For the most part we don’t eat meat. I am less picky than Ben. I will eat something containing chicken broth or bits of chicken if someone i know has made it for me, mostly soup. I prefer not to, but if it is what the meal is i will probably eat it. We do not buy or prepare meat for ourselves. That being said we keep chickens for eggs.
In Seattle we can own 8 chickens. And while 8 chickens lay more eggs than 3 people should eat, i do a lot of baking so more eggs are always nice, and sometimes i need to bribe the neighbors. I realized that at some point, when the chickens stopped laying, i would need to figure out what to do with them. It would be great if there was some retirement home for elderly chickens, but there isn’t really. And i feel it is my responsibility. While i know that i would have issues eating my own chickens (it took me a few weeks before i could eat their eggs), i am not opposed to someone eating them.
Most of the people i would give the chicken to for eating would not really be up to preparing the chicken, so i felt that it was something i had to learn. That coupled with the fact that sometimes chickens get sick or injured and the best thing is to help end their pain. We decided before we got chickens that they would not be going for doctors visits, so we would need to figure out how to handle the situation ourselves. So i took a class.
I got back about 30 mins ago. My hands have been washed 5 times with soap and hot water, but they still smell slightly of freshly killed chicken. I did not bring my own chicken to cull, but someone in the class was kind enough to let me cull one of their chickens. It was a lot easier than i thought it would be. Of course that might have something to do with it being someone else’s chicken. I held the chicken for a while to calm it down. Then i lowered it into a cone and pulled its head through the hole in the other side. The chicken was really calm, and still. Slit, and drain. Once the blood stopped dripping you take the bird and dip it in scolding soapy water for about 10 dips to loosen up the feathers. After that the feather came off very easily. Strangely enough i found it more difficult to gut the dead bird than i found to cut its throat, but i did it. It was a good learning experience. I do not wish to do it often but i now know that i can do it if it needs to be done.