All the talk and videos about processing, you never mentioned...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by rickerra, May 5, 2011.

  1. rickerra

    rickerra Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 26, 2011
    Spokane, WA
    THE SMELL! [​IMG] [​IMG]

    So I processed my first chicken last evening. A 12 week old barred rock rooster... little on the small side... but good practice for all my Cx due in 4 weeks.

    The neck cut was tougher than it looked in the videos. I even had a brand new razor blade. I'm guessing probably due to the feathers.

    Next was the scald. My water temps were at 142 deg when I took it off the stove... probably a tad cooler by the time I dunked the bird. I soaked the bird for around a minute. I imagined the feathers would pull out easier. Pulling the feathers out was about as tough as tugging grass. By that I mean... if you reach down and grab a tuft of grass... the force you use to tug/tear it out... that's the best thing I could think of to compare how hard it was to pull the feathers out. I'm guessing I needed a hotter scald.

    But the smell! Aggghh! That dirty wet dog smell! Wet dead bird... I wasn't ready for that. I never noticed any smell with the innards and guts and everything else... but that wet dog smell lingered big time. I never heard anyone mention that... and, of course, didn't "see" that in the video either! haha.

    So I did my best hand plucking... but all the little black feather tips... what a pain. I ended up just skinning it!

    The evisceration went well enough. Just like the pictures. I didn't rupture any guts... so that was good. The membrane that surrounds and holds all the organs to the ribs and cavity... that's one tough membrane. I ended up piecing out the bird. Which was good cause I couldn't get my big hand into that small rib cage/cavity too well to get the lungs up in there.

    So for next time... use a kill cone... sharper knife... hotter scald... and a drill attached feather plucker (need to make one).

    All in all... I got the job done. Not the prettiest. Not the fastest. Learned a lot. Guess that's what it was all about. Should taste pretty good when I eat it tomorrow!

  2. DenverBird

    DenverBird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 8, 2010
    West Denver Burbs
    Oh yeah. The smell is really bad. And it'll stay on your hands for a couple of days. You shouldn't eat sandwiches for awhile....

    Regarding Scalding - at 142 the water temp you had may have been barely hot enough by the time you got it outside and you may need to dunk the bird repeatedly, swish the bird around, use a stick or tongs open its wings up and get good circulation to the skin, etc. I was scalding at around 145 - 150 last weekend and the feathers came right out.

    And another thing: Salatin makes it look waaaaay easier than when I've done it.

  3. Drover

    Drover Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 27, 2011
    Whenever I butcher a chicken or a rabbit, I wash and wash but I can never get that awful smell off of my hands for days [​IMG] I hate it so much I actueally rubbed a dab of vanilla in my hands so I wouldent have to smell it. It works pretty well, but wears off after a while.
  4. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2010
    I always dry-pluck to avoid the smell. There's almost no smell if you dry-pluck or skin (long as you don't break any of the intestines).

    Dry plucking has to be done straight away, as soon as the twitching stops. Start at the wings to get all the tougher feathers out first. As rigor mortis sets in the feathers will set harder. It isn't 'easy' the way plucking is when a bird is properly scalded (feathers can just fall away in your hand), but the smell is so much less horrible!

    Other pointers for quick dry plucking:
    - Cutting the head off usually toughens feathers. Debraining makes them soften.
    - A relaxed bird is always easier to pluck, so keep stress levels low all the time.
    - Younger birds are easier to dry pluck; older ones can get incredibly tough (in fact I wouldn't try).

  5. Country Parson

    Country Parson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 1, 2010
    Bellefontaine, OH
    If your slicing against feathers when cutting the throat then your cutting too low on the neck. Cut up more near the "chin".
  6. BuffsareBad

    BuffsareBad Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 17, 2011
    I’ve never slaughtered a chicken so this may stupid but couldn’t you wear disposable gloves to help keep the smell off?
  7. DenverBird

    DenverBird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 8, 2010
    West Denver Burbs
    Quote:you miss a vital part of the experience like that - having the smell on your hands for a few days and the unadulterated feel of reaching into the body cavity and pulling out the innards... [​IMG]

  8. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    I try to forget about the smell. I have found, however, that scalding and plucking downwind of where I am doing the eviscerating helps a lot!
  9. KansasBoy

    KansasBoy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2011
    I don't really find the smell too bad actually... Ever gutted a deer and branded cattle? Those are SMELLS! [​IMG]
  10. Delmar

    Delmar Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have only processed roosters so far. Since I don't plan on doing anything with them but chicken and noodles or put them in the crock pot, I just skin them. If I ever get around to raising any good meat birds I will probably be thinking fried chicken. In which case I will want the skin.

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