How long before gutting?


In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 24, 2013
We butchered 2 Cornish crosses this morning (first time) and I have just plucked, removed wings and feet, and they are in a cooler with ice right now. It took longer than I thought, and we have to leave the house in an hour and I'll be gone until about 5:30 this evening. Can I hold off on gutting until then? So about 9 hours from butcher till gutting? Or should I cancel my plans for this morning?

ETA: I could probably make it home for an hour around noon. If 9 hours is too long, how would 3.5 hours be?
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As soon as possible. Immediately after death the bacteria in the gut start invading the internal tissues. Cooling them quickly with an ice bath slows that down, but it will still progress, and the bacteria can contaminate the carcass, leading to concerns about infections later on. 9 hours sounds way to long for my peace of mind.
Immediately after.

Then again, pheasants and other upland birds were hung fully feathered and undrawn for days to weeks. Supposed to tenderize and add help with flavor.
Ok, so I got one done immediately after I posted, the other sat in the ice bath for 3 hours. Would you eat that one? Or cook and feed to the dogs?
Personally I am very strict about cleaning birds, and after that much time would have a hard time eating it. And if you handle it to cook for your dogs, just use precautions and wash everything with soapy warm water. There are very likely others that are not as particular.
So, now I'm realizing I was totally not prepared to do this
I wanted to start much earlier in the morning, but couldn't get my husband out of bed to do it (the plan was that he kills, I do the rest), but I was so gung-ho on it happening this morning that I plunged into the task despite the time. Even the plucking went terribly slow, and therefore I don't even know if I should be eating the first bird that it took about an hour from butcher till being gutted. No question in this post, just ranting that I'm bummed I might not be able to eat the chickens I raised and put time, money and effort into.
I guess I should be glad I only raised 2 for my first time, instead of a whole flock.
I always have mine gutted within the hour. You could wait a little longer, we shoot pheasants and carry them for 3-4 hours in the truck etc. before cleaning them. Sooner is better. I sanitize mine with a couple tablespoons of bleach in a five gallon pail before rinsing and freezing them. This combined with care in not breaking the alimentary tract while removing the intesines will reduce the chances of bacterial contamination.
Oh My...My wife tried to process 2 of our Raised from eggs Roosters yesterday, but she made it as far as the plucking. Submerged the birds in an Ice Bath and planned on finishing this morning but wasn't able to get to it. Instead, she waited til this evening. She never actually gutted the birds because of how stiff the birds got. So now my question is, are these birds even edible?
They stayed submerged in Ice water overnight and most of today with a high temperature today of 53 degrees. So the water temperature stayed pretty low.

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