I was thinking about ordering a dozen or so meat birds this fall, my husband who likes meat far more than I, was pretty much on board. I wanted to do this a part of being more self-sufficient and also feeling like if I was going to eat meat I should have the responsibility of processing my own animals at least once in awhile and really respect how they get to the table. Lucky me was perusing Craig's list and saw that a feed store in town had 8 week old meat birds on sale, 5 for $20. They were not organic, but you couldn't even raise a meat bird conventionally for $4, so we brought them home yesterday morning and this morning we got up at dawn to dress them.
I won't give you details, but it didn't go as smoothly as you would hope. We used a killing cone made out of a very large plastic apple cider vinegar bottle and a very big knife. We opted to go for decapitation instead of bleeding them out or any of the other methods because we thought the chickens would suffer the least this way. Plucking the chickens took us forever (about an hour each), soooo many little pinfeathers. It was so frustrating that we skinned the last three. I was in charge of gutting, which was more nauseating than I was prepared for. (This is coming from someone who loved to draw and paint from cadavers when I used to have the opportunity.)
I thought I would feel proud of myself, or at least like now I earned my right to eat meat, but mostly I just feel sick. I have no desire to eat chicken for a verrry long time. These birds will be vacuum-sealed and frozen and will not go to waste, but it will be awhile. I know most people have better outcomes and feel a great sense of accomplishment, but both of us are leaning more towards being mostly vegetarians and will never butcher chickens again.