At first I wasn't going to post this here but instead on a separate page so people who didn't want to see these photos wouldn't accidentally come across them. But then I realized... you're reading a farm blog right now, and this is where our food comes from. If you eat meat or eggs or even wear things that are made with leather, then this is something you should probably accept happens in order to make those products you take off the shelf. If fact, it's much better than where your food and animal products are probably coming from now because this little bird had a good start in life and was killed quickly and processed with respect. So here it is, with no apologies - my first slaughter:
One of our Cornish Cross meat birds wasn't doing so well. Her right leg was injured in some invisible way because she wouldn't stand on it, and I let it go for a while hoping she'd recover. Now her brothers and sisters are at least twice her size, and she couldn't get to the food and water because they all pushed her to the side. In other words - it was time for my first slaughter.
I had never killed anything larger than a spider (*shudder at spiders*), so I was extremely nervous and anxious until Saturday rolled around. Like... freaking out kind of anxious. Not only was I scared because I'd never killed anything, but I also wanted to make sure I did it right (aka fast) and also butchered her correctly so we could actually use the meat. I read all that I could and watched a few YouTube videos and gained confidence. Since we were only doing one little bird, we didn't set up everything we plan to for the big slaughter day (July 8th) like the scalder and plucker and killing cones. So this was done a bit more rustically (is that a word - cause it should be. Most of my life is lived pretty rustically).
First, she and I bonded a bit. By which I mean I carried her around until I calmed enough to do it without shaking.
I told the duckies to turn away:
Then I did it. It was quick. I didn't cry either!
We scalded her (dipped her in very hot water to loosen the feathers), then Dave plucked her. She started to look like food once the feathers were gone.
This is the part where I got nervous again. If I accidentally cut her intestines or her gallbladder, we wouldn't be able to use the meat, so I put a lot of pressure on myself to do this right so her life wouldn't have been a waste.
It took me about 30 minutes (at least 10 times longer than it should have), but I did it! It actually felt a lot like high school science class once I got started. I felt a whole lot of pride, and I felt like a real farmer.
Here's our 1.3lb cornish hen - is it bad that at the end i said, "Wow! She looks like real food!"
Jen & Dave Paul, owners & operators of Old Post Farm