Can I do it myself?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by tlaquepaque, May 24, 2010.

  1. tlaquepaque

    tlaquepaque In the Brooder

    May 7, 2009
    I posted a few weeks ago that I got some meat birds as a gift from a neighbor. They've been doing nicely in the backyard separated from my egg hens but they are huge! I've only been able to find one butcher to take them and they are about an hour away and can't do it until June 5th. So, should I try to do it myself? I have NO experience with this. I've been reading tutorials and think I get how to do it but I don't have any equipment. I'll bind their legs and hang upside down. I lined up my father-in-law to do the throat slit and then my husband said he would cut off the head and feet for me. These are the most gruesome parts that I don't think I can handle. It's only two birds so I think if I get a good scald I can hand pluck.

    What do you all think? Should I give it a go or see if they make it until June 5th? Not sure exactly how old they are. Probably 8-9 weeks at this point?
  2. bnentrup

    bnentrup Songster

    May 5, 2010
    Central Indiana
    I don't know.. I am a hunter/meat lover/manly man.. but have a hard time getting close enough to slice the throat myself with a knife when they are alive. I would recommend using a VERY Sharp set of loppers, and a killing cone (use an old pylon cone upside down with the top cut a bit). This gives you a bit more distance, is quick/humane, and gets the job done. just my-2-cents.
  3. TimG

    TimG Songster

    Jul 23, 2008
    Do it yourself. Not only does it make sense from the practical side, but it will be good from the holistic/spiritual side; everyone should go through the experience of where their food comes from and how it gets to the table.

    If you get the scald right and wear some sort of rubber gloves, the plucking should go pretty quickly, my son and I plucked two dual purpose birds in about five minutes earlier this year.

    Don't cut off the feet before you pluck, they make great handles.
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
  4. NurseNettie

    NurseNettie Songster

    Feb 13, 2008
    Northern Maine
    It's not that difficult. Sharp knives, hot hot water, good surface to work on, and running water to keep everything clean.
    Read tutorials, and WATCH you-tube videos. There are lots of links here, so do a search.
    It will give you a new take on what you are eating, and for most people, that's a good thing, and tends to knock us down a peg or two.
    I've done it a few times, and made a few mistakes, but have learned from them, and gotten better each time I do it.
    Ask questions if you have them, before you do it, but you should be fine once you read and watch exactly what to do. Then, just go for it and don't hesitate- be prepared, do it, and you'll be fine. I think everyone should do it at least once on their own.
    Good luck!
    Ask anything you need to know.

  5. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    Step outside of your comfirt zone and do it. There is satisfaction is raising an animal from cradle to grave, and then making a fine meal out of it. Make sure you let the meat sit for 12-24 hours before cooking. We let it sit for 48 hours before cooking.
  6. NurseNettie

    NurseNettie Songster

    Feb 13, 2008
    Northern Maine
    I second this. It relaxes the meat, and it's great.
    We got a bunch of BB White turkeys last summer, (still have a few, ugh!) and we brined one of the hens for about 24-36 hours, then roasted on our gas grill ( was too big for the oven). It was the most delicious bird we'd ever eaten.
    I'm hoping to do meat chickens soon, but probably next year ( had surgery this month, unexpected, that's set me back a bit). Can't wait !

  7. bigdaddyabc

    bigdaddyabc Songster

    May 5, 2010
    SUPER easy. Particularly since I skinned instead of plucked. We don't eat the skin anyway, so kinda just peeled em like a banana. Just be sure to a) cut the tail off completely, or be SURE to get the glands. b) scrape out the lungs. and c) NOT punture the intestines in the body cavity.....pretty yucky and smelly. Easy peezy, lemon squeezy.
  8. petrelline

    petrelline Songster

    Feb 13, 2009
    Los Gatos, CA
    YES! You can absolutely do it yourself. I grew up in the city with ZERO livestock experience until a few years ago, and I just harvested my third batch of 25 meat chickens all by myself. I had someone show me on one chicken, but I taught myself most of the process after that, mostly on youtube, from reading various pages on the internet, and from this very very helpful forum. It's slow the first couple of times, but it gets better and easier every single time.

    YES, you CAN DO IT.
  9. The Chicken People

    The Chicken People Songster

    May 4, 2009
    Smithville, Mo
    My DH puts a sock over their head and lays them on the log...chop with a sharp axe then he holds them till they bleed out...scald them and dunkin cold water then pluck, gut etc!!
  10. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    You can do it, even if you think it will be hard - and it might - but you will feel like you have accomplished something that most chicken eating people do not.

    I am a chopper and I do all, from picking up the chicken to the final rest in the fridge. Sharp, sharp knives - you might think you have sharp, but you want sharper -- or a great pair of kitchen shears; I have a pair of Outdoor Edge heavy duty Game Shears. I use the shears for everything but the chop - no knives.

    Do not worry about being "fast" - remember how many people hunt and clean their ducks/turkeys/pheasant - after they get home and the bird has been long dead.

    Gather all the things you think you will need before you start - cutting board, buckets of water, hose, heat source, knives/shears, garbage bags, plastic gloves (I use dishwashing gloves) for plucking after scald, bowls for guts - one to keep and one for dogs/disposal.

    When you get to cleaning the cavity - take your time, go slow, and work your hand inside the body first - to help loosen the connective material on all sides - then once loose you can pull out in a group. And as mentioned - cut the feet off last, just before putting in the fridge to rest. I leave my birds in the fridge, in lightly salted water for up to a week with no problems.

    [​IMG] for you.

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