Could You Kill Your Own Meat?

there are no words

I bought a chicken the other day (bear with me, this story gets more interesting) and, while seasoning the beast, noticed that there was a little packet of something stuffed into its chest cavity.

At first I was all like: “awww, it’s a little present tucked in there”. Then I pulled it out and was all like: “oooh there’s some….blood….and slime….and OMG IT’S CHICKEN PARTS

Specifically the chicken’s knobbly, wrinkly, fleshy neck and its tiny, slimy liver.

what a helpful graphic!

Not the worst present I’ve ever received (my cousin gave me a bottle of Barbie shampoo for my 16th birthday – 16th!) but still, pretty poor.

While I appreciate the nutritional value of animal parts (provided they are from an animal that’s not been stuffed full of antibiotics, hormones or GM soy/corn), they kinda gross me out.

I used to be a veggie! To me, a liver is something I throw red wine at on the weekends.

But that brings me to the question in the title – could you kill your own meat?

aaargh, they’re fighting back!

Hubby and I flirt with the idea of getting our own chickens but we both know that’s impossible until a) we get a bigger place b) we do our research and c) we both get comfortable with the idea of DIY slaughtering.

We’re not alone in our chicken farmer fantasy.

There’s a lot of people out there getting their own chickens, goats, even sheep. And I’m not talking about people living in the ‘burbs. Even city slickers are getting in on the act.

But is urban animal farming even a good idea? This blogger seems to think so but this article at Slate very firmly says no, it’s a dangerous new ‘fad’.

The writer’s reasons include a lack of consideration for your neighbours, inexperienced wannabes, desensitivity to the animals and a lack of space.

The article seems to take particular umbrage against so-called ‘hipster’ types who think owning and killing their own chickens will somehow enhance their street cred.

not sure what this shirt would do to your street cred. Probably kill it.

I can see that but I think there needs to be a very clear distinction made between those urban yuppies who get a few chicks because they’re tired of running to the store for eggs, and those who are taking responsibility for their own food and their own health.

These people tend to have thoroughly researched the subject and, more often than not, have already converted to a more traditional way of living in every aspect of their lives.

I admire those DIY butchers. I think they are onto something.

In a world where our food supply is increasingly unreliable (GMOs, pesticides, artifical additives…need I go on?) it’s nice to see people getting their hands dirty in an effort to eat clean.

Ever you ever slaughtered your own animals? Do you think urban gardening is a great idea or just the latest craze? Any ideas on what I should’ve done with those chicken neck and liver?*

*They eventually ended up in the dog’s supper and he scarfed it down faster than an Italian captain leaves a sinking cruise ship.

This post was featured at The Healthy Home Economist

22 thoughts on “Could You Kill Your Own Meat?

  1. I laughed so hard at your pictures!! Thank you! It’s a great post and while I know that I personally would have a hard time raising and slaughtering chickens (a. I’m afraid of live chickens after being attacked by them when a child and b. I faint at the sight of fresh blood), I do find it harder and harder to get good, affordable poultry that isn’t completely full of hormones, bad raising conditions, etc. Currently looking for a local farm that I can buy direct (um, after they have killed, plucked, etc.).

  2. Oh my……I could never. I am a working chef, and the most I have come to is skinning rabbits and plucking chickens etc… takes some time to get used to. And, although I used to be veggie but now eat almost everything, I ADORE animals, and try to limit my consumption to once or twice a month. I do buy at farmers markets here, and I learned very quickly that you have to ask them to take everything out, because the first time I bought a chicken, it had head, legs, and all the insides, including unfertilized yolks! Eeeeeek! But, as I said, when you work with them as much as I do, you get a respect for the animal that you are eating, not “the meat that was made there, no animals were harmed.” How daft can you be? (About the newspaper comment! Cracks me up every time!)

    • Oh my lord – unfertilized yolks?! I thought liver/neck was bad. Just the thought is giving me the creeps. I’d love to taste rabbit some day (I like the fuzzy bunnies don’t get me wrong but still, want to try the meat) but def would have a hard time plucking it.

      • Rabbit, cliche, I know, tastes a lot like chicken! I don’t eat it often, since I actually find it much tougher than chicken, since it isn’t an animal that grazes very much. I find it more akin to guinea pig (which I ate in Peru). Wiry almost. But good nonetheless! I made a killer rabbit bourguignon once……but still. Nothing to rave home about. You have to try it once in a lifetime! Hare is much better. More gamey, if you like that sort of thing.

  3. The hubs and I raised rabbits for meat for about 9 months this past year. We just wrapped it all up because we moved to an apartment complex and it’s not conducive to our new living environment. I’m ok with that. It was a good learning experience. I provided the daily care – feeding, watering, monitoring the babies, etc. The hubs did all the dirty work that I could never do. I saw a little bit of it because he feels it’s important to know how to survive in case the world falls apart and he wants to expose me to things so I don’t go all “girlie” if that day ever comes. 🙂 I can help with portioning the meat once it’s in the house, I do that with the hog and deer he hunts too. At least by then, it looks somewhat similar to what you buy in stores and I can distance myself from the idea that it was a living, breathing animal previously. Because we were new to it and we didn’t want to overwhelm ourselves, we only had 3 litters over the 9 months. We sold most of the last litter, and the first two yielded about 45 pounds of meat that still fills the majority of our freezer right now. Oh, and does it taste good? Yes. No doubt about that. We also made our own broth from the bones of the second litter which is awesome as well. Why rabbits? Because many say it’s easier than chickens. We had talked about chickens off and on over the years and once we really researched the matter, rabbits have a lot of benefits over chickens. Two BIG pros: they require less space and are easier/quieter to butcher. Here’s a great article on it: I’ve got some recipes posted on my site for rabbit if you haven’t seen them already. I also wrote a couple of posts about the adventure but I tried not to get into much detail because I was afraid of animal lovers flaming me and I also knew some of my readers (family) had issues with it. It’s interesting, people can be totally fine with the idea that they eat meat, but talk about where that meat actually comes from and suddenly they are appalled and don’t want to hear it.

    • Love your attitude: “it’s important to know how to survive in case the world falls apart”. That’s our philosophy too! Thanks for the link, that’s fascinating stuff. I had no idea rabbits were so popular but can totally see why. I wouldn’t have a problem eating them, they’re probably very nutritious but I know what you mean – the cuter the animal, the less people want to talk about butchering it.

  4. I’ve seen that first photo before and it always cracks me the hell up. How does that person think that store-bought meat is made?!?!?? The stupid: it burns!

    I’d love to be able to say that I could humanely kill my own meat if I had to, but I’m extremely aware that I’m much too tender-hearted and would probably starve…

  5. If I’m going to make a gravy for the chicken, I will often simmer the various “parts” in that package in a small pot of water, just until they release a little of their flavor. Let them go too long and the broth gets very strong and unpleasant. I use that broth as my gravy liquid, and it gives a fuller chicken-y richness to the gravy. Or sometimes I just toss them. 😉

  6. I think I could if I had to. My grandfather raised pigeons and rabbits, I ate them but I was never part of the killing. My husband has shot, killed and butchered many things, growing up on a ranch does that to a person! I think I should probably be forced to do it at least once in my life just so that I realize what I’m eating, what the animal lost for me to be able to eat it and experience being a true part of that whole thing. P.S. I read that newspaper ad as being very tongue in cheek.

    • Pigeons?! Interesting…always wanted to know what they taste like. I think you’re right – carnivores should humanely kill their food at least once. Then we’d all appreciate it a bit more (or become vegetarians!)

  7. Pingback: My Favourite Fitness Memes | Things My Belly Likes

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