Couple of thougt from our first processing

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Sweepy, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. Sweepy

    Sweepy Out Of The Brooder

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    We did 7 Cornish Cross birds at 8.5 weeks old. It took 3 of us (all newbies) about 5-6 hours. We used butcherachicken.blogspot.com as our primary instructional. It was fabulous and informative and invaluable!

    The biggest surprise for me was the smell. I guess I was already ready for the sight of all that would happen but pictures only show one dimension. The smell of the warm, dead bird was really tough for me. I discovered that the birds that were kept in an ice bath between plucking and evisceration were more tolerable. I could swear that the smell of dead chicken is still on my hands today. Hubby says that the scalding step left him with a "wet-dog" smell that he can't get rid of.

    Also, the FEEL of the innards. Again, pics can't give you an idea of how it's going to feel to actually touch the internals. Warm insides were more yucky to me. I was surprised by how squeamish I was about this.

    Overall, both of these could be easily remedied (for me) by working with colder birds.

    Removing the head went better than bleeding out. Hubby was in charge of this part and had originally opted to use the method of slitting the jugular so as to avoid any mishaps of unsure blows for beheading. He said that he could swear the bird was in pain on the first couple that he tried. He then just started taking the whole head.

    Our drill mounted Power Plucker did not work to our satisfactory. Is was purchased with our killing cone on Amazon after hearing so any BYCers rave about them (any plucker, not necessarily the Power Plucker). It did pluck the bird fast but left many of the quills inside the bird. My family is pretty obsessive about getting all of those out so for us, that was a deal breaker and we went to hand plucking. Still not 100% but better.

    Speaking of plucking. We had a hard time getting all the feathers because they were just so sticky. It seems like it was hard to pluck and drop the feathers. They all just seems to stick on your hand and then back on the bird making it hard to tell which were plucked and stuck or which had not been plucked yet. Did we just not use enough water to rinse during this step or what?

    We did not have a good plan as to what we wanted to do with the birds. We want to freeze some as broilers and some as parts but because we didn't plan in advance, we had to just refrigerate and the birds whole for resting and then organize our parts before the shrink wrap and freezing. I wish we'd been better prepared so that all those jobs were already done.

    We lost a lot of time in the morning just setting up our stations. Next time, we'll do as much of that as we can the night before.

    We have 7 more to do in a couple of weeks. If those birds are not super yummy, we may not even bother doing it all again. It was a lot of work but well worth it for a fresh, tasty chicken dinner. Especially since our egg birds are REALLY trying our patience! Thanks to soooo many of you who unknowingly made it all possible through your advice and voice of experience. I can't wait to taste our efforts.
     
  2. trunkman

    trunkman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 26, 2009
    Rock Hill SC
    It gets better every time I do it, the first time took forever, now I'm down to 12 minutes per bird by myself. I also use a drill plucker I made myself. If the feathers don't come off easily right away I re dip in the hot water, 150 degrees to be exact. Don't give up even if the birds you processed aren't the best you've ever had, just the fact that there are no steroids and antibiotics in them is reason enough to keep raising and processing your own.
    I just purchased 25 cornish cross 2 weeks ago, can't wait to get them in the freezer, my wife and I love the taste, moisture and the thought that we did it all ourselves. Don't give up!! [​IMG]
     
  3. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lower Alabama
    I hate pulling guts out of any dead animal! If the feathers stick to your hands and the bird just rinse them off with a water hose so you can see what you're doing. I always have a water hose going when I clean chickens to keep the yuck washed off.
     
  4. Sandyd

    Sandyd Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 12, 2012
    It also helps to put dish soap in the scald water. That breaks down the oils on the feathers to keep them from sticking as bad.
     
  5. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama

    I saw that in a thread where a guy did that. It doesn't make the chicken soapy?
     
  6. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps


    The soap helps cut the oils on the feathers. You don't add too much, just a little. You rinse the birds a couple of times anyway, so no soap remains on the skin.
     
  7. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 4, 2013
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    Cool. I have noticed that the feathers repel the water and sometimes I have to redip the carcass in the scalding pot after I've plucked about half the feathers.
     
  8. BCMaraniac

    BCMaraniac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 27, 2013
    I've done it both ways.....and having dishwashing liquid definitely helps. This is why Dawn dishwashing liquid is used to clean the birds when there is an oil spill.
     
  9. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dawn is awesome!

    Also, make sure your water is hot enough. I try to keep mine between 160 - 175. A second dip is easy to do, and won't hurt the skin unless left in too long. Then the skin will tear.
     

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