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advice for first-time processor

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by jennydunning, Jun 7, 2016.

  1. jennydunning

    jennydunning In the Brooder

    Aug 18, 2011
    Hi out there. My husband and I have 6 Cackles Reds to process and this is our first time. Any advice about equipment? We plan to use a cone and a plucker you hook up to a drill. Are wondering if the 24-finger version is worth the extra money? Any other advice? Thanks.

    Jenny & Steve

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    My best advice is extremely sharp knives. Watch YouTube videos and have ice buckets, hoses, and towels available.
  3. cafrhe

    cafrhe Songster

    Apr 23, 2014
    Western central NJ
    Joel Salatin videos are pretty good. There was also one by a kid who had apprenticed at the Salatin farm who made a good video of the whole process.

    I have seen a few which include the killing of the chicken--that is something you need to be familiar with.

    We raised birds last year and sent them out to be processes. We only had to kill 2 ourselves. This year we are processing on farm. We did our first batch of 10 meaties plus 5 extra roosters. We use a cone and cut the carotids. It seems pretty non traumatic. The plucking was awful...I had bought the $76.00 drill plucker attachment and it was ok, but there was still so much to do by hand. It made it a much longer day than was necessary. We will be doing batches of 15 every other week or so....and after this 1st experience, we ordered a Yardbird plucker.

    We use a Havalon knife with a changeable blade for killing and another brand of sharp knife for eviscerating (forget which brand). Sharp knives are vital.

    Ice in a garbage can or large bucket for chilling the carcasses asap after processing. garbage can for throw away parts and bowl/s for the keep parts. Freezer bags if you are freezing.

    Good luck!
  4. greenfeathers

    greenfeathers Chirping

    Feb 17, 2016
    People's Republic of MD
    I did my first 3 a couple weeks ago. Two mutt roosters I got free and a buff rock from my flock. I skinned them since I don't eat the skin anyway. Used a cone and cut the neck. Sharp knife and a quick cut.

    3rd bird took me longer to catch than to process.
  5. cafrhe

    cafrhe Songster

    Apr 23, 2014
    Western central NJ
    greenfeathers reminded me (catching the last one means it was loose!)----fast them for 12 hours or it will be more unpleasant than you want. I pick up their food in the evening and then process early morning. Leave the water in, but you want the chickns to be empty when you process them. I also pull their tractor onto a tarp so they cant eat grass.

    For my extra roosters, they stay where they live overnight and then I take them out of the coop before letting everyone loose and put them in a dog crate in a quiet place until I am ready for them.

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