Chicken Math Subtraction, or, My First Solo Processing

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by donrae, Oct 24, 2015.

  1. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I've helped process birds on and off most of my life, but recently decided I need to do at least one bird, start to finish, all on my ownsome. Usually my Honey does the slaughter and butcher, with me assisting with holding a part, etc if needed. Then I do the finish work in the kitchen. But today, I did my very own bird, start to finish, and it really wasn't that bad!

    My set up
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    The bird in the cone. Just using a milk jug it was hard to tell how large to make the opening for the head, and this was a little large. I kept expecting him to get purchase on the barn with his feet and push through :p
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    The first cut was my " I know I'm killing this bird to eat but I don't want to hurt him" wimpy cut. It did get blood flowing, but if I'd just thrown him back in the coop I think he'd have survived.
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    I got impatient with myself for being a wimp. Wrapped his head in a dishtowel and reached around and gave a good, hard slice, like I actually meant to kill him. You can see the difference...he was gone in no time.
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    While he was bleeding out, I checked my water temp. It had been setting in the cooler for a few hours (long story) and was down to 120 degrees. Back to the house to heat some water in the canning pot, and watch yet another you-tube video while waiting. Water temp only made it to 150 or so, I think it could have been a touch hotter. But the actual plucking was not near the chore I'd been anticipating. It took maybe 20 minutes to get a pretty good looking bird. Note to self--remember to get the back of the bird, especially the back of the wings!
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    Then gutting. Doing this was a last minute decision, so the bird had not been fasted. You can see the huge crop here
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    I did slice into the crop a bit and wound up spilling the contents. They're really not very offensive, it's just feed with a slightly sour smell. You can see this guy had been gorging on the scratch grains with pork fat I'd been feeding.....
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    All that got scooped up and tossed back to the birds.
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    I cut off the entire tail, instead of trying to slice around the oil gland. Pulling out the intestines took more force than I'd realized, but not too bad. I did nick the intestine at some point and had a little fecal material leak out, but rinsing well takes care of that. The flies had found us, so time to move inside!

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    Inside for finish work. Had to scrape a fair amount of pin feathers out with my thumbnail. I think this is the first white skinned bird I've processed, ours have always had a very yellow skin. Sure made it easy to see everything!



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    The finished product! From catching the bird, to clean up complete, took me about 90 minutes. That did include time waiting for more water to heat up, and a rest period for my hands when they started cramping while doing the finish work. I wasn't worried about time at all, and I know this can be shaved down in the future.




    It's weird, but doing this myself gives me such a sense of accomplishment! I've got the bird resting in a baggie in the refrigerator for a few days, then I'll decide what to do with him. I'm still thinking chicken pot pie, but I'd also like to try butterflying one. Well, I've got a whole pen full of these guys, I guess now I'll be able to try all different ways of cooking them!

    And a pic of my helper, Roscoe, guarding the fruits of his labors. He was reluctant to dig in cause I'd been very stern with him about leaving the bird alone while it was in the cone and I went back in the house.

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    Last edited: Oct 24, 2015
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Hey, Rachel, you did it! [​IMG] It does get easier with repetition.
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Finally got pics up, too! Thank you, I'm so proud of myself [​IMG]
     
  4. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Looks like a fine job!

    And it is nice to actually have done it yourself!
     
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    It is a daunting job. Even when you know it needs to be done, when you really want it done, but even still, it is daunting.

    I am getting better, getting the big feathers out is easy, but the small ones! ugh! I may try the fingers on an electric drill bit.

    This time I paid attention, and did not feed them for 24 hours, and it did make the crop easier to handle.

    However, it does make you feel quite successful, when you have it done. It is a higher level of the hobby.

    Good job Donrae, enjoy your meal!
     
  6. Great job on that bird! :thumbsup It looks like it'll be a tasty meal!
     
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I am so proud of you, Rachel! Maybe I'll have to work up my nerve and process a couple while Ken is out of town. I know if I do it while he's around he'll want to take over, and then all I'll learn is what I've already known for 47 years - if I look helpless and lost for even one minute, he's right there to do it for me so I don't have to. Nice most of the time, but not all of the time!
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. jimbob86

    jimbob86 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote: What's weird about that? YOU accomplished something YOU had NEVER done before ...... Seems right as a slow rain to me!

    It needed doing, and there you are, Johnny-On-The-Spot ...... Done. Nothing to see here but future butterflied cockerel. BZ!
     
  9. jimbob86

    jimbob86 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You Chose Wisely, All those Years Ago ....... Got a REAL MAN! .... I'm bettin' he does not prattle on about it, neither ......
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2015
  10. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    [​IMG] Thing is he was in the Navy for the first 26 years of our marriage, so I got used to doing lots of things for myself. Shoot, a Navy wife can change a diaper and change the oil in the car all within an hour! So now when "takeoveritis" hits, I just tease him about trying to make up for lost time!
     
    1 person likes this.

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