Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Butchering Chickens

For five or six years, we have raised laying hens and enjoyed them immensely, for their eggs, foraging for bugs, and alerting us to predators, as well as for their entertaining antics.  We have kept 4-6 at a time, and named them.  I have never been able to kill any or eat those that died.

However, I do like to eat chicken, so I thought it time to explore raising and butchering meat chickens.   A friend  had the same idea.  So she bought 25 Cornish cross chicks, which are the ones  most commonly raised for meat in the U.S.  We agreed that she would care for them for 6-8 weeks, we would split the cost of purchase and feed, and then my husband and I would join her for the butchering work.  
Restraining cones with occupants

Here is what I learned and what I will do in the future.

When we arrived, my friend was fuming that the development of this breed is unconscionable and she will never buy them again.  The Cornish cross is bred to gain weight so rapidly that by 6-8 weeks (6 weeks for us), they are unable to live with their unnatural weight distribution.  Their hearts, lungs, and legs cannot support them.  Many had respiratory problems, three appeared to have died of heart attacks, and one had a broken leg.  None behaved like her laying hens, which are active, social, and curious roamers.  These chickens were listless and sedentary.  They also SMELLED BAD – which is apparently a known trait.   Her daughter cried at the state of them.

We set up the butchering area outside for five of us to work:

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Interview by James Wesley Rawles of

Click here to read an interview of us by James Wesley Rawles of

 It begins with summaries of key topics, followed by specific questions, such as the biggest challenges of living as remotely as we do.

 His website includes lots of articles that may be of interest to readers of this blog.