So you think you can slaughter a chicken?

 Think About This Thursday

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This morning I headed out to see my local farmer to pick up a share of heritage pork and grass fed beef to stock my freezer. Grabbed a couple dozen free range eggs while I was there and spent some time chatting while I checked out the new piglets. He told me about his new internship program and a few interesting stories about some of his ‘students’.

Now, let me say that I have thought for YEARS that I would gladly pay my farmer friend to teach me just 1/10 of what he knows about gardening and raising animals. I have tons of garden beds throughout my yard and I am a great planter however I am not so great a grower! That is why I want to take a class! So, I was shocked to learn that he actually pays THEM to come and learn! They have short homework assignments to help them learn the basics of animal husbandry and gardening but primarily this is a hands on field work assignment. This information got me to wondering…what if there were no more farmers left to pass along this information? Would the knowledge of how to raise our own food be lost for ever? Humans wouldn’t last too long without the ability to feed ourselves!

Now, I don’t usually get into the whole ‘end of days’ preparedness type discussions on my blog but it is something I think about. I know (in theory, anyhow…) how to build a water purification system and am pretty sure I could skin a squirrel if I could catch the little bugger but to survive for any length of time would be tough. I think my husband would give up the minute he realized he couldn’t get coffee anymore.

Think about this:  According to the EPA, in 1935, the number of farms in the United States peaked at 6.8 million and today there are approximately 2 million. That is a HUGE drop in the last 80 or so years. Where will we be in another 80 years?

So, say for some reason I am unable to get to my local farmer, a grocery store, or other food source and am forced to begin raising and growing my own food. You know what? I am in a world of trouble!

  • I cannot slaughter a chicken:  Sure, I could RAISE a chicken…feed it, water it, put it to bed at night, etc. Has to be easier than raising kids right? But, honestly, how does one go about slaughtering a chicken? I decided to Google it. That was disturbing. There are YouTube videos on how to properly slaughter chickens. I hope when the end of the world comes I still have Internet access!

  • I have no idea how to can food to feed myself through the winter.  My mother used to can vegetables and my sister has mastered the art as well but it frightens me. My father told me a story once about an exploding pressure cooker full of beets that turned my grandmother’s ceiling pink and I have been afraid to try it. Pink is not a good color for ceilings.

  • Where does one find a cow in these parts? Bartering is a big concept that is pushed in the preparedness circles. I make bread, you raise chickens, lets get together and trade so we can both have a decent breakfast, right? But, the closest cow to me is who knows where?? How in the world to I barter with people who only own useless things like tennis rackets and golf clubs?

Honestly, we as a society are losing huge amounts of knowledge every year that goes by. As agribusiness continues to push out the small farmers, our children move farther and farther away from being able to survive on their own. Saving seeds to propagate for next year’s crops,  knowing the right season to plant and harvest, and even being able to slaughter a chicken are not skills they are teaching our kids in school. Of course, those same schools ARE teaching them useful things like how to build the internet and produce YouTube videos so that the people who DO know how to slaughter chickens can share it with the rest of the world. Yeah, they have nothing to worry about. Me? I’ll be the one chasing the squirrels with a tennis racket.


14 thoughts on “So you think you can slaughter a chicken?”

  1. Thankfully my husband has slaughtered chickens so I’m good there. Of course, our chickens are our friends so I can’t see it coming to that. I have a fairly good range of survival/preparedness skills that I’ve been working on for years. I also have a fully stocked library for reference should I need it. I totally agree that valuable skills are being lost every day. How many of today’s women can actually make bread, can veggies, make yogurt or cheese or would be able to tell an edible wild herb from a poisonous one? If the world as we know it ends, we as a country are in big trouble. You can always move up here & I’ll teach you 🙂

  2. I would be in trouble if it came to raising animals. My husband has been developing his post-apocalyptic skills, but I am sadly behind. One reason I don’t eat meat is I can stand the thought of killing one, so I choose to not someone else do it for me. Definitely food for thought though, especially as we are losing family farmers so steadily!

  3. I generally try to avoid chicken as a meat of choice. I do have a very distinct memory of living on my grandmother’s farm in Poland and seeing a beheaded chicken transformed into soup. The best grandchild (me!!) got the heart. My husband cringes when I tell the story.

  4. we were discussing this for the upcoming zombie apocalypse (yes that part is a joke)
    but really- we are all a bunch of “soft” idiots around here! LOL

  5. Never really thought about it much but you bring up some good points regarding the necessity of agriculture and how we take it for granted. Great post!

  6. while I am squeamish about the idea of butchering my own animals, I wonder how in the world people get protein if they are responsible for their own food. I wonder how much acreage it takes to grow enough soybeans to feed a family? Or nuts? Eggs are easy I guess. I will have to be an egg-i-tarian!

  7. My inlaws raise chickens but we just use the eggs. Those chickens have nothing to worry about except for an occasional possum who sneaks into the coup. And would probably get chased out by us carrying tennis rackets!

  8. I have a feeling, if it came to that point, that I’d have to survive off fruit, veggies, beans and dairy because as much as I love to eat cooked meat, I can’t even stand to take raw chicken out of the package from the store, much less slaughter one! Great post. It is very important to learn how to survive off the land and not just how to drive a car to the nearest grocery store.

  9. Yes, there is a very big ick factor involved in slaughtering your own animals for meat.

    And Ellen, when the end of the world comes and transportation is reduced to foot power, it will take me a while but I will definitely get up there somehow!

  10. I am fortunate, we raise chickens and I know how to slaughter them although my husband and son usually do the hard part. We raise egg layers, so while I won’t waste a chicken, they are only put down once their life has met it’s purpose. Also, mine are free range so they walk around here happily having a large time! I can 90% of our food, including peanut butter, meat and veggies, and I could do a pretty good job feeding us if something drastic happened. I don’t believe the world is ending, but we make a point of teaching our children how to do things so they too will be able to be self-reliant as adults

  11. Personally I think our society is done for. Seriously. Our small farmer has been put out of business by big farmer. Just like our mom and pop businesses have been put out by WalMart, Big Pharma, etc. The corporation farms are in it for one reason – to make money. They develop crops that will ripen quickly at the expense of nutrition. They use poisonous chemicals to fertilize and weed, at the expense of health, and we call it food. And then there’s GMO crops… Don’t get me started.

  12. By the way I was a bit worried about canning too but it’s actually very easy. The key is to have sterilized jars/lids and after filling each jar with hot beets you can just tighten the lids on. The heat will seal the jars themselves without having to boil the lids to seal. Anything cold, like pickles, would have to be boiled to seal the lids but honestly it doesn’t take long to seal so the risk of jars breaking is very slim/rare. I plan on doing a lot more canning this year, now that I have more time for my garden; hopefully I’ll have time to blog about it. 🙂


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