Processed a few of our first meaties. Questions about livers.

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by PatS, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. PatS

    PatS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We began processing some of our meat birds today, two dark cornish and two red broilers.

    The dark cornish were 14.5 weeks old. Weights 5lb. 4 oz. (dressed w/o giblets 4#) and 5 lb. 1 oz (dressed 3# 14 oz).
    The red broilers were 10.5 weeks old. Weights 6 lb 4 oz (4#4 oz) and 5 lb. 3 oz. (3#6oz).

    Both were free ranged on lush pasture and given access to organic feed 20% 24/7. I thought they were a little on the light side considering we grabbed the ones who looked to be among the several largest. Does it seem that way to you, too? The cornish were placed in cages last night so hadn't had any food this morning, the red broilers had breakfast, which may account for the rb's greater differential between killed and dressed weight.

    The red broilers were stinkier in life and in death, but plucked easier than the dark cornish. The rbs were MUCH easier to catch!

    I've processed several turkeys and buff orp roos (though they were usually older than these birds), and I have to say I don't remember any of the livers being as fragile as these were. They tore much more than usual during cleaning, though the color was good. Is this a typical meatie trait? Maybe I'm out of practice. Any hints on getting the livers out mostly intact?

    Well more tomorrow, I'm sure...
     
  2. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

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    ....I started to ask my husband about his experience when processing the meaties, but then the children got the pitchforks and grew horns and he had to regulate....one minute.

    [elevator music]

    He says, "surprisingly, the liver and the lungs were really easy to get out. [in comparison to older chickens and non-meaties]." He did not process to save the organs for consumption, but he said everything came out very easily--including the lungs. So... I am no help to you. The DH said the innards of the meaties came out in one big sack, and nothing shredded or made a mess.
     
  3. PatS

    PatS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've heard that Cornish X are the easiest to clean, and these guys are different breeds than that. They were easy to clean, but the liver didn't pull out neatly in one piece, it tore into pieces. Very strange.

    Oh an interesting detail. The gizzards of my buff orps always hold little pebbles of many different colors. The stones in the gizzards of the dark cornish were almost all white. The stones in the gizzards of the red broilers were almost all dark gray or black. It was interesting to see they seem to be attracted to eating different colored pebbles.

    Edited to add: It is a week later and we processed two more of each breed. These all had a normal mix of pebbles. Just goes to show you that one can't necessarily generalize when you have a small sample of individuals!
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
  4. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

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    Sorry, I must have misread. [​IMG]
     
  5. PatS

    PatS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, please don't apologize, I was happy to get an answer!
     
  6. becky3086

    becky3086 Crested Crazy

    Oct 14, 2008
    Thomson, GA
    I have not noticed the livers tearing up when I pulled them out in mine. But normally when I put my hand in, I move it all around the cavity to loosen everything up and then pull it all out at once. Still the livers seemed perfectly normal to me.
     
  7. SteveH

    SteveH Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2009
    West/Central IL
    The liver is a soft tissue organ anyway, with out the 'skin' of other organs, so younger translates to even more fragile as that thin layer of outer smooth cells holding the liver together is even softer.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011
  8. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Fatty liver syndrome causes a much softer and more breakable liver. Could it be that?

    Look at the liver margins edge-on. If you can't see a thin line (a sharp edge) then the liver is probably enlarged, which is one sign of fatty liver. They can also be much paler than normal, but in early stages might pass for normal colour.

    best wishes
    Erica
     
  9. PatS

    PatS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all, and thank you for your responses. I don't think it is fatty liver, because I have seen the kind of orangish tinge in old plump hens' livers before and I associated that with "fatty liver." And these guys were young and not that plump. I think maybe the more fragile liver is do to the younger age of these birds than other birds I've processed, as Steve has suggested. Thanks, folks!
     
  10. AlbionWood

    AlbionWood Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Albion, California
    I noticed the same thing when doing our CX, had to take extra care to get the livers out whole. There is a connective tissue holding the liver to the backbone and I found that I could slide a knife in under the guts to sever that, making it much easier to get the whole thing out. Tricky of course because you sure don't want to puncture the gut (or the gall bladder), but the CX body cavity is so big, I could lift the cloaca to make room for the knife. We withheld food for 18 hours before slaughter so everything was pretty empty, which helped a lot.

    Normally I wouldn't have bothered, but some friends are crazy for them and offered to pay us $1 each. Apparently there's a big difference between fresh livers and the ones in the store (no surprise).
     

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