Butchered our first meatie this morning!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by CALI CHICK, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. CALI CHICK

    CALI CHICK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Rio Linda, CA
    We planned to wake up at 6am and butcher our 2 cornish cross chickens. Hubby thought he had it all under control...since he'd seen it done as a kid! It was still too dark, so we drank coffee and watched a YouTube video on how to butcher a chicken!

    Next, hubby is looking for a rope and a knife. I'm asking, "Why don't you have everything ready? You've known we were planning this all week!". Finally, about 7:30 he gets the chicken hung upside down in the tree. Our son, and I are in the house wringing our hands and pacing the floor. Husband comes in the house and we ask, "Is the chicken dead?" "No, where exactly is the jugular?" he asks ME! I look up the info and tell him. He goes back outside for another minute. When he comes back in we rush up and ask, "Did you do it?" He stomps past us, "No, the knife isn't sharp enough." Husband leaves the house and makes a trip to our local Walmart. Now, son and I are crying because the chicken is just hanging there. Is he suffering? Maybe we should take him down? Maybe he is just hypnotized because he's upside down? We wait. I think about calling someone who is experienced, but my phone battery is dead. I look up the info on BYC and sure enough, it says that chickens can die upside down because they can't breath...Now we really get worried.

    Husband gets home - I'm glad we didn't take the chicken down.

    Hubby goes back outside and comes back inside within a few seconds. Son informs me that Dad killed it because he was rinsing blood off the knife! Things got better after that. I heated up the water -again! Next, we all helped in plucking the feathers. At this point, the chicken begins to look like what we are used to seeing at the grocery store. I even found the gutting a little interesting and took over a couple of times. Two hours later (9:30am) we were done with our first chicken and decided to do the other one later this week.

    Just a recommendation...let someone experienced help you the first time you butcher. AND, have a sharp knife!


    [​IMG]
     
  2. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    Congrats. The first few times do have some issues - our first time we were pawing through a magazine with pictures on how to butcher - squinting at those then returning to the bird. And between us we've had 6 semesters of (human) anatomy.

    We've now done 8 birds total and have it down to 25 to 30 minutes from start to throwing the full carcass in the cooler.

    Did you let your bird rest before you ate it? They're supposed to be more tender if you refrigerate them for 24 to 48 hours from death to eating.
     
  3. CALI CHICK

    CALI CHICK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wanted to let it rest, but my husband felt like after all the "work" he deserved to eat some. We only ate the breast meat. (And yes, I thought it was kind of tough and chewy.) The remainder is in the refridgerator "resting", so we'll see if that tastes any different. And tonight, my husband is doing the other meat chicken, which I'll insist rests for a couple of days.

    It is interesting that you mentioned anatomy. Once my husband started gutting it, I was surprised to find myself at his side helping and making suggestions. -Like I really knew what I was doing, right? At that point, it really was more of an anatomy/cooking lesson. It was no longer about the "poor, suffering chicken", but more about food for the family. Plus, the organs reminded me of doing turkeys for Thanksgiving. What was cool was seeing how it was all joined together and studying the tiny little organs. (Perhaps I've been watching too much CSI!) [​IMG] Nice chatting with you.
     
  4. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    Yeah the first time we did it I was very into the anatomy portion. The heart was gorgeous with all its arteries very visible. This time it was interesting... to catch the roosters I was feeding them and then cornering them... so the first few you could see the sunflower seeds in the crop... then the last few had a very full colon. I'd highly recommend starving your birds and pulling them off the roost in the morning!


    Let us know how this one goes... and how it tastes.
     
  5. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ayuh.

    There's a thread I think is still on the front page about what to have on hand when butchering. Everybody's process and routine is different. We can all do it differently and defend our reasons for doing so to anyone who has another way.

    What is inescapable is the need for SHARP knives, and a steel at hand to touch them up as needed. Sharp knives of the right size and weight are essential. A cleaver or heavy chef's knife for severing the head and leg and neck joints will avoid injury to the butcher that could result from a dull knife breaking through and taking off in an unplanned direction. Similarly, with the skin around the vent pulled taut, a sharp edge will open the cavity easily. Any hacking/leaning/sawing with a dull blade increases the risk of breaking through and opening the bowel as well.

    I can smile at your story. One of the neighbors asked for my help in butchering what remained of his flock of Pekins that a predator (I suspect a fox) has been picking off. He'd started with a dozen, intended to be ornaments to his farm pond, after his disappointment when their chickens were cleaned out in one day last spring by a pack of roaming dogs. When he asked me to help he had six ducks left. By last Sunday, we had five to do up.

    Where your story rings in with me is his wife's involvement in the butchering. She put in a single appearance on the deck, but not until she was sure that what she would see below would be something resembling a bird that she could put in a roasting pan, and not something with feathers that might have been walking about her yard only a short while before.

    She was on board with the need of it, just not entirely comfortable with what's involved with the transition from duckliness to freezer camp.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
  6. ladyride

    ladyride Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Looks like we both as 1st timers did it. The one thing we did have was a sharp knife lol. [​IMG] WE had looked at 2 peoples blogs on here to kinda get an idea of what we were doing . Congrats on getting it done. At least now you have a sharp knife, everything is so much easier, that & a plucker that thing paid for itself yesterday. We still have [​IMG] more to go . You even got your other 1/2 in on it which more than some can say & she has an interest in helping . Next time grab a shot or glass of wine it steadies the nerves. [​IMG]
     
  7. CALI CHICK

    CALI CHICK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ScottyHomey-You are exactly right. I relate with your neighbor's wife. I just don't want to see the chicken suffer or look anything like the fat "Baby Huey" who liked to waddle after me for food! In my own defense...I've come a long way. When I first got married (18 yrs ago) I would get nauseous preparing chicken for supper if I could see fat or bones?? [​IMG] And, I'd never even touched a live chicken until a year ago. At least we're going in the right direction.

    Update on chicken #2 [​IMG]

    As promised, DH came home from his job and went right to work on the other chicken. Today's chicken (named Stew) was huge -he weighed nearly 9 pounds.
    With the right tools -and a bit of experience- we finished our 2nd chicken in 1 hour. The first one had a rough start, not having a sharp knife and all, but went pretty smooth from there. The difference of chicken #2 was that he had SO much fat holding the organs together that it took longer to get him cleaned out. I'm not sure if we'll run to the feed store for more CornishX yet, though. But, we are thankful for the 2 chickens in the fridge that will provide 4 or 5 meals for our family.

    Superchemicalgirl-The breast meat was a little tough (to me) but had good flavor. I'm glad the rest of the 1st chicken -and all of the 2nd chicken will rest in the fridge for a few days.
    I know you mentioned to starve them 24 hrs before butchering. I don't give them anymore food, but I give them water & allow them to eat grass and bugs if they want to forage. I've read that some people cage them during that 24 hours before butchering, but I try to keep it natural for them. Neither time did we have trouble with their crop, vent or gizzard (or whatever organs hold the food)...maybe beginners luck.

    It's hard to believe that we could be butchering chickens again before one of our 3 pullets will have laid her first egg. We'll see. Thank you for the support. [​IMG]
     
  8. Evelle

    Evelle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2011
    North Idaho
    sounds like my parents now in ther 60s
    my father is always the wait til the last mintue not prepared and my moms the well this is how its done kinda gal
    [​IMG] yes update how it goes with second [​IMG]
     

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