1st time processing ~ a womens thoughts

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by jcatblum, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. jcatblum

    jcatblum Songster

    Oct 27, 2010
    Cement, OK
    For months I have had extra roos hanging around. DH always said we could process them after he built a plucker, but he has so many projects going I still have yet to see the start to a plucker. I finally got tired of taking extra roos to the auction for someone else to go home & slaughter them. Yesterday I saw we had 4 extra roos that are just starting to crow. Gathered all 4 & put them in a cage (with drinking water) after they went to roost for the night.

    I woke & did a few chores then gathered a few supplies.
    3 knives --- just to make sure had a good one, and the right size
    large stock pot of ice water
    2 buckets-- one for blood one for parts
    water hose with sprayer
    bottle of bleach to clean with afterwards

    I did one bird start to finish before I reached for another. 11 yr old DD would bring the bird to the rope, then I hung the bird by its feet, slit the throat & let it bled out. Once it was finished flopping I took them down & put them on my processing station. Made a cut in the skin by the breast & removed all the skin. then cut off the feet. When it came time to cut the neck I had a hard time on every bird, not sure what I was doing wrong there. After the neck was off, I would cut around the rectum & then removed all the insides. I didn't keep any extra parts. I know the dog would have enjoyed them, but just getting started, figure I was doing enough.

    After all parts were in the bucket told DH he could discard them since I did all the butchering.

    Once all 4 birds were on ice, brought them to the house, rinsed them again, weighed them 2-1/4----2-1/2 lbs each, then put in a brine in the fridge. I will remove them from the brine in the am. My plan is to cook them all together Tuesday & use them in soup, since it suppose to get cold later this week.

    The menu is
    Mexican Corn Soup-- double batch, one to eat & one to freeze for later
    Chicken & Dumplins
    maybe enchiladas if there is any meat left

    Biggest struggle was cutting off the neck, going to spend a little time reading up on why it was so hard for me.
    Next time I will have the birds counter height for skinning & gutting. My back was KILLING me from working with them at table height. I skinned them so didn't have to mess with setting up a scalding pot & trying to get water temp right for 4 birds & thought plucking would be much harder

    This was my first butchering experience, and I spent 2 hours set up to clean up. Did everything 100% on my own (expect DD took the bird out of the cage & hand it to me-- could have done it faster on my own I am sure). I would do it again, and I am sure I would do it even better. As far as the knives go, I only used a buck knife the DH takes hunting. I didn't even reach for the other 2 knives. ~~~ Now I am think Santa will bring me a tub plucker. That way I don't have to wait on one to be built. I was looking @ the EZ-131 from cconly.com~~~ any others I should consider?

  2. Wimberleytexaschick

    Wimberleytexaschick Songster

    Apr 25, 2011
    Wimberley, Texas
    Good for you and thanks so much for posting your experience. I have been waiting on DH for 3 weeks now to help me process the extra roos but he keeps saying 'next week'. I am ready to do it own my own- this is a huge help!
  3. jtbrown

    jtbrown Songster

    Mar 30, 2011
    Southeastern Ohio
    Congrats, I just did my first this week too. It also not bad, I had an experienced person help me, we did 8 birds in 2 hours, but 2 of us working ( am sure I slowed her down). I also had hard time with neck, her family leaves them long, we don't use the neck so trimmed them up when I got home, it was hard. I did it, but worried about force I had to use, didnt want knife to slip and get me!

    We plucked, it was much easier than I expected. How many birds will you process? Wasn't as difficult as I thought. Pluckers seem expensive, but I probably won't plan to process more than 6 at a time, even meat birds. Congrats, I didn't have courage to do it on my own for the first time, but will next time. I wish we had brined ours, but I iced them for 24 hours and then froze them. Can't wait for roasting this fall.

    Sharp knife absolutely a must!
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2011
  4. NonnasBabies

    NonnasBabies Muddy Acre Farms Premium Member

    Sep 20, 2009
    On the Farm!
    That's great!! For the neck we use a pair of large loppers, cuts it right off!!
  5. mstricer

    mstricer Crowing

    Feb 12, 2009
    Good for you, I can do everything but the killing thing. X2 on the loppers, I use shears to finish what the loppers didn't get usually a little skin. [​IMG]
  6. Good fo you. A good twist after bleeding out will take care if the neck.
    I would love to have a chest high work station, for so many things!
  7. EggsForIHOP

    EggsForIHOP Songster

    Apr 18, 2010
    X a million on the loppers (mine are actually pruning shears good for chickens, ducks AND turkeys and they never actually prune plants) - I use them for necks AND the feet and they work like a charm!

    Good for you too! The only plucker we have is the PVC cap one that attaches to the drill we home made - cheap but effective enough to speed things up - wish I had a pic I could show you, but plenty of other people have them on here already (actually wish I could find the darn plucker at the moment...it's lost [​IMG] )

    A trick I use with the buckets is to pre-line them with heavy duty bags (either trash bags, empty feed sacks, or both) That way guts are more easily disposed of and buckets are more easily cleaned out too! (Hubby works outta town sometimes, so I gotta take that stuff out back as my coyote peace offering).

    Congratulations on your first time and a job well done!

  8. jcatblum

    jcatblum Songster

    Oct 27, 2010
    Cement, OK
    I figure my family uses 2 large chickens a wk, so dual purpose birds would take me @ least 3 a week. We hatch our own birds & my goal is to not buy commercial chicken. If I am going to process 150+ birds a year a plucker would be nice. I would prefer to do 20-30 @ a time. 60 large birds will fit in my freezer, but that is if it is almost completely empty. Figure if I am harvesting my own meat then a plucker would make it much less work on me, plus i enjoy flavorful chicken skin. I have seen the drill pluckers & I do prefer the ease of dropping it down in the tub, figure one of the kids could even work that! A drill plucker might be a nice economical starting point.

    I will look into a pair of designated neck cutters. Tried to talk DH into letting me has a pr of his tin snips, but he didn't think it was necessary for neck cutting.

    Oh-- I will for sure line the buckets next time(don't know why I diet yesterday). Our bird trimmings went for coyote feed too. Dh took them far back in the woods & I am sure they are all gone now.

    I forgot to mention I did wear plastic gloves the whole time I processed the birds. I wanted to make sure no smell or parts stayed under my fingernails.
  9. becky3086

    becky3086 Crested Crazy

    Oct 14, 2008
    Thomson, GA
    Good job! It's never fun but you get used to it.
  10. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    I use the tailgate of my work truck for a processing surface. I got tired of the stiff back trying to do it on a table. The tailgate is the perfect height and I just cover it with a cover I have specifically for this purpose. I have found that a pair of sturdy kitchen shears works better than most knives for the heavy cutting. The ones I have are tough enough to go through bones and joints, but sharp enough to also cut through skin as needed. I love them. They also don't need to be sharpened as often as knives.

    Nice work. I have been processing birds for a couple years now, so it's old hat at this point for me, but I still remember the first time I had to do it. It's never easy, but you get used to it the more you do it.

    Enjoy those birds. Good luck.

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