I did it...how can I do it better next time?

Cloverleaf Farm

Bearded Birds are Best
11 Years
Sep 16, 2008
10,368
137
328
Levan, UT
Ok, so I don't have THAT many birds to process, just 3 more. But after the last attack I was willing to tolerate today, I bumped up butcher day for one of my bantam cochin boys. It took me AN HOUR to get him from the chopping block to the fridge....holy cow.
Here's what I did:

Tied his feet so he couldn't claw me, and to help me keep his post-mortem movements to a minimum.
Removed head with ax. (I don't have anywhere to put up a cone).
Waited for flapping, etc to cease...held him upside down to aid in bleeding, didn't seem like enough blood though...??
I don't have anywhere to set up a table/scalder right now, so I skinned him. I used a pair of tree branch loppers to cut through joints on legs and wings (removed wings altogether). Once I got most of the skin off, I cut the neck further down...got quite a bit more blood at this time..??
I had a really hard time getting the trachea out - any tips for that? Innards came out piece by piece - is there a way to get them all out together like you can with a mammal?
A little poo dripped out and got onto a small area of thigh - I think I cut away everything that was contaminated, and washed him really well, but is this a problem?
I also had a hard time removing testicles - if you break them, will they contaminate meat like a deers will? The lungs came out nice, and I think everything else went ok. He's in the fridge now, destined to go to the crockpot tomorrow to make a nice pot of soup.

I'm planning on doing his brother on Sunday, I'd love it to not take an hour, so any tips / advice / things you think I could do better would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!!
 

justbugged

Head of the Night Crew for WA State
11 Years
Jan 27, 2009
7,877
39
306
Enumclaw
I think that there is a sticky at the top on the Meat Birds ETC section that show how to butcher a chicken. Some of it is learning how to do and practice. DH and I used our picnic table for a butchering table. It is one of those tables built out of 2x4s. DH add longer legs to the table so that he didn't have to bend over as much. We are both fairly tall people. DH used clamps to attach a used traffic cone at one end of the table. It drains into a 5 gallon bucket. This is a very effective way of processing the birds. I do remember watching my son do the first bird, and remember that it took a long time to get it dressed out. We have gotten a lot faster since. We have always skinned our birds. Someday I might pluck a couple, but I still don't have a setup that would make it practical to do. I have also learned that it is easier to use the meat if you de-bone it before it goes into the freezer. I watched the Jack Pepin video on YouTube to learn how to do it fast.

As for some possible contamination, as long as you cook the meat to 160F you shouldn't have any problems.
 

RedfogsFlock

Songster
10 Years
Jan 17, 2010
617
7
166
Wittmann, AZ
Quote:
Well we processed turkeys this past weekend. We don't have an area for scalding either so what we did was boiled some water & dumped it into a tote on the back patio. We dunked them there, worked like a champ!
We hung the birds by their feet before decapitating them, then just stepped back.
As for the trachea, I loosen it from the neck & then slide my fingers in all around it right up to the inside of the bird. Then when I was pulling the inerds out I pulled the trachea & craw out the same direction from the but end.
The innards well I slide my hand in and loosen the up from all around, then they will come out in one piece.
When we started our turkeys the first one took about 30 min, and by the last one we had it down to a few minutes! There are some awesome videos on youtube about processing. We watched them over & over till we felt we had it down. As for chickens well after the turkeys we moved on to a few of our EE roo's, & that seem to go like lightning!

GOOD LUCK ON YOUR NEXT ONE!
 

PunkinPeep

Songster
10 Years
Mar 31, 2009
3,642
70
229
SouthEast Texas
I was going to say that you might want to wait more than a day to cook your rooster. It might depend some on how old he is, but i have had much better success with letting them rest 3 days before cooking. I'm kind of jealous of you. We've eaten all our home-raised chicken, and we won't have any to butcher until January. I miss them. The're so good!
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Also, and i might end up being very embarrassed here, but i've butchered several handfuls of chickens now, and i don't think chickens have testicles. Am i wrong? I could be wrong.
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
592
448
South Georgia
Yes, chickens have testicles, they are about where I would expect their kidneys to be, and they are kind of kidney shaped. The actual kidneys are really small. There's an anatomy chart on here somewhere if you feel like hunting it.

I use the above method for getting the trachea out, too; seems to work pretty well. I have also spilled some gut contents, several times. Of course it was rinsed well and cooked to proper temp; did not notice anything wrong with the flavor. I've broken most every innard one time or another. The only one that affects the meat in spite of rinsing, as far as I know, is the gall bladder -- its green contents are pretty obvious once you've seen them. And I've never tried eating one before letting it rest at least a day, that I can remember. I've done a lot of them with the head chop method, but I believe the throat slit probably bleeds them better.
 

PunkinPeep

Songster
10 Years
Mar 31, 2009
3,642
70
229
SouthEast Texas
O.k. i did some googling. Shows what i know.
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I totally thought those were kidneys.
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Apparently they're also a grilled delicacy some places - according to google images.
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Thanks for the education!
 

Cloverleaf Farm

Bearded Birds are Best
11 Years
Sep 16, 2008
10,368
137
328
Levan, UT
Thanks for all the replies! He's in the crockpot now, he sat a full 24 hours first, though he was only 6 months old, so hopefully that'll be ok...AND he's going to be soup, so should be alright even if he's a little chewy, as I'm going to chop the meat up really small before I add all the veggies and pasta.

The larger birds will probably be easier to clean, this was just a bantam cochin, so I could hardly fit my whole hand in there AFTER I had all the insides out!
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Thanks again!!
 

Ibicella

Songster
10 Years
Nov 13, 2009
578
40
176
Everett, WA
You can also try wrapping them in an old pillowcase or feed sack and hang them that way. It helps a lot in helping you not to get battered or scratched.

Chickens bleed a lot less than you'd think.

Since this was a very small bird, it's going to be more difficult. With larger birds you can just stick your hand in all the way to the back and pull, and it will get most everything out at once.

With the trachea, I skin that off the neck. After you cut out the crop, cut the skin around the base of the neck in a circle. Then just strip down the skin and everything will go with it.

I haven't heard of breaking the testicles and having them contaminate the meat. Actually, I'm not sure that's even possible unless you cut them. They're pretty rubbery.

Enjoy your soup!
 

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