Processed our first birds yesterday!! What an experience!

ChicknThief

Songster
12 Years
Jan 12, 2008
1,802
7
183
Nor Cal
We finally did it! We took the plunge and processed 3 big ole roosters yesterday.
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It was very interesting! We used the HIGHLY technical "zip-ties-around-the-legs-and-nailed-to-a-tree" technique. We also nailed a contractor bag to the tree to catch the blood so it wouldn't get all over the ground.

I really surprised myself. I was expecting to be pretty sad when it came to the killing part. I did feel a little apprehension when I was holding the first rooster and putting the zip ties on him. But once we hung him up, it was just a matter of pulling the extra skin back on his neck and doing the deed. My lack of sadness kind of startled me. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that the first rooster had a badly dislocated hip. So we were kind of putting him out of his misery.

A couple of things occurred throughout the process that I wasn't prepared for...

1: When roosters die, the flap and flail like Satan himself is inside of them. I was not prepared for this and got a face-full of blood for it.
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Moral of the story: Have your partner hold the bird firmly in place at time of death.

2: When slaughtering someone else's chickens, there are certain things that you should be prepared for. Like, said chickens being INFESTED with lice. Failure to adequately prepare for this may result in heebie jeebies, goosebumps, nausea, and the urge to itch and flail for the next 12 consecutive hours. Moral of the story: Don't process lice infested chickens. *twitch*

3: When processing lice infested chickens outside in cold, dry, windy weather, removing the skin will cause the underlying membranes to dry and harden. Thus creating a greasy, stiff "patient" that is quite difficult to work with. Not to mention, kind of gross
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Moral of the story: Don't process lice infested chickens. Or at least do it inside so the membranes stay moist when you remove the disgusting lousy skin.

4: Chicken lungs are very cool looking. They are also nigh unto impossible to remove when your fingers are exhausted and have almost no dexterity left. Moral of the story: Don't be such a cheap ChicknThief and buy a freakin lung scraper.


All of that aside, it was a great experience! We got three out of six done, gave one to the owner of the flock, and will be going back in two weeks to process the other three! Hopefully next time things will go a little smoother now that we have a full grasp on what we are getting into
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ChicknThief

Songster
12 Years
Jan 12, 2008
1,802
7
183
Nor Cal
That line, plus your user name just made me grin. ;)

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Unrelated, I assure you
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The "flock master" and I have a deal. I am allowed to process on his land, as long as he gets a portion of the resulting meat. He had 6 roos that he wanted to get rid of, but his wifie-poo wouldn't let him do it himself. Much better to let a stranger come and do it
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Lol



About the bird drying out... Has anyone here had that happen? I read up a whole lot before taking this on, but I never once saw that mentioned. Is that normal? It kinda freaked me out...
 

EweSheep

Flock Mistress
14 Years
Jan 12, 2007
21,915
170
541
Land of Lincoln
Yes it is normal for the membrane to dry out when exposed to air. Just dunk the roo in iced water as soon as you get him all done. It will be just fine.
 

Sundown_Farmer

Chirping
9 Years
Apr 2, 2010
192
0
99
Non-Chicago, Illinois
4: Chicken lungs are very cool looking. They are also nigh unto impossible to remove when your fingers are exhausted and have almost no dexterity left. Moral of the story: Don't be such a cheap ChicknThief and buy a freakin lung scraper.

Find the ribs with your fingers. Run your fingernails down the ribs toward the spine and the lung will peel out easily. Or, bend the tip of a cheap butterknife to use as a lung scraper. Go ahead and be cheap.
 

Smiles-N-Sunshine

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Oct 19, 2008
883
294
286
Palominas, Arizona
Grapefruit spoon? That's what I use, concentrating on breaking up the membrane holding the lungs down rather than scooping the lungs out from below.

Also, I intentionally let the membrane dry a bit. I air cool the birds in the fridge and let them sit through rigor mortis lightly covered with wax paper. I've read on BYC that bacteria don't do well on dry surfaces so I believe this helps keep their numbers down. A quick cold water rinse, and into the vacuum bag. Plenty of moisture when it's defrosted for dinner, and zero spoilage (knock on wood).

Bryan
 

ChicknThief

Songster
12 Years
Jan 12, 2008
1,802
7
183
Nor Cal
Ahhh... All good advice! Sadly, I did not have any utensils at hand other than 2 sharp knives and a pair of meat scissors. Next time I will bring something to scrape with for sure. That was a pain in the rear!!

As for the drying out bit, I guess that makes sense. It freaked me out a little bit, but I guess if I had thought about it for more than a second I would have realized that it was the only logical outcome
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