Back at It

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by bigredfeather, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    After 7 weeks of not butchering, time to go back at it this weekend. The first 50 of 250 are ready to go to the killing cones. It was nice having a break, but I am more than ready to get back into it. I am still amazed with these CX. Last week I was looking at them and was concerned they wouldn't be big enough, but in the past week they have filled out nicely. I used to get str8 run, but I switched to all cockerals since we are selling so many breasts. These cockerals have no problem getting to 5 pounds in seven weeks. I have found it's not worth the time cutting up birds less than 5 pounds (dressed). I just love how nice broilers turn out in the Fall. They always seem to look better than ones raised in wet Spring and hot Summer conditions.
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Great! I wish I could process birds, but my husband said he used to have to do it as a kid, and has ordered me not to even try. (Of course, I'll do it if I want to do it.....[​IMG])

    Can you share some info with me? What tools will I need? I know I'll need to set up a culling station, but are there special knives and such that I should have handy? Do you have any tips that make it easier for you?

    I sure would appreciate your input,
    Sharon
     
  3. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The bare minimum tools you will need is a sharp knife, a pot of water and burner that you can heat and maintain a water temp of around 145*(if you want to pluck them), and a worksurface. Things that make it easier are killing cones and a plucker. As far as knives, any sharp knife will work, but they do make specialized poultry processing knives, and I have some.

    Tips - Don't give up or get discouraged after your first go at it. As with anything else, it takes practice and trial and error. If your hubby did it back in the day, I'm sure it will come back to him. If you do try it, once you get started, play the damsel-in-distress card, and hopefully hubby will come to the rescue. LOL Being able to process chickens has given a great deal of satisfaction as far as being self sufficient. It isn't the most pleasant job in the world, but it puts quality chicken in the freezer, and makes us a little money selling to others.

    Goodluck!
     
  4. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Thank you! I really do think I can handle it. If I called for help, I think my husband would probably get annoyed. (Oh he's terrible! LOL Whever he builds things, he does a wonderful job, but he will throw his tools and get really mad, so I stay out of his way unless he asks me to help.) So I think I would be alone for this job.

    But I was thinking, if I hatch anymore chicks with my incubator, and I get roos, I would feel bad at all if I culled them and then processed them for a nice meal. And you're right, I think it would be very self satisfying to raise some CX and process them myself.

    I may try that next year, and I'm going to make sure I have everything ready so I'm 100% prepared....No surprises!

    Thank you so much for the advice.
    Sharon
     
  5. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I processed my first chicken this past spring, 100% by myself. Okay, maybe 99% by myself, as there was a mishap when I tried to kill the chick and my poor DD had to hold the chicken's feet. Needless to say, it didn't go well. Only the killing bothered me- I had zero problem doing the rest. The killing shook me- like I was shaking and my heart was beating fast. It freaked me out.

    The moral of my story- I did it on a Sat that my husband worked. I finished the one and waited for him to get home, and then tried the damsel in distress thing. He told no freakin' way, the chickens were my idea, and that he knew this was exactly what I was going to do.

    I took them to the processor two days later:)

    I'm not trying to be discouraging, though. Most husbands are more susceptible to the damsel in distress thing- mine grew up on a farm where they butchered their own chickens and hogs, and he never ever ever ever wants to live that kind of life, so he's pretty animate about not helping me unless it involves power tools or heavy lifting that I could in no way accomplish myself (he did help me with my meatie tractor because he wanted the chicks out of his garage ASAP). And I promise, he's not normally unsupportive, he just knows me really well and knows I have a problem with followthrough, so he did the right thing in the case.

    And as hard as it was, I'm really glad I processed the one that I did. I will continue to take them to be processed elsewhere as long as it's an option, but someday there may not be professional processors around and I'll know I can do it myself. The only thing I would have done differently is to somehow make it a group affair- I think it's a job best done as a group, not solo. And I would have paid my brother in law to kill them for me, since he offered.

    Good luck!
     
  6. jenny_kap

    jenny_kap Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i have an advice for you, ladies. feed your husbands with home raised chickens for a few months in a row and suddently cook some store bought chicken. they will taste the difference and understand the message.
     
  7. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    There are some good threads filled with helpful info at the "stickies" part on the top of the Meat Birds Etc section. Take a look at those and see if you still have questions. Of course the best way to learn is to DO IT. Start with just a few birds at a time. Each time you process you'll find that you've learned something to help make your next session go easier & faster. You may have to try a few different techniques or types of equipment to find what works best for YOU.

    One thing I'd amend in Bigredfeather's recommendations is having a heat source to maintain your scalding water at an even temp. The water only needs to be at that temp while you're dipping the birds to scald right before plucking. It's okay if the water cools in-between the times you're actually scalding. And it usually only takes a minute or two to scald them. I heat my water over an outside fire or burner, or on the stove inside, and bring it to pour in the 5-gallon bucket I use for scalding.

    BRF, I wish you well with all the meaties you have to process, hope they all turn out delicious!
     
  8. becky3086

    becky3086 Crested Crazy

    Oct 14, 2008
    Thomson, GA
    Quote:I processed my first chicken this past spring, 100% by myself. Okay, maybe 99% by myself, as there was a mishap when I tried to kill the chick and my poor DD had to hold the chicken's feet. Needless to say, it didn't go well. Only the killing bothered me- I had zero problem doing the rest. The killing shook me- like I was shaking and my heart was beating fast. It freaked me out.

    The moral of my story- I did it on a Sat that my husband worked. I finished the one and waited for him to get home, and then tried the damsel in distress thing. He told no freakin' way, the chickens were my idea, and that he knew this was exactly what I was going to do.

    I took them to the processor two days later:)

    I'm not trying to be discouraging, though. Most husbands are more susceptible to the damsel in distress thing- mine grew up on a farm where they butchered their own chickens and hogs, and he never ever ever ever wants to live that kind of life, so he's pretty animate about not helping me unless it involves power tools or heavy lifting that I could in no way accomplish myself (he did help me with my meatie tractor because he wanted the chicks out of his garage ASAP). And I promise, he's not normally unsupportive, he just knows me really well and knows I have a problem with followthrough, so he did the right thing in the case.

    And as hard as it was, I'm really glad I processed the one that I did. I will continue to take them to be processed elsewhere as long as it's an option, but someday there may not be professional processors around and I'll know I can do it myself. The only thing I would have done differently is to somehow make it a group affair- I think it's a job best done as a group, not solo. And I would have paid my brother in law to kill them for me, since he offered.

    Good luck!

    OMG we have twins for husbands! LOL LOL. Once mine gets mad, I walk away from him but watch out the windows so I can retrieve the thrown tools later when he can't find them. I do all the butchering myself now. [​IMG]
     
  9. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

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    We are doing the same thing this season. Switched to cockerels and are cutting our growing time by a week (we took straight run to 8 wks). Our first batch will be ready in a couple weeks.
     
  10. BigSkyChickens

    BigSkyChickens Free Bird

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    Chicmom, You can do it!

    I did my first 7 in the spring. I had watched a lot of youtube videos (even some that clearly illustrated how NOT to do it) and checked out the tutorials recommended here on BYC.

    Homework really helped, but DOING helped even more. Like Sunny Side Up said, each time I learned something that helped me do better the next time.

    I cried after the last kill of the day, but that's OK. I appreciate where my meat comes from in a whole new way.

    I've got ten more coming next week. I can't wait!
     

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