- Call (208)278-3471 before you get your chicks to make sure we will have an opening near the date you need the poultry processed.
- Ask how far ahead you need to call to make an appointment.
Don't wait until the last minute or we may be booked up!
How are you going to get them to HomeGrown Poultry?
Don't start thinking about this the day before slaughter
- You don't want them to escape
- You don't want them to be injured
- Good ventilation
- Watch edges and corners
- The more you can darken their space and limit their movement the better
- Remove feed the night before to clear the intestinal track
Suggested Options: (all have advantages and disadvantages)
- Covered Trailer
- Cardboard or wooden Boxes with ventilation
- Crates - borrow from HomeGrown Poultry or build your own (A good crate design is at www.apppa.org under 'previous issues')
- We prefer no pet cages: birds go in well, but don't come out
- We'd prefer no wire cages: they could injure the birds and our employees
- Ask the scheduler for suggestions.
Some of the problems that can occur at this step are:
- Wing Bruising
- Heat stress
- Broken bones
- Escape into the wild!
How are you going to catch the birds?
Goal is to catch the birds in the most calm manner possible.
- At night or early morning. Total darkness is best.
- No moonlight, streetlight, yardlight. Limit flashlights use.
- Properly designed facility to keep you from hurting yourself and keep the birds from running around or hurting themselves.
- Pick up and hold by the body or by both feet. Hold ducks and geese by the body. Their legs are designed for water, not land.
- Reduce stress.
- Best way is to herd them into trailer in the day: train them with food, especially turkeys.
- Make sure they are taken off feed the evening before. Water is okay.
What to expect
- No giblets unless you pay.
- The poultry should be clean with an occasional feather at the hock or under the arm or edge of wing.
- If you have birds that sit around all day and eat, the skin on the breast may have 'acne' appearance - follicles with embedded dirt.
- If you have too many roosters, some of the hens may have skin damage.
- Birds that sit around on their breasts will develop blisters at best and ulcers at worse. Avoid injuries - they'll have to be cut out.
- Turkeys will eat anything shiny, glass, screws, electrical contacts, pvc pieces, fence staples. We've seen pieces of fence or wire in muscle - the injury walls off, and we cut out the damage.
- Your poultry will be in plastic bags with our label attached.
- Come prepared to get your birds. They can't be released unless you have the ability to keep them cold immediately. Bring ice chests.
- Your poultry will be labeled and weighed as part of the service.
- Remember, you may pay for anything that takes extra time from the basic services.
What are the labeling requirements?
- HomeGrown Poultry will apply labels as required by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, including a safe food handling label. When we become a USDA facility, the labels will meet USDA labeling requirements.
- You may supply your own labels in lieu of the HomeGrown label. They will have to be approved by HomeGrown Poultry and the Southwest Health District and/or the USDA..
- If you are selling the poultry to customers or to retail stores, you might want to consider your own labels. Remember, our generic HomeGrown Poultry label will be in your customer's freezer.
- Bring sick birds. We retain the right to refuse to slaughter any suspect bird. If there is any question about the health or quality of the animals, that entire lot will be run as the last lot of the day to limit contamination. There are always runty birds, especially in the highly-bred Cornish cross and broad-breasted turkey lines. They aren't sick, they just don't thrive very well.
- Bring flighty birds like banties, aracaunas, guineas, chuckars in something flimsy. They'll fly away!
- Forget to bring ice chests or some container that will keep the poultry cold.
- Use pet carriers. They are very very hard for us to get the birds out of.
- Use wire carriers. Dangerous to workers and to you.
- Bring too many or too few birds. We schedule our workdays very carefully to ensure we have enough work for our employees and maintain safe working environment. If 5 people are supposed to bring 50 chickens each and you decide to bring 100, that really messes us up. If a predator wipes out a bunch of your birds, let us know as soon as you can so we can adjust.
- Bring ducks or geese that are between molts.
- Be prepared to transfer your birds from your vehicle or personal crates into ours.
- Expect to have any serious damage or injuries cut away.
- Do expect that we will condemn birds that aren't healthy.
- Tell the scheduler what kind of birds you are bringing. If you are bringing old layers or old roosters, they may take us more time to process.