about to process....need answers please

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by wanderseek, Jun 30, 2010.

  1. wanderseek

    wanderseek In the Brooder

    Apr 2, 2010
    east central Indiana
    Okay, we're days from our very first processing of meat birds. We have some last-minute questions that we hadn't thoroughly considered before now.

    1. We have large tubs to put ice water in to place the chickens in after processing. But.....then what? Doesn't the meat need to "rest" before it's frozen or packaged? Can it be frozen/cut up/packaged right after processing?

    2. For storage of this meat in the freezer, what do you use to put them in? Doesn't seem like a gallon size freezer bag would be big enough. What else is there? Where to I get alternate packaging containers? Is it necessary to vaccuum pack them? I don't have the set-up for that? Am I screwed?

    3. Our chickens are about 13 weeks old. Are there any special instructions? I've seen that a lot of people like to butcher by 12 weeks. Are we still okay to do ahead?

    I've done a lot of research on this site and some of my concerns about might sound like I haven't done so. I think a lot of this whole post is just about the fact that I need some moral support and someone to tell me it'll all be okay! haha!! By the way, we're going to hang the chickens by their feet from the clothes line and slit their jugulars, let them bleed out, scald and pluck, eviscerate, the ice. In case you need to know that in order to answer my questions. [​IMG]

    Please and thanks for words of support and wisdom. Any tips/pointers are much appreciated!
  2. greathorse

    greathorse Songster

    Oct 1, 2008
    Northern Colorado
    Placing your birds in a large ice bath right after slaughter is a great thing to do. It will get the body heat out of them and keep bacteria counts down. Chilling them in cold air would also be affective but harder to access.

    You will get some improvement on eating quality if you rest them for at least 24 hours, aging a bit is a good thing.

    It can be cut and packed right after processing and chilling but again you will get a bit of improvement if you rest the product.

    Gallon baggies are not ideal for packaging as it is hard to get all of the air out of the bag. If you do use them get as much air out as you can. I would reccommend wrapping with plastic wrap first and then into the bag. I am sure you can get a whole cut up bird in a gallon baggie. A non cut up Cornish cross will likely not fit.

    Vacumn packaging is a great way to package but no need to stress if you dont. I have eaten chicken after being in a vacumn pack for over two years and it was excellent, I am not sure that would happen with almost any other package. Air is your enemy. If you eat the meat within a few months packaging is not as critical

    The age, is what it is, nothing you can do about that. If they are meat birds they will be huge, if they are dual purpose they won't be very big at all.

    An alternate packaging, would be a roll of freezer wrap. Freezer wrap has a plastic lining that protects from frostbite. You can wrap in a plastic wrap and over wrap with freezer paper, this will give you excellent protection.

    You can buy freezer in very small rolls at the grocery store. I have seen it at Sam's club. I usually go to a butcher shop and buy a very large roll. A very large roll 18 inches wide ( the best width) can cost over 50 dollars but will last a long long time. This will also require a cutter which is not very costly.
  3. Winsor Woods

    Winsor Woods Songster

    Jun 14, 2009
    Cascade Range in WA
    I agree with all that greathorse said. Depending on how many you're processing, you might want to think about using a killing cone to hold the bird. It's keeps their wings from flapping and it keeps you from having to tie and untie each bird. They're not hard to make and you can even modify many common household items to make one in a pinch.

    For storage, I use freezer paper. I usually part my birds out and package the like parts together. It's done a great job for us. Alternately, you can do a quick search for "shrink bags." These you put the chicken in after the resting. Spin the back and secure the tag end of the bag. Then you pierce a small hole in the bad and dunk in a hot water bath for 5 seconds or so and the bag shrinks and pushes the air out of the little hole. Then you dry the bag's surface off and place a label or piece of tape over the hole and freeze.


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