Killing Chickens — 6 Comments

  1. This is how my mom killed chickens.
    She had a long strong wire with a hook on the end to grab the chickens leg to catch it.
    Mom had one particular rounded stick that she placed over the chickens neck , stood on both sides of the stick and pulled the head off. Simple and fast. I knew what it meant “to run around like a chicken with his head cut off ” as it was a sight. My job was to pick up the chickens by their legs after the were down and dunk them in very hot water, pull the wet feathers off, then singe the chickens over a small fire to remove those pin feathers. She and I worked together to cut them up just as she taught me. I never had to kill a chicken myself for which I am grateful. You get used to the smell after you have to clean so many of them. Memories made from working alongside my mom and learning about how to prepare and cook your own food. We slaughtered a lot of chickens and also canned and froze a lot of veggies and fruit for winter.

    I had an uncle who caught the chickens, tied them upside down to the clothes line. Went right down the line and rung their necks off, fast and easy for him. They stayed on the line until they were no longer moving. Never knew anyone else who used this method.
    Bet there was significant cleaning to that clothes line afterwards.

    • Thanks for sharing those techniques. New to me.

      And I never had to kill a chicken either. My mother made it look easy, but ‘m sure it wasn’t.

  2. Enjoyed this. I hated chicken for years because of the smell. I can still bring up singed feather smell! I always tried to spend the night with a friend when they butchered hogs, too. Not much of a farm girl, I guess!
    Had many dresses out of feed sacks. Raised in a rural community near a small town, most people were poor. People at school thought we were rich because my mom made me beautiful dresses out of feed sacks!
    She used white ones to make panties because I was allergic to the new rayon.
    This was in the 40’s.
    Then we started a 4-H club and my mother made me learn to sew!

    • In 4-H, we used the feedsacks to practice our sewing skills. We made the shorts and blouses we wore to work and play in during the summer. I didn’t mind the feedsacks. I hated the sewing.

  3. I sort of already made my comment on the Kirksville page, but will make it here too.
    My mom told me of my grandma, Mama Linnie, who was left-handed…(an oddity they thought back then), who would grab the chicken that one of the kids caught I’m sure, and swing it around in a circle and give it a snap…with that left hand, and that would do it. I suppose mom had to do it too eventually, and she did do the other parts of cleaning, and all. She never lost the distaste for chicken that she would even cook herself, because the smell of the chicken would stay on her hands, (she said), but I think it may have been the “memory smell” that stayed with her. We ate a lot of wild meat as I grew up…my step dad was a hunter and fisherman, so we had rabbit, squirrel, birds, and frog legs as well as fish. Chicken was probably only for special occasions. Then I guess it was ground meat. Anyone remember Horse meat? Sorry, I got off topic.

    • We ate rabbit and squirrel occasionally, but my mother refused to skin them. She told my father that if he shot it, he skinned it. We ate catfish less often, and I remember frog legs only once. Never horse meat.

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