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Using Laying Hens for Meat

When your hen’s egg-producing days are done, send her off humanely with one last meal.

By Cynthia Amidon


Step 2: Butcher Chickens

Butcher chicken
Photo by Stephanie Staton
Heidi Chester holds the chicken by its feet while her husband chops off the head.

Heidi begins the butchering process by trussing the feet of the chickens. She then holds them by their feet so their necks are against the chopping block. Because Ken is more adept with the axe, it is his responsibility to quickly and efficiently chop off the heads of the hens.

Heidi prefers to maintain her hold on the chickens until they stop flailing, letting the blood drain out onto the ground adjacent to the block; this takes from 30 seconds to a minute and minimizes bruising to the meat. The carcass is subsequently hung by its trussed feet on nails pounded into the nearby woodshed until all the chickens are slaughtered. Some people prefer to use a killing cone to keep the hen still.


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Using Laying Hens for Meat

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Reader Comments
I found this article very helpful. My husband and I did some research on how chickens raised in commercial production are confined, fed/treated w hormones and the horrific way their lives are ended. We have done our homework on raising chickens and are in the process of building a coop in order to raise our own chickens. We intend for the hens to be dual purpose. I know that culling the hens will be very difficult for both of us but we believe knowing how the hens were raised, treating them well throughout their life and ending their life in the most humane/least stressful way possible will give us a reverence for the meat they provide. For us, its not that they died, its how they lived. It is alot easier to go through the drive through at KFC/restaurant/etc or pick up that package of chicken at the grocery store; someone else has done the dirty work for you.
Joya, International
Posted: 3/29/2015 6:20:05 AM
I find this to be a very useful and interesting post. Our forefathers had the integrity to kill their own meat but the world has let corporations grow into huge inhumane facilities because whiny too good to get dirty so called animal lovers are actually causing animals to suffer more because of their avoidance of once natural processes. Don't put others down because you do not have the gumption to do your own killing!
Charles, Symsonia, KY
Posted: 2/6/2015 12:01:57 PM
I dislike it intensely, they have every right to live!
Sue, International
Posted: 11/3/2014 3:24:54 AM
Very innteresting and I know its a natural cycle and much more humane than commetcial poultry facilities, but my girls will live their lives out witj no fear s they are pets that happen to pay back
Judy, Raynham, MA
Posted: 11/26/2012 6:31:50 AM
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