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Eat the Dead? (chickens)

Posted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:57 am
by wulf
I was out hunting slugs last night (seedlings are coming up and gastropods are starting to appear, which is a combination requiring some management) when there was a thump from the chicken house followed by cooing. When I went over to check, the old black hen was lying dead on the floor and the two brown hens were clearly upset. Removing the corpse calmed them down and this morning they seem unconcerned about anything other than food (as normal).

The black hen was of indeterminate age. We've had it since last August but it came from other friends who were moving and was "the old black hen" to them so death by natural causes definitely seems a reasonable hypothesis. Originally she had been at the top of the pecking order (bullying the other two when they moved in) but, more recently, she always seemed to be lagging behind.

My question is, should we consider eating her. Would it be a dignified final end to put her in a slow, rich stew or is it recommended that birds that die of old age are fed back into the soil to nurture the ground more directly? (or is there legislation in the UK which means a black bag and the next rubbish collection is the fate of her mortal remains?)

Wulf

Re: Eat the Dead? (chickens)

Posted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:25 am
by JulieSherris
Wulf, unless she was ill, then I'd say that the slow stew would be your best bet, to be honest.

One of our xmas turkeys was poorly with a sinus infection & instead of treating it with antibiotics, our vet told us to kill it, process, then freeze it before cooking - then any disease would be totally dealt with by the time it got to our plate... and very tasty it was too!! :cheers:

Re: Eat the Dead? (chickens)

Posted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:25 am
by Millymollymandy
wulf wrote:My question is, should we consider eating her. Would it be a dignified final end to put her in a slow, rich stew or is it recommended that birds that die of old age are fed back into the soil to nurture the ground more directly? (or is there legislation in the UK which means a black bag and the next rubbish collection is the fate of her mortal remains?)

Wulf
Of the first two, whatever you feel comfortable with. She'll do good whichever you choose. Don't know about the third one!

Re: Eat the Dead? (chickens)

Posted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:34 am
by contadino
wulf wrote:My question is, should we consider eating her. Would it be a dignified final end to put her in a slow, rich stew or is it recommended that birds that die of old age are fed back into the soil to nurture the ground more directly?
No. Don't eat anything you haven't slaughtered. It may have been old age, or something more specific.

Although I hear that in England you eat road-kill nowadays, so maybe you just have cast iron stomachs. Either way.... :pukeright: :pukeright: :pukeright: :pukeright: :pukeright:

Re: Eat the Dead? (chickens)

Posted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 12:09 pm
by Sky
I wouldn't either, I would bury or burn her.

Re: Eat the Dead? (chickens)

Posted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:15 pm
by wulf
Whether or not she was ill is a difficult question to answer. Even if I perform a post mortem, I won't really be sure since the chickens I normally deal with have already been eviscerated. Therefore, particularly since my house mates started to turn green when I began talking about recipes, I'll go for the burial option (nice and deep to avoid attracting vulpine attention!).

Thanks for the answers.

Wulf

Re: Eat the Dead? (chickens)

Posted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:58 pm
by contadino
Best remember to lime it if you're gonna bury it. I buried a dead chook once - very deep - and one of the dogs turned up with it a week later. :?

Re: Eat the Dead? (chickens)

Posted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:22 pm
by Thomzo
I've shared one with the fox once, but I wouldn't eat one that had died of unknown causes. Even if you suspect it was old age, it might have been something else.

Zoe

Re: Eat the Dead? (chickens)

Posted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:46 pm
by red
i wouldn't eat it either.

Re: Eat the Dead? (chickens)

Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:35 pm
by Kezz
I thought dead chickens (that you aren't going to eat) had to be wrapped and put in the normal waste bin. I was under the impression it was some kind of regulation about not burying "livestock".

Re: Eat the Dead? (chickens)

Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:00 pm
by jimmyh1988
personally i wouldn't eat anything i didn't dispatch myself although preparing the bird and then freezing it would more than likely kill any disease that it may or may not of had i recommend a deep hole and a dose of lime :iconbiggrin:

buring of livestock is generally only relates to pigs/sheep/cattle/goats ect but you could be right legislation changes from month to month but i'm sure that burying a chicken wouldn't be a problem otherwise cremate it on your fire or bonfire/burner bin

Re: Eat the Dead? (chickens)

Posted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:11 pm
by wulf
Kezz wrote:I thought dead chickens (that you aren't going to eat) had to be wrapped and put in the normal waste bin. I was under the impression it was some kind of regulation about not burying "livestock".
I wasn't sure and, to be honest, the problem is dead and buried now...

However, I've just done a web search and, with a bit of persistence, found some advice from DEFRA on "fallen stock". Since the chickens are pets who happen to produce consumable eggs and compostable manure, I think they can qualify under the pets get-out clause.

Wulf

Re: Eat the Dead? (chickens)

Posted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:37 pm
by red
actually chickens are not classed as pets afaik -
The definition of a pet animal given within the EU ABPR is 'any animal belonging to species normally nourished and kept, but not consumed, by humans for purposes other than farming'. Therefore the normal farm species such as sheep, cattle, pigs, goats and poultry etc. would fall out with this definition and would require disposal by an approved route other than burial.
so technically you have to treat them as fallen stock when they die of natural causes.

having said that.. you could plan to eat her.. then forget... and have to throw her away, then its food waste... . or maybe a passing fox might steal the body :wink: