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Getting ready to butcher my guineas...

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

My guineas are almost 13 weeks old, so I'm starting to think who to eat first.

I have one that has a swollen knee and she's getting gimpier, so I might process her this week rather than having her limp around. I'll probably have to throw out most the leg, but maybe it's just a tendon issue or something rather than infected...

Anyone dry plucked? I read an article that said after slitting their throat you can stab through the roof of their mouth into their brain. This causes muscle contraction and makes the feathers easier to pull.

I could always try dry plucking and have the scald water at the ready or for the stubborn feathers, right?

Who has some good tried and true guinea recipes?

post #2 of 19

try the meat birds  section.

this section is for the lovers


Edited by leonphelps - 10/17/11 at 10:01am
post #3 of 19

I've never tried plucking at all, but supposedly Guineas are one of the easiest birds to pluck, dry or scalded... I had a mobile butcher stop by and process 6 males for me last week, he did scald them, but ran them thru a chicken plucker machine, 3 at once and pulled them out completely naked in about 20 seconds, lol.

I crockpotted the 2 smallest birds (only a little over 2 pounds each) on a bed of fresh herbs picked from my garden (rosemary, oregano and chopped chives) plus fresh home grown garlic and some cracked black pepper, covered them with chicken broth and then let them cook all day til the meat was just about falling off the bones. Smelled yummy while cooking, and they were really really tasty! The broth that I strained then thickened with a roux (made with some fat I skimmed off the top of all the broth) made some excellent gravy too droolin

The other birds 4 I stuffed with cornbread stuffing and baked them in baking bags like lil mini turkeys (2 to a bag), they were excellent too. Smelled just like Thanksgiving in my house that day! droolin:drool

I've heard they are also good prepped with your favorite kind of rub inside and out, wrapped with thick cut bacon (use tooth picks or skewers to hold it on the bird), then cooked on a rotisserie, but I have not tried that yet... YET, lol.

Oh and just as a side note, the butcher punctured their brains prior to cutting their throats and then after they were processed he told me to keep them in the fridge in gallon sized ziplocks for 48 hours before cooking/eating them. I don't think it had anything to do with the feathers, but mostly due to the rigor mortis relaxing and the meat being a little more tender, (he butchers a lot of wild game birds). Either way, they plucked easy and they were tender, so who knows!

... Flew the Coop, Twice.
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... Flew the Coop, Twice.
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post #4 of 19

We always scalded prior to plucking - never could stand the feahers flying around.  Guineas because of their active nature are generally somewhat stringier and less fat than chickens, but for my senses far tastier.  Slow cook at lower temps for longer than a chicken of the same size.  Excellent eating about to be had. droolin

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post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

Yes, I was reading that thread, Peeps! I'll have to look again to see if I missed any useful details smile Did you see how he drove the knife into their brains? Anyone know of a picture or something online? (I could google for chickens. I'm sure there's something out there). It sounds pretty straight forward, but I'd hate to not get a 100% good stick. And I'm glad your butcher did brains first, then neck. The other source said neck first to get a good bleed out, but I'd much rather make them unconscious (and dead) before making a not-so-nice cut.

Oh, and about how much chicken broth did you use for that crock pot recipe? droolin

I'll definitely have a hose around to wet the bird even if I don't scald. I've done some necropsies, and those feathers are a pain.

Anyone else have some experience?


Leon, I've been debating whether to ignore your response. Unless you're a vegetarian, I don't think you have any right to judge, and no right to imply I somehow hate or don't care for my birds. I got them with a purpose in mind, and for every one I kill myself, that will be that many fewer chickens going through the tough commercial system. Right now I have a bird with swollen hocks, who can't walk, and who I still plan to eat soon. Particularly if she doesn't start walking soon, as it's not the greatest life for her. She's not suffering, she's no longer painful just lying there, and she's used to me handling her. She's also completed one round of antibiotics but is slow to finish healing. But she's not a pet and she isn't fit for breeding stock. I would have killed her right off, but I want her life to count for something. Meanwhile I clean her diaper pad, check her food and water, wash her bum every few days, collect meal worms for her, and give her yogurt. She even gets physical therapy. A commercial chicken, by contrast, will either be culled or left to waste away and be cannibalized in the chicken house. Or, if it is almost slaughter age, it will be picked up, placed in a cage with other chickens, driven to a slaughter house, dumped on a belt, hung by it's legs, and processed down the line.

My guineas were raised in a small tractor from about 4-7 weeks of age. They are tame, come when called, and are fairly easy to catch when needed. They have a large coop and run, and get to spend some time on the grass each day. That's more than I can say for a vast majority of grocery store chickens.

