First time processing - great difficulties and then SUCCESS!!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Ema, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. Ema

    Ema Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2010
    N. Ontario CANADA
    So today we had planned on processing a few birds, they are DP's. and almost 17 weeks old. we watched and went through a lot of step by step instructions/videos and we definitely thought we had this in the bag. We got all set up and the troubles started as soon as we grabbed our first bird.

    We decided on a barred rock roo, well dh went to go pick him up and the first thing it did was turn around and fight?? he pecked my dh real hard and jumped at him and dug his nails into him. well we finally subdued him and I calmed him down (dh too, cause he was pretty mad) well moving on to doing the slitting, I won't even go there, lets just say everything and anything that could have gone wrong went wrong,

    Once it bled out we decided we would try both plucking and skinning and see which one we preferred before going ahead with the other 36 birds that need processing.

    well the plucking was going real well but kinda slow, since I have never done this before. and then the bird got super hard (rigor mortis) and I had a hard time plucking the rest of him. And no matter how many times we redunked him I couldn't get the feathers or pin feathers out. so After 30 minutes or so I decided the skin had to come off cause the bird was taking too long and it needed to go into cold water, mind you it is not hot out today, in fact we had the heat on last night.

    well the skinning process was a mess and a half. but we got the bird done and it got everything out on the inside without damaging the bile duct or the intestines.

    Our second bird was a columbian roo, we went straight to skinning and that was a bit easier but the legs and wings were real hard to do. thought it was a bit easier it still took us nearly an hour from the time we chose the bird to getting it inside the cooler.

    I obviously and clearly have some clue of what I am doing, but I am too darn slow!!!!!

    Was anyone else this slow on their first birds?? Tomorrow I have a few people (avid hunters) coming over to help my dh and I process 11 turkeys, that are between 30 to 40 lbs I am a bit scared of finding myself standing out in my field at midnight still processing turkey :-S mind you these guys have done wild birds and other big creatures many a time so I won't be alone.

    Last edited: Oct 7, 2011
  2. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 24, 2011
    Bristol, VT
    Quote:I actually did the gutting today when we processed 63. I didn't do all of it but quite a bit. My first bird was about 20 minutes to get it gutted completely. It got faster after that. I think once you know more what you are doing that it makes it a lot easier and you are able to go faster because you are more sure of yourself.
  3. Ema

    Ema Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2010
    N. Ontario CANADA
    thanks, I was second guessing myself quite a lot in the process of it all. wasn't sure if I was indeed doing it right or not. Also I don't think we had a good system going either, it was just my dh and I. I am hoping tomorrow will be a better day, and more efficient than today was for sure!!.
  4. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 13, 2008
    I think it took me even longer than that the first time I did a chicken. Granted, I'm pretty meticulous about things, and tend to be slower than some, anyway, but still... It now takes me a lot less time, but I still prefer to do only a couple at a time, generally--more on a as needed type basis (I have a small freezer, and a small flock). (I also don't skin, because I like the skin for roasting and for stock, and I also work through the carcass to save every single edible or useful part, so of course that adds a little time.) I know it's after the fact, but I would NEVER recommend to someone to try to slaughter that many chickens their first time--although I applaud your bravery and perseverance! [​IMG]

    Good luck with the turkeys! I think if you did 36 chickens, 11 turkeys shouldn't be too hard...
  5. crj

    crj Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 17, 2009
    Rocky Point, NC
    I believe the reason it was so hard to defeather your roo was because your hot water wasn't hot enough. The water has to be no less then 150 degrees. So, if you dunk the bird and swish it around the water has to stay above 150. When we did it it was just below 150 and it was kind of hard. Then we let the water get up to 155 and dunked the bird in the pot quickly did the twist swoosh and it worked like a charm. The feathers just fell off. You see, the water cools because the birds temp is lower which lowers the heat in the pot of water.

    Next time when you grab a bird get him then hang it upside down and he will be nice an calm within a minute. Then tie him up and slit him while he is upside down. It really makes it easy. I had a wheelbarrow with pine shaving is it to catch the blood. No mess this way at all. We had a couple of nails in a 4x4 where we tied the bird too with the wheelbarrow edge underneath.

    I hope tomorrow works out better for you. Good luck.
  6. henney penny

    henney penny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 21, 2009
    Northern Maine
    Go to youtube,I watched a video on there that took you through the whole thing.I did my first ones last week and don`t want to do that again,will take them to have them processed from now on,a lot less stressful for me
  7. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    Quote:I agree. If they are scalded properly you can almost wipe the feathers from the carcass vs plucking feather by feather. We test by pulling on the primary feathers. They should slip with very little resistance.
  8. Ema

    Ema Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2010
    N. Ontario CANADA
    It does make sense that the water temps must of dropped, the first dunking the breast feathers came out real fast after that though it got tough. so you are likely more than right.

    CRJ, we did hang our birds, and uhmm that went terribly wrong, when they began flapping around the rope snapped and I had a bouncing bleeding roo. I was trying to leave this bit of info out of my misfortune tale, lol...anyhow I felt bad for the roo so I held it down. so first thing tomorrow I am going to buy stronger rope.

    the videos I watched were through you tube or were linked from this forum to youtube. Everything I learned thus far about processing has been through this site.

    I am adamant on perfecting this for myself and my dh. by the time I finish processing all these birds I should have a clear understanding of to do it efficiently. Next year it will be a breeze. At least I hope so!!

  9. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Chillin' With My Peeps

    Firstly, congrats on sticking with it! When I processed my 5 roo it took me quite awhile too... Like close to an hour. This isn't a race, it takes as long as it takes!

    With the water I would put the pot on a heat source and fiddle with the heat to keep the water at the correct temp. It's a whole lot easier than trying to move the big ole pot of water to the heat. Sounds obvious don't it? I however get all caught up on the project and my scant pile of sense flies away. [​IMG]

    Practice definitely pays off...
  10. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    Quote:Been there and done that... Some sort of cone really is the way to go, even if it's just a bleach bottle or an old traffic cone. It really helps to restrain the wings. I've been thinking that a person could probably fashion one in the same style as the stainless steel cones, but out of cardboard, and just throw it away when they're done.

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