Pastured Poultry Butchering

Kids say the darndest things. The topic of where our food comes from was raised in my new Science classroom a few year back. I’m still in shock at Tony’s ‘enlightened’ response on the origin of meat. “From the ground,” he said. I probed. I never pass up these entertainment opportunities.

“So, it’s kinda like planting corn,” I asked.

“Yep. You plant some meat in the ground and it grows,” he said with confidence. That, my friend, is called job security.

Tony, if you’re reading this, you can stop wondering where pastured chickens come from. Matronofhusbandry over at Throwback at Trapper Creek gave me permission to share this with you and the Sherpa crowd. I love their site. It chronicles the similarities and differences of homesteading on a 1881 farm and in present day.  Located in the Pacific Northwest, their goal is to be as self-sufficient as possible. Our kind of folk. Take some time to read their musings and practical articles.

Now for the featured article. HEED the WARNING for the squeamish, vegans, and/or vegetarians.

Not for the squeamish…

June 28, 2008


Last supper – really it is last lunch.

[Click here to view their short Pastured Poultry video]

Here is what those adorable chicks I showed you 8 weeks ago, turned into.  Grass and grain eating and pooping fertilizing fools.   I’ve just moved them to fresh grass, and am watering them, you can see them grazing and doing the contented chicken leg and wing stretch.  They have had an enjoyable eight weeks.  I always think if I was a dog, I would want to be one of my dogs, and if I was a chicken, I would want to be one of my chickens… .

We withhold the feed the afternoon before processing the chickens.  They receive water and fresh grass, but no grain.  This allows the crop  and the rest of the digestive system to clear out.  This step is important,  a clean crop and a flushed out intestinal tract make life a little more pleasant during this task.

We loaded them into our crates during the dark, they stay calm and settle right down in their crates.  They were going to get to travel and see other chickens in the nearby state of Washington at our friends farm, who let us come over and butcher when they do.  On the slate for the day:  4 adults and an assortment of kids from age 9 – 16 were going to  butcher 500 chickens and be cleaned up by lunchtime. This is in addition to doing chores as usual, on three farms They had 365, their friend from church had 70, and we were bringing 71.  We were home by noon.

As an aside to people who might be bothered by this post – I worked today alongside a nine year girl teaching her how to butcher a chicken.  Her biggest concern?  Her apron was a little too big, and the straps kept slipping off of her arms.  She was a trooper.  She stuck with it and like a good trail horse, she was bombproof, even getting playful and making a dead chicken fart, by bouncing it on the table.  I don’t think she wonders where her food comes from.

This post will be long on pictures, but I will try to explain each so you can see how we spent our day.  I’m still number crunching – I’m scared to see how much they cost me, but the accountant in me has to know to the penny.

Crossing the Columbia River, looking east towards home.

Yep, this is the place.

Jerseys and broiler pens.

Missy, our greeter.

New baby chicks.

*****WARNING***** the party is over!


Read the rest here and stop wondering where our food comes from


Categories: Food Storage, Homesteading, Lost Skills, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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