Farm Chronicles: Youth in Asia

 A chicken was harmed in the making of this blog entry.

*This contains a graphic description of a chicken slaughter.*


Chickens are not supposed to have dingleberries but this one did. Prolapse chicken was once again walking the yard with a significant portion of her guts following behind. I tried to remedy the situation again, but this was far worse.

I knew the time had come.

I consulted with my chicken whisperer and she confirmed: prolapse chicken had to be culled.

I knew zero about the process so I spent a day on YouTube watching farmers cull chickens.

Requirements for slaughter:
A pot of boiling water 145 degrees
A sharp knife
The cone of slaughter

According to YouTube, the most humane way to slaughter a chicken is to use a cone to cradle the bird upside down. You grab the head, stretch the neck, and slice. One farmer used a double tap method that involved slicing the neck then stabbing the brain through the mouth. I’m a complete novice so I took the simpler route.

I let the chicken fast for more than 24 hours to clear her system. She was kept well hydrated and isolated from the flock.

I surprised myself with how straightforward I was able to handle the job. It was done as quickly and humanely as I could manage

This morning I gathered the tools, boiled the water, nailed the cone to a garden fence post and grabbed the chicken. Her back end was covered in muck after living two days without a working butthole. I could not fix it and I could not let her suffer.

I walked to to the garden and placed her upside down in the cone. It was a traffic cone we found on the property. I modified it by slicing the narrow end. Too wide. The chicken ended up with her feet near her face. Nothing for it, I had to get this done.

I grabbed her neck and applied force with the blade. Then I applied more force to remove the head quick. The neck gave and the body did a dance in the cone for 10 or so seconds but I was transfixed by the head that was moving in my hand. The beak clacked in my hand for a few seconds. The eyes were closed. Then everything was still. I was breathing like I had just run a four minute mile.

I grabbed the bird and headed to the boiling water. The scalding loosens the feathers for easy removal. Almost. The feathers came off easily enough but some were quite tough to get to.

Then came the gutting. The biggest thing about removing the guts is to avoid bursting the intestines or the gall bladder, thus spoiling the meat. It requires you to shove your hand in the still warm bird and grab everything while loosening the connective tissues from the body cavity. You would think that the job was already half done seeing the original injury. I managed to get everything without spoilage, but it took a while.

And then it was done. I stood for a moment and realized that I could barley keep my eyes open. I was exhausted. I realized I was coming down from the adrenaline spike I’d experienced. I took a well earned nap. I’m satisfied that I can do what’s needful.


Yolanda McGee View All →

An escape from the suburbs and corporate America spawned a journey into rural living. Writer, wife, mother, and local chicken lady, join me as I fail, fail, fail! and learn along the way.

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