Rearing & Dispatching your own Meat Chickens

Date/Time Location Course facilitator
30 Sep 2023 10:30 AM - 1:30 PM Yaffingale House East Sussex Smallholders

Learn the basics of raising free range “meat” chickens for home consumption. This isn’t a case of simply eating your spare cockerels, but a workshop dedicated to rearing the types of birds that are specifically selectively bred for meat consumption. You can then produce your own free range chickens that you know have been truly free ranging, with no chemicals or additives in your meat unless you put them there. This workshop covers the rearing process from day old chicks, to 10 weeks of age,  then the humane dispatch, plucking and hanging of your birds ready for cooking.

Raising your own meat chickens can give you food security and food independence, and are a good option for those just starting out in livestock production, who want to see if they can manage the realities of raising meat to eat.

This workshop starts around the kitchen table – we will look at the different type of meat birds to raise, where to source day old chicks, pricing, as well as the most suitable housing, how to maximise production for meat, which are the best feeders and waterers to use to minimise waste, and how to make feeders and waterers, as well as any problems to look out for when raising these meat birds. We will also look at the costs of raising these birds versus what they are “worth”.

You will have the opportunity to look at meat chickens currently being reared, and ask lots of questions about what works, and what doesn’t, as well as see our whole set up.  After the break we get much more “hands on” and we take you through the whole process of selecting your birds for slaughter, how to prepare, how to set up a killing zone, and what equipment you need.   We will then humanely dispatch birds using three different methods. We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each method, both for the smallholder, the birds, and the finished meat bird.

There will be plenty of opportunity to have full practical experience of dispatching a bird via each method. You will be fully supervised and if at any point you feel the need to stop, one of our tutors will step in and take over the dispatch.

We will then scald some of our birds, and use the wet plucker to pluck them, before hanging, the other selection of birds we will give you a lesson in hand plucking before hanging.

To finish the workshop you will have a demonstrating of how to eviserate a chicken and dress for the oven.

We often have meat chickens available for you to take away, or you have the option to purchase your own processed oven ready bird at the end of the workshop to take home and cook.

Please note that we will be using sharp knives, and livestock will be slaughtered on this workshop.

* This workshop is set on a working smallholding and in a family kitchen environment where cats and dogs have been / are present – please inform the host of any allergies.

Can’t make this date? Event sold out? We will be running this course several times in 2023, please email our training organiser so that you will be on the list when we run the workshop again.


Bookings are closed for this event.

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