Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. I got all five done in roughly 3 - 3.5 hours.
All resting in the fridge, and everything rinsed except scalder (water still too hot) - taking a break before going back out to sanitize. I will get weights when I put them in their shrink bags in the kitchen either later today or tomorrow. The main delay was waiting for the scalder (need to start that much earlier next time). And yes, the dispatch of the first one was hardest - primarily because my knife wasn't sharp enough (though I had erroneously thought it was), and I think my aim was off. It was awful, needless to say. Switched knives (I had a selection) for the second, better, but still not sharp enough and still unsure of my aim. Took about 15-20 minutes to do a detailed dissection of the neck of that one to see if I could aim better (it was hard to realize where the vessels were from the photos and videos, vs. in person). Then for the third, I got a bread lame that I never use from the kitchen (a razor blade on a holder to cut slashes in bread before baking). And the third was better with regard to the aim and the clean-ness of the cut, but I made the mistake of turning my back for a minute, and he flipped himself out of the cone and I had to catch him in the air and put him back in - that was sort of horrible (and Dumbledore and the rest started alarming...). Fourth easier, fifth easiest, dispatch-wise (and I held them in place the whole time), but they were also harder in that it was harder to round the last two up in the pen. I'm getting a box cutter or scalpel for next time, which will be easier to control than the lame.
Plucking was not a big deal, mostly, though a little irritating when they stuck to my hands. And the evisceration, while not expertly done, was not all that hard for me. I was fairly happy with my set up, though the poor ginger plant near the area is probably dead now (being trod on and drowned). I was using a fish cleaning table which was at a good level fairly high. The cone was at an ok height for me. I set up in a little nook next to my deck such that everything was there within a turn and a step, and also sort of private, like a little work zone.
I'm pooped. I'm going to get the rest of the stuff cleaned up and set up for tomorrow (I also need to set up a dog crate for the Naked Necks to put them in tonight). I haven't decided whether to do 2 or 4. I need to check available fridge space, I suppose.
I may order pizza tonight...
- Ant Farm
Edited by Fire Ant Farm - 12/19/15 at 11:14am