I processed my first chicken today!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by carress, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. carress

    carress Songster

    Mar 26, 2008
    Orange county NY
    I'm very proud of myself.
    I posted and ad online, and a guy responded that he wouldn'tmind showing me how to 'do it right'.

    He demonstrated and explained each step. First, he put the chicken in a cone, stretched out his neck and sliced the artery - not removing the head.
    He held the head and feet tightly throughout the spasms and let him bleed out into a bucket. He dipped it in scalding hot water for under a minute, then we plucked him. He cut off the leges and head then went for the guts. He showed me how to separate and prepare the edible stuff, and what parts to avoid.

    Then he said it was my turn. I was a little nervous, but I feel like if I can't kill it, I don't deserve to eat it, so I sucked it up and did it. I did the WHOLE process myself with a little guidance and some intervention when I was messing up on gutting the bird.

    Then we cleaned the birds up and bagged em.

    It feels like one of the most important experiences will ever have. Its like..eating my own home-grown swiss chard - that proud sense of accomplishment.. yea.

    So.. it's not as hard, scary or gross as I thought it would be, and I can't wait to becoem ' a natural'
  2. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    Congratulations! I am proud for you, too! Your account makes me more optimistic about my own upcoming experiences in butchering.
  3. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    how long did u scald them for??? I put mine in slightly less than boiling water for about 10 seconds and the skin got a little too scalded.....did u dip them in cold water after dipping them in hot???
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2008
  4. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    [​IMG] [​IMG] Congrats!!
  5. I did my first 9 yesterday afternoon. I did two a few days prior just to see how I'd handle it. Those first two had leg problems so I continued feeding them in the house and what poopy walls I'm cleaning now! The one pullet was in the house about a month and we had conversations, she lived peacefully w/a lot of loud hunting dogs and busy cats, too.

    Well, the two who couldn't walk were easy since they didn't move except to stretch out their necks and didn't know what hit them. The other 9 were another story.

    We were buds, we walked together, talked together and I held them in my arms. Even as they lost their heads. They did not feel stressed out prior to nor even right up till the moment came. That's important when hunting bigger game like caribou.

    I learned not to let them flop around and damage the meat or break wings when they lose their heads.

    I learned not to keep them in the house once they had heart/leg problems or to continue to allow a cockerel to live to two months old when his one hip was way out of alignment as internally, you cannot see the damage to liver or hearts and also the muscle/meat surrounding a bad hip is not edible.

    I overfed, too. They were fat! I'll be ordering again soon and not over feeding this time. Hopefully their lives and health will be closer to perfect this new go round. They'll still be my buds till the end.

    I really wanted to keep one cockerel and pullet as they feathered out nicely and followed me around while the others ate, talking to me. When dressing them for the freezer, I could see it wouldn't have been for much time, livers were already pale, though they were beautiful otherwise.

    I thought I read directions clearly, but clearly my dyslexia was once again a factor for the first two. I plucked then dunked and nearly half cooked those two. BACKWARDS...the other 9 were much easier to dunk and then pluck;) We counted to 3 and pulled out of the boiling water. My neighbors (partners in chickens) put me straight on that! Good husband that he is, he took his wife out for dinner afterward:)

    I went home, put my half in the freezer and spent time w/my egg layer flocks, geese and the remaining 10 halfgrown cornishx's then it was time for the dogs, cats and to have dinner.

    I'd just put 100 pink salmon in the freezer the night before so I still haven't finished washing the walls nor moving freezers to sweep up from the birds in the house- off topic, as usual...to end it right back on topic, I'm eager to order 50 cc's now.
  6. carress

    carress Songster

    Mar 26, 2008
    Orange county NY
    I dipped them in 155 degree water- swooshed them around dunking up and down for about 20 seconds. The skin didn't get cooked, but it did dry out from being in the air so long - it took me a while to get hem plucked and take out the innards.

    We didn't dip them in cold water, but I'm not sure if that's a good idea. The hot water releases the feathers, but maybe the cold will clse up the pores/follicles and make them harder to get out. Maybe the cold will do nothing b/c they're dead. I guess you'd have to try it to see.

    I'm really looking forward to having meat birds. I think I would have a hard time butchering my egg layers, b/c of attachments. As my guy said, I will NOT NOT NOT look at them as family, friend or pet. I'll think of them as food - just like the zucchini I picked yesterday.
  7. Fredster

    Fredster Songster

    Feb 21, 2007
    Congrats on your first processing, Carress -- we did our first one last week, with a hatchet. [​IMG]

    Can you tell me about the throat cut? I want to process my next ones this way (and even built a little kill station yesterday out of scrap wood and orange safety cones), but I'm unsure of the cut. Is it across the throat, or on one or the other side? Any guess at how deep, or is there anything to look for?

    Thanks in advance.
  8. dangerouschicken

    dangerouschicken Will Barter For Coffee

    May 6, 2007
    Columbia Gorge, OR
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] WAY TO GO, PEEPS! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  9. SandraMort

    SandraMort Songster

    Jul 7, 2008
    Hey, just wanted to send you another congrats here, too. [​IMG] Looking forward to meeting you in person!
  10. carress

    carress Songster

    Mar 26, 2008
    Orange county NY
    Thanks Sandra (guess you found me - huh? [​IMG] )dangerous, JustUs, Ninja.

    Fredster - with the throat cut, I had to pinch off everything BUT the windpipe and insert the knife -at- the windpipe, but not into it. and slice away from the windpipe through the skin. This leaves the head intact, but opens up a large artery.

    I'd guess this can only be done using the cone. It seemed to be the best way (based on reading and this one experience) to get it done.

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