Its MY turn...it's done & results....UPDATE...PART II...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by arlee453, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Well, It's my turn to join the meat chicken crowd, I think. I have 5 dark cornish hens that I got from the TSC assorted pullet bin. I've fed them long enough. They won't lay good, and they are creepy looking with their long legs and vulture heads.

    I thought about just giving them away, but then i figured....why should I give them away to someone else to eat when I've raised them and fed them for 16 weeks??

    So, I'm going to bite the bullet and butcher them.

    I like the skin and filet method described in the link below. It looks like doing it that way is very neat and quick. I don't care if I get a roaster out of it, I just want the meat to cook down for stew or dumplings. We don't eat the neck or organ meat anyway, so why not just skin and filet off the meat we will use and not fool with eviserating the bird at all?

    http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/grim79.html

    Anyone use this method before and have any wisdom for me?? I will either do it tonight or tomorrow I think...
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2008
  2. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We tried to take just the meat off of roosters we did yesterday(2 Wyandottes and a EEXLeghorn) it didn't work too well for us. We got the meat but it only provided us with just a few chicken fingers. Kind of dissapointing. It wasted much of the meat in between the bones. So, we ended up just quartering the last rooster and liked that MUCH better.

    So, hopefully someone else will have better advice with that than I. LOL

    Also, if you have dogs, you can let them have the necks and organs. (We were just talking about that in the Recipes section under Necks and Bones(Recipes for using Chicken stock), I cannot remember the exact title, but I'm the author.

    You can do it!

    -Kim
     
  3. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Thanks wolfkim - that exactly the feedback I was looking for.

    These cornish girls are so nice that I think the best use for them would be to dress them out whole and roast them. When I see them running around the yard, I'm reminded of those cartoons where the characters are stranded on a raft and a seagull lands, and all they see is a roasing bird steaming and ready to eat - ya know what I mean? That's what I see when I look at these girls!

    On the other hand, I've never butchered or dressed ANYTHING before, so I have no clue what I'm doing.

    I did get my MIL to agree to help me dress them out if we do it the traditional way. She wont help with the killing and the bleeding part, but she said she would help butcher them. She used to help her mom years and years ago, so at least has SOME practical experience...

    Ah well, I'll 'stew' over it a little bit longer and then report back what I end up doing. Any other moral support or tips would be appreciated!
     
  4. skeeter

    skeeter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 19, 2007
    Parma Idaho
    if making soup or stew you want the bones thats were all the flavor is,you can skin but use the whole bird
     
  5. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Plastic milkjugs work GREAT for killing cones. It was also another thing we tried this last time(our only second time butchering) and we loved the milkjug. It kept the bird from flapping and struggling.

    We use the chop method, because it works easiest for us. Harder to mess it up I think. We used a good hatchett.

    Next time(always improving) we will be buying a good heavy meat cleaver, to use in the killing and quartering. We will have saved more milkjugs, that way we have one for each bird(we only had one this time). We also used the two nails on the stump about an 1.5" apart. This works wonderful in holding the birds head. (First time we processed, DH held the bird's head with his hand-boy, was that nerve racking..LOL)

    Don't worry, I'm new to the whole thing too. Yesterday was the second time, we've ever done it.

    Just take a deep breath and don't try to think about it too much. (It also helps to completly remove the bird's head before processing, it's a psychological thing for me. [​IMG] )

    -Kim
     
  6. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Ohhh - I LOVE the milk jug idea - you have a handle and everything! I figured I'd use the nail on the board method for holding their head but wasn't sure what to use to minimize flapping and hold the body since the killing process will be a one-man...well woman...job.
     
  7. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yup, just widen the pouring hole to fit their heads and then cut the bottom out.

    I didn't think our Wyandottes would fit, but they did. I had to really widen the hole for the LeghornXEE, because he took after his father and had that huge single comb.

    Since we only had one milkjug, we waited until the death throes were over, then hung the bird up, removed the milk jug and then placed in on the next bird.

    -Kim
     
  8. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    arlee,

    You'll do great even if it doesn't go as wanted. It's hard to learn from just pictures and descriptions. You will learn from doing it and will get better each time.

    No matter how good the butchering is there is always a lot of meat left on the bones. Cook down the carcass and pick out all the meat. You will be surprised at much there is. Neck meat and all the rest of the meat from the bones is good in soup or with dumplings. The gizzard, heart, and liver is good in stuffing. But it's a personal call. When I process a deer I throw away the lower legs and the neck because it is a pain to separate all the meat from the outside muscle membrane (I think it's called fascia tissue).

    I try to save as much meat as I can and I use the skin in making broth. Therefore I prefer the plucking method. Even though chopping the head off is the tried and true traditional method I cut the throat. The bird doesn't flop around as much. I think, but have no proof, that all the muscle activity from flopping might make the meat a bit tougher.

    Good luck. Let us know how it went.
     
  9. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Well, it's done....

    Partly because I'm sort of lazy, partly because I don't eat the organ meat, and partly because it was 95 degrees out there, I decided to do the skin and filet method.

    I processed 2 of my 18 wk old Dark Cornish hens. I was very surprised how much meat i was able to get off with my inexperience.

    I tied their legs, and used the milk jug & nails in a board method to do the dispatching. I immediately placed the bird head first (well, you know what I mean...) into a plastic garbage bag and then hung up the bird by the feet with the bag around it. That way the spasms and bleeding out was done right into the bag - no mess or splattering.

    Then after a few minutes, I pulled the bag down and removed the milk jug. Then I readjusted the bag around the carcass and used the butchering method in the link I posted at the top of this thread to skin and filet the breasts, legs and thighs. I feel somewhat bad that I didn't clean off more meat, but on the other hand, we still got plenty of meat off two birds to make a good dinner for our family of 6 and some guests too. AND I didn't have to fool with scalding, defeathering OR evicerating/cleaning out the cavity at all.

    I was able to do both birds in less than an hour, and I had no clue what I was doing with the first.

    All in all, it was nerve wracking, but aside from the actually killing, no worse than cutting up a chicken bought at the store since I didn't have to gut them. The weirdest thing aside from the loose feathers wanting to stick to everything was that the chicken was warm - I'm used to cutting up refrigerated chickens and it was just a bit strange.

    I feel good that I gave these two chickens a very, very good life and they had minimal stress and a quick and humane dispatching.

    I know if I had given them away, it'd just be someone else doing the butchering, so it may as well have been me and my family to enjoy the proceeds of raising the birds as much as someone else.

    I did the two hens and then the yellow jackets found us. I was going to do all 5, but as easy as this method was to setup and take down my supplies, I decided to wait another week or so to do the other 3.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2008
  10. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We usually do ours earlier in the morning, while it is still fairly cool..

    Glad you could get it done. Good job!

    -Kim
     

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