Monday, August 15, 2016

Slaughtering roosters - part II

What a way to start a monday.....
I had to take care of the last 3 roosters today. They were harassing the young hens far too much, causing a great deal of stress. The circumstances were a bit different this time. For starters I was alone plus this time there were 3 of them. It wasn't raining however, just windy and overcast.
The roosters were relatively easily caught, limiting the stress considerably for both them and me. This time I used a flat stick, as show in the video in the previous post. It knocked them out faster, but not as fast as in the video. I found myself striking a second time, just to make the eyes stop blinking at me. However cutting the throat caused 2 out of 3 to start flapping anyway, but the third one went down right away. Or so I thought. When I was preparing the first one to get dressed (now that sounds weird, but that's what you do when cleaning them up; dressing an animal) I caught movement from the corner of my eye. The third one was NOT down. And when I approached it to finish it off quickly, it was gasping. When I hit it in the neck with my hatchet, it"flew" up, scaring the living bejezus out of me. It sprayed the area, including me, with blood before going down and for good this time, but left me seriously rattled. Good thing was I had killed them all 3 in a row, otherwise I'd've quit there and then.
After I had caught myself again, I started the same procedure as before. Carefully cutting the skin around the legs and skinning them. There are 3 really hard parts to skin; the edges of the forearm, where the large feathers are attached are the first 2. It takes some considerable force to tear the skin off here.
The other area is the lower back, where the tailfeathers are attched; a patch of app. 5cm in diameter.

When skinning a rooster, you'll find the skin is very tough. It will not tear easy and is quite rough on the edge of your knife! The knife loses its edge fast and cutting through the tendons of the wing joints it doesn't get any better. So keep your knives sharpened! It will make your job sooo much easier.

Another thing to consider is that the membranes on the inside, the ones keeping the intestines in place, as remarkably tough as well. Simply scooping out the intestines is not possible. You'll have to tear those membranes, freeing the organs.
When exposed to the air and wind, the membranes on the outside quickly dry, making them too tough and hard to cut through. By the time I was making my way through the process on rooster nr.2 had started going rigid.
I ruined both the first 2 roosters. I messed up liver and gallbladder with the first, cut up the anus and tore the intestines of the second. I lost heart after that, so ended up "donating" the 3 carcasses to Mother Earth. This way at least some creature will be able to feed and feast on it.

So very little to show for this time, apart from a good number of mistakes, but I guess that's where I learn from. The killing in itself and the aftermath had a little less impact this time, though. Maybe because I didn't drag it out?

Why did I mention earlier that I was alone? It makes a difference (to me) mentally. There's no one to talk to to take your mind of what you're doing and above all no one to give you advice or suggestions. Just the very act of talking is calming in this process. So this time I was quite tense. The repetition of the hard killings not making it any easier. However killing them fast after each other resulted in a knot in the stomach just once, afterwards.

But even today we did receive a reward. The mrs. collected some eggs yesterday and this morning; 3 in total. But today our youngest daughter found some more in a dark corner! We are home producing food!!


  1. Ron, sorry I am just plopping in after a couple months of vanishing in travels. I had not read your other posts yet will go there next. One question though: why do you skin the roosters??

    1. a couple of months vanished in travel? Hmmm sounds like a darn good reason for not reading, doesn't it?
      We skinned them to save time on the plucking. I had no idea how long the whole process would take, so I went for the fast option. No need for the feathers anyway.

  2. Thanks for telling the story of what happened. Those that make killing of the meat animals always make it sound so easy and it is not. I always watched my dad clean the meat animals he killed. He had years and years of practice and in those years I have no idea when he got good at it. I'm certain that my grandfather made him clean his own animals as a kid so you can see he probably started very young. Think about using a killing cone next time and scalding and plucking them. When they're "naked" it is so much easier to see what you're cutting. Go Ron Go. I am so proud of you for earning your merit badge for chicken processing.