm on Sunday.

 Featherman Chicken Plucker

5/10/2015 10:42:38 PM

Does the plucker also remove the outer skin from their feet or would that be a separate process?

Anabell Jones
11/18/2013 2:14:46 PM

Plucker? That's what fingers are for...LOL

Brandon Mitchell
6/30/2010 4:03:55 PM

Joel Salatin is definately a good influence in any area of agriculture. His book, Pastured Poultry Profits is a good addition to the library for anyone interested in chickens, especially broilers.

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