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Any tips from those with a bit more experience?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by TaraBellaBirds, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. TaraBellaBirds

    TaraBellaBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, so I have 12+ Roos that are ready for the freezer Boy are they a*#h*^ls, so there won't be much emotional turmoil for me! I have done this once before with my father, who hadn't butchered chickens since childhood. I come from a family that is one generation removed from hardcore farming LOL. I am taking back my roots!

    Needless to say there were a few mistakes last time, and my first kill didn't go too well due to a dull blade. This time it is my show, and I want a better way to butcher my birds.

    I like the idea of using a road cone with the top removed, rather than the classic chopping block (my father used two nails to hold the head).
    I have also heard of using shears rather than a knife or axe (old-school). Any experiences with that?

    Another mistake I made for my first trip in chicken rearing was ordering production RIRs. A couple of them are fairly good sized, but too many are tall gangling things (mean too). Any tips on ways to prepare these guys for the table? The other batch we did were hybrid monsters (CornishX), so this will be a bit different I'm sure.

    I'll take any other advice/experiance that you are kind enough to share, Thanks!
     
  2. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    You're going to want to slow cook them since they are older. They won't have much white meat on them..


    I slice the jugular and bleed them out. I can't stand chopping blocks. I am WAY too bad at getting it off the first try.. So yeah, I do much better slicing the jugular. You can cut the head right off through the killing cone as well, but you will have to let them drain for some time afterwards.

    There is always extra roosters to process. Having said that, I would never order dual purpose roosters for meat on purpose.
     
  3. TaraBellaBirds

    TaraBellaBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So do you order hybrids? I am just not a fan of hybrid birds. We have decided to stick with large heirloom breeds. I have some JGiants, and australorps. Next year we are going order some turkins, and standard cornish.

    Slow cook? Should I leave them whole (we did with the X's) or go ahead and quarter them? We will mostly use the RIR's for stews and soups this winter. The husband is a big fan of chicken and dumplings!

    Most people seem to be moving away from the classic block. That is what happened with my first kill, I freaked when I didn't get a clean cut.
    Thanks for the tips
     
  4. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    I raise my CX like any DP bird. They are awesome. They have a really bad rep.

    [​IMG]
    Here is a video of my set up with them. They are 6 weeks old here. Very active and healthy. I raise DP birds as well and the roosters are good eating, but they have to be slow cooked for a good 8 hours in the crock pot to be edible. The flavour is so good, but the texture is chewy if not cooked slowly.

    You can quarter them, but I find a DP rooster barely has enough meat for leftovers after feeding a family of four. But my FIL eats a lot of meat when we sit down.. so yeah.

    With the CX I leave some whole, but cut up most of them and make stock right away with the parts I can't get off the carcass.
     
  5. TaraBellaBirds

    TaraBellaBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow you have one hell of a setup! Just beautiful. My homestead is set up on three "city lots" at the edge of a small farming and ranching community. My birds have free range of a small wooded area in the very back of our setup. With all of this space all my CX did was sit by the waterers and sh*^t themselves....that is after eating a tremendous amount of feed. They were huge birds but they just had no real quality of life and tasted just like what you'd get at the store. I want flavor and natural happy healthy birds. This is just my first year so I figure my ideas will change over time and experience and we may give the broilers a chance again later on. My production RIR's are just one of those live and learn situations. Thanks for sharing your lovely setup!
     
  6. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Thank you :)

    Restricting feed gets them going. My CX range up to two acres and are always hunting bugs. They've killed field mice, frogs and even a rat (not sure where they found that, but they had it in the yard).
    The ones I have left are 10 weeks now. I don't have time to butcher them until next week (getting married tomorrow) and I have no worries about their health.

    If food is provided to them at all hours they are much less likely to explore. Just give them a chance again. :) You really will see a difference in the quality of the meat! My parents just ate their first chicken breasts from me tonight and they were raving about the taste and tenderness to it. Makes me proud!
     
  7. TaraBellaBirds

    TaraBellaBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Congrats on your wedding! So exciting. So how long do you restict feed? I left feed out for my first flock, and I also mixed my layers and these DP roos (not doing that again). My second batch which are almost 12 weeks are so much more friendly and growing beautifully. I don't leave feed out for the young ones yet, they get plenty of starter and treats throughout the day. Good luck and thanks again.
     
  8. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    I restrict feed by only allowing them to eat twice a day. The rest of the day they forage exclusively. The time it takes them to consume their breakfast and dinner is about 15 minutes total. That is how I keep them active :)
     
  9. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aoxa I have done the same thing with mine and they have about 1 and 1/2 out of 2 acres to roam and they do roam but my problem is that in order to do this I have to block access to the layer coop and access to the feed buckets for it to work. They (CRX or Freedom Rangers) are amazing at foraging because they are constantly hungry but they forage everywhere and it's like they talk to each other. I went from getting two dozen eggs a day down to getting 4 a day and found that it was from the meat birds getting in the coop and eating my eggs as well as bugs feed and whatever else they could get their little beaks on. Maybe it's where I got my birds from, not sure. This batch I just did would get into the coop daily and eat the eggs and the minute I went outside they would run up and swarm my legs so that I would feed them. If I didn't give them something they would peck at my legs and I actually had little blood blisters on my legs from where they bit and twisted with their beaks.

    Not sure what I am doing wrong but wow. The meat was good but the behavior really wasn't.

    For the OP I use cones for the expediency. I used to sit with them in my lap and do each individually and that was fine but took a bit longer. It also isn't something I really want to do with a rooster who is just plain evil as they will try and bite, scratch and beat you to death the whole time you are holding them. Now we are all about streamlining so we aren't all day at processing.

    First off picking up the mean roosters I find that grabbing their legs and hanging them upside down is safest for me. I can get them a whole arms length away from me which means I don't lose blood while processing too. It calms them down for some reason and makes it easier to put them in the cones. I have 3 cones and we got a few saw horse brackets and made a high sawhorse to hitch the cones too. It works great. I also have a tub plucker. Expensive yes but invaluable since it take 24 to 30 seconds to do 2 to 4 birds where I take 30 minutes to do one (yeah I know I suck at plucking). I also have a piranta edge razor blade knife from Havalon. It comes with 13 blades and I have used it the last two years and still have 10 blades. It's that sharp. This year my husband added some field dressing shears to my list of tools made by HME. Once again kudos to my husband, as they are amazing at cutting up the bones (neck, back, legs etc) and are amazing. These are also both dishwasher safe so can be put right in the dishwasher once you are done to sterilize them for the next time. I highly recommend them. I have done the chopping block, the chair, wringing necks and even thought about shooting them with the 22 (okay I said thought about it I didn't do it lol) Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  10. TaraBellaBirds

    TaraBellaBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great information here! I love the knife, not sure it would be here in time for this batch. My roos are scheduled for Sat! We will use a cone (although my father is set that the old way is the only way) and I am going to let them bleed out (again father thinks, "it'll be faster at the block"). I hope this will save us a bigger mess, we shall see.
    As a side note, almost the moment the roos were culled my flock took on a much calmer note! Next year I will be permanently separating my meat flock and my girls once their sex is apparent! Live and learn
     

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