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I have never processed a chicken before. Warning: graphic

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Gypsi, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. Gypsi

    Gypsi Chillin' With My Peeps

    But I watched my dad clean a pheasant about 30 years ago. I lost a hen to either heat or egg blockage, within a very few hours, she died after 11 am and 6 pm, shortly after I let them out of the henhouse so they could go play in the cool shade by the dogs water buckets and the fountains. It was 109 today. It has been over 100 for over a month, so I bring the dogs in around noon and turn the hens loose. They have melon treats and good stuff.. 5 eggs were laid between 6 hens. (the wax moth and small hive beetle larva were a big protein boost).

    I cut off her head, not much blood, and I plucked her. I could give her a nice burial, she was my pet, who I got as a chick, nurtured, built houses for, and who had the best that I could offer. But the fact is I buy meat once a week right now, and if I buried her or put her in the dumpster and she did have a physical problem that might affect my other birds, I wouldn't know it.

    I'm fairly sure every time I buy a bag of leg quarters that I am getting meat from sick birds.

    Anyone have pity enough to tell me what I'm doing? I'm so embarrassed I went thru the education files without seeing anything on processing. I figure I'll boil her, any bacteria should be killed off thoroughly,....

    I feel kind of "odd".

    Gypsi
     
  2. Farmer_Dan

    Farmer_Dan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here's good info:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=109583

    I'm not an expert, but even though I will process and eat my own birds, if they die on their own, I will not eat them. I worry a bit though. Maybe more people will chime in, but even if the meat that I buy from the store is not from healthy animals, at least there is a low chance that the meat will make us sick.

    My2c, let us know what you decide to do.
     
  3. itsy

    itsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you opened up her insides yet? How did everything look? Are you familiar with how it should look?

    What did you do with the body so far?

    Do you have any photos of her insides for folks to look at? What were her symptoms before she died?
     
  4. Roccomanchickens

    Roccomanchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Carroll, IA
    The meat you get in leg quarters is not from "sick birds". Chickens are inspected by USDA on the line and the only "sick birds" are the ones with what they call "air sac" which is like a cold in humans. They just have to suck the air sac out of the body cavity and it is ok. The visera is inspected individually on the line and any problems seen, the carcass is pulled off and condemned. If the body is purple or stiff it's probably not ok to eat. Some ethnic groups will eat fish and other animals with the innards intact after they are dead (I've eaten fish that I haven't cleaned until the next day and was OK) But generally you shouldn't eat an animal that has been dead for a while because of the bacteria that starts growing. Some of this bacteria is not killed by cooking.
     
  5. Gypsi

    Gypsi Chillin' With My Peeps

    She looks PERFECT, and that's after I took off the feathers. One light bruise, maybe the size of a pea. Because the rest of the birds moved to the walnut tree and she didn't, I suspect that she had been dead for 3 hours, maybe 4. Rigor had set in. No symptoms. All of the birds are suffering from the heat, panting some, but someone has been having trouble laying, based on egg size and the amount of red droplets on the outside of the eggs, I got 5 perfect eggs from the nest box today, so she may have had a laying issue. And if she did, she's had it for a while, based on that odd, small dark egg. 6 egg days are quite rare, even though I had 6 young hens

    Right now she is plucked, in a sack, in the fridge. I had to go out and clean up the feathery mess before the neighbors noticed. (dogs were out back so she was plucked out front) Now the dogs are in and crated again, and the hens have the yard. It won't drop below 100 til sundown, and it isn't going below 84 at night. I'd sprinkle the run but I need to clean it first, do not want to encourage bacteria growth that the heat is presently inhibiting. So I just make wet spots in the shade for the girls, with a garden hose on very low.

    I will open her up and look in about an hour I hope. Unfortunately I have to be up at 3 am to leave to go pick up a beehive, with bees in it.
    I put a solar cell on the roof today for backup aeration for my ponds, our power grid can go to rolling "brownouts" at any time due to high demand because of the heat. Which is why I wasn't paying much attention to the hens. I have to go back outside. Small matter of turning the brown roof of my pickup white. I need the heat reflecting off...

    Will post pics as soon as I can get to her.
     
  6. DebbieF

    DebbieF Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In a perfect world, animal processers would pull out a sickly animal and discard it. This isn't a perfect world and decisions are made on a cost basis. Beef cattle can still be processed as long as the animal is standing. It can be pretty sick and still stand. At least when you are raising your own meat, you know what condition your animals are in. The USDA, just like all other government organizations, have had cuts to their budgets. During the Bush administration, less dependance on the USDA and more "self policing" was normal. When money and the public are involved, companies shouldn't be allowed to police themselves.
     
  7. itsy

    itsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    While I love a good debate - I don't want the OP to miss out on any advice as to whether or not to process her bird (whether or not the big chicken plants process sickly birds is another topic entirely!!!) [​IMG]

    Just reminding ya'll of the original topic at hand!! [​IMG]

    Edited to add: [​IMG]

    What would I do without emoticons??
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  8. Roccomanchickens

    Roccomanchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, Itsy, you are correct. If the body already had rigor mortis set in (it was dead for several hours) I personally wouldnt eat it. With other animals (cattle, hogs, etc.) as long as they are still alive they technically can be processed. This chicken had been dead for hours. If you were starving, had no other food to eat, maybe; but me, no. I had a similar experience today where 11 of my cornish x chickens died from the heat. I will be putting them out for the vultures later. Again, the bacteria that starts to grow once an animal is dead is dangerous and some of it can't be killed by cooking.

    Also, the OP stated that she believed that leg quarters that she purchased in the store came from sick animals. Technically this might be true, but they have to be alive when they are "slaughtered" to make it into the bag. The chicken in question was dead for hours, wouldn't advise eating it.
     
  9. CluckCluck18

    CluckCluck18 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you think that you are not getting sick birds when you buy them at the store, you are mistaken. The USDA is short staffed and very corrupt. It's estimated that
    up to 90% of what you buy in the store has salmonella in it. Watch a video called " Meet your meat" and you won't believe the things they allow. If you don't know why she died, I'd skip it. I'm sorry you lost your girl, I've recently lost one myself, it's so sad.[​IMG]
     
  10. ChickenAlgebra

    ChickenAlgebra Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2011
    No matter what is being sold, that isn't the issue. This is a bird dead long enough for rigor to set in out in 100* + heat. That is carrion now, nothing else. Throw it away or toss to the vultures.
     

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