Dispatching Chickens For the First Time


During Roy’s last break home I gave him the task of dispatching our one too many roosters. For those of you who are a little squeamish this may not be the post for you, so don’t look at the pictures either – just in case.

Leading up to Roy’s arrival we had two sussex roosters that were clearly full of testosterone and were harassing all the girls. There was fighting between the males and feather plucking. It seemed cruel and I didn’t want my girls who are just about to start laying to be put off. I have fed them for five months I want eggs. Since the two boys were clearly roosters I had my eye on two others that I was just not too sure about. Though one was crowing like a rooster – it has been said that females too can crow. So not having the same physical characteristics as the two boys I decided to leave them for the time being.

Chop day: Roy’s mate Julian from down the road came over to lend a hand for the morning. Isla and I stayed up at the house until the birds were dead. I still got tears in my eyes when I popped down to visit the boys during plucking. Hormones are at 150% when breastfeeding.  Ok back to the birds. The boys discussed methods to help with plucking and the most humane way to kill a bird. After making a decision they came up with a plan.

Roy had earlier put up a funnel to help hold the bird in place on a tree. The tree would also aid in helping pluck the birds by hanging them from their feet. It’s now called the Kill Tree. The method the boys used was to pierce the brain with a metal skewer making for a quick and painless death. Then they would slit the throats to let the blood drain. After they plucked all the feathers, then cut the heads & feet off and gutted the birds. I just realised I don’t even know how they got the guts out. Hopefully Roy can fill you in with more details if you want.

After the job was done, the bird who I thought was a girl was mounting a girl – so he too was a rooster. A few days later the other bird I was not sure about was doing the same thing. Testosterone had set in. Before Roy left he did our other two roosters and did a couple of our neighbours. We now have a few birds in our freezer waiting to be cooked up on the BBQ.

We still have Berk the Rooster for breeding purposes as his temperament is very gentle. Though he is very protective of his ladies, he recently has taken to charging me when I approach to feed them. I am not sure if it is because of the roosters who were testing him and keeping him on his toes. I want soft and gentle Berk back. Each afternoon I am now hand feeding him again to reacquaint myself with him, so we get back to where we use to be.

Do you think you could kill a chicken? or in our case a rooster.

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  1. It is something we have done a few times and Hubby and I share the duties. He swings the axe and I get to do the gutting. It is not that I couldn’t kill a chicken I just prefer not to. And he is squeamish so I do the gutting. We put ours in an old pillowcase that has a corner cut out of it so only the head fits through. This way you can wrap it around the chicken to stop it flapping. There are some post on my blog if you want to check it out.

  2. I couldn’t do it. I just know I couldn’t. I admire people who can though.

  3. I couldn’t do it but it’s all part of life and it happens to the chickens that are on my dinner plate other wise I couldn’t purchase them. Glad hubby and his mate did the deed for you. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

  4. I couldn’t do it but I love that others can. I think it’s the absolute best way to get our meat. i wish I was tough enough but I’m happy buying my chicken from friends up the road who grow and dispatch and sell locally. Yummy, yummy meat and I know their chickens have had wonderful, healthy, happy lives. Good on you guys for doing it and especially Roy! x

  5. Hi there! I’m new to your site. We just processed 5 meat birds for the first time this Spring. My fiance did the “harvesting” and I did the innards, etc. We both scalded the birds and plucked by hand. When we do more next year, we will most definitely need a tumbler/plucker! Looks like they dry plucked these birds? How was that?
    Neither of us grew up as farmers, but we decided that we wanted to take this into our own hands when we moved into our new home. You can read about our experience on my blog: http://farmbrews.blogspot.com/2014/07/now-it-looks-like-chicken-5-tips-for.html

  6. When I moved to Australia, Bear and I decided that I would be part of every project we do on the farm, including butchering. It was hard for me at first, but our friends who taught us explained everything and did it in such a humane way, that now it’s not a traumatic event at all. Instead it’s a time for giving thanks and celebrating. We have two old girls due for the stew pot and a couple of blokes who need to be dispatched as well. It will be good to have my freezer fill up again. 🙂

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