There are choices we all have to make when it comes to our food. I choose to eat meat, and I choose to eat meat I raise myself. I value the lives of all 21 of my birds, but they must serve a purpose. I won't be buying commercial chicken for many many months, and this is a good thing.

End soapbox.


Edited by Fenika - 10/17/11 at 1:01pm
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenika 

Did you see how he drove the knife into their brains? Anyone know of a picture or something online? (I could google for chickens. I'm sure there's something out there). It sounds pretty straight forward, but I'd hate to not get a 100% good stick. And I'm glad your butcher did brains first, then neck. The other source said neck first to get a good bleed out, but I'd much rather make them unconscious (and dead) before making a not-so-nice cut.

Oh, and about how much chicken broth did you use for that crock pot recipe? droolin


My crockpot that I cooked the 2 lil guys in is only a 5qt, but with all the herbs and the 2 birds crammed in it I think I only used maybe about 3-4 cups of broth to top it off, but the birds still stuck up out of the broth a little bit. I turned the birds over halfway thru the day just to make sure every part of them was juicy and tender. And I highly recommend using fresh Rosemary if you have it/can get it! It smelled SO good while they were cooking and the flavor was just... wow!

I was trying not to watch the entire process so I didn't get too grossed out that I would not want to eat the birds after it was all said and done but he used a small tool that looked kind of like an ice pick to puncture the brain, he already had 2 of the birds in the 2 killing cones that he had mounted over a 50 gallon barrel to catch the mess (and that was all up in the back of his truck, I was down on the ground). I just happened to see him with that tool in his hand and questioned if he used that to puncture the jugular, he just said "no I use this to go through the brain first, then I cut the neck"... I just cringed and got quiet (lol) and then watched him reached in and poke/stick quickly then he grabbed his knife and did the cuts (2 birds at once) just as quick, so I could not see the exact process or how/where he stuck them. I did not hear any noise or hear them scream or anything when he did it, or even when he cut their necks. When the birds were moved down on the cutting board to have the heads removed before the scalding and plucking I could not see any obvious poke marks or even the neck cuts. He was super quick at killing them and it did not take long for them to bleed out at all. It was way less messy and graphic than I expected it to be. I've seen how commercial poultry is raised and processed... it's not a pretty sight, and far from humane. Made me stop eating chicken and turkey for quite a while sickbyc


I used to feel the same way that leon's reply came across... it took me 5 laying seasons of raising Guineas before I even ate any of their eggs! But when you have surplus birds like I do, and you want to eat fresh, chemical free, healthy food (plus when you start adding up the feed bills you could be facing this winter!)... you tend to change your views and want to get a little back for all you've put into them. At least I did. I can't do the processing myself (cuz I'm a whimp and didn't grow up with or around poultry in order to be conditioned to the processing part), but I now have no problem eating Guineas I have raised (if someone else does the messy part and hands them to me packed on ice, lol). It was quick and humane, they didn't suffer, and THEY WERE TASTY GOOD! smile They could have ended up on someone else's table, and I am sure quite a few of the 782 keets that I hatched this year already have or soon will be on someone else's table, so why not mine too!

Thanks for the link... I really should stop being a whimp and learn how to do home processing myself hmm

... Flew the Coop, Twice.
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post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

Ah, so the crock pot was more a guinea stew, but then you drained off the juices. Hmmm, I like that. Or I might try a wine bath stew. My friend's brother did that with venison last year and it was to die for.

When I was younger, I couldn't imagine eating guineas, though I know plenty of people did. Lots of things have changed in my life since then wink

Peeps, maybe you could start with a mean one or something and work it out. big_smile You've seen it partially done, but you could also read up on it and see how you feel. You can also practice by helping a hunter (with ducks or birds hoofed game), or by handling more giblets in whole birds from the store until you can handle it wink It is a little weird the first time because everything is warm, but I like working with meat and getting it ready just-so and thinking of what I'll cook...

post #9 of 19

don't waste your time plucking guineas.. not worth it.. Other than breast and legs, they don't have any meat on them...  Dark skin is  ugly as well..

Just skin them partway off, yank out the breast, pop the legs/ thighs off, and don't worry about even gutting them. 

fastest prep vs. good eating known to poultry.

post #10 of 19

I had no idea people ate guineas. I thought they were just kept for bug control. Eating them makes more sense. I learn more stuff on this site!!

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3 handsome sons, 1 VeryDBF, 2 dachsunds, 1 toy fox terrier, 1 big goofy mutt, 3 cats, 2 RIR's, a banty frizzle, banty sex link roo, banty buff brahma, japanese bantam, 2 silkies, a speckled sussex, an ameraucana, a banty cochin roo and now hatching...banty mutts! http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=82689-swap-page

http://www.crossgirl.com/

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