Well, we did it. We "harvested" meat for the first time. I did NOT cry like I thought I would. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but it definitely was not "fun" nor is it something I want to do often.
The hardest part, outside of the actual taking of life was plucking the feathers. Sheesh, but there are a lot of feathers. Since we were doing it all by hand, it took quite a long time - I'd say 20 minutes or so just on the feathers and we were squatting that whole time - because after the initial feather removing, we had to remove the "leftover" feathers one at a time. These were mostly pin feathers, so they were hard to reach and took time to remove. If we ever decide to do it en masse, I think we will try to rent or borrow one of those feather plucking "machines". It really was challenging. Also, if we decide to do it again en masse, we will need a better set up. We really were not rigged for it and we did not have any tables or chairs. Basically, we had a camping stove for the hot water and a #3 tub and some rope. We stood or squatted for everything. I think sitting would make it easier to do more than one. We spent over an hour and only managed to butcher one (the one who had begun "attacking" us) and I was exhausted by the end.
I also think that if we ever decide to raise lots of meat birds, I think we'll raise Cornish X instead of heritage birds (if we have the option). For the effort, it would be nice to have a bigger finished product. This guy was 5 months old and huge, yet he only dressed out at about 3 lbs, including bones.
Boy do I have a new appreciation for my poultry farmer :)