processed our first chicken

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by patandchickens, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    One of the chanteclers, 15 wks old. It wasn't as hard as I expected. I mean, I felt bad for the chicken (caught myself finding little reasons to postpone it, and then ended up patting the decapitated head and apologizing and telling him that he was a good chicken and thank you). But the actual processing went pretty smoothly considering how disorganized I was [​IMG]

    Used a hatchet and a stump with two nails. Chopped the head off with one whack the moment I got him up there, so I don't think he had a chance to really anticipate anything, other than 'gee why has she tied my feet and carried me across the yard'. I have to confess, I closed my eyes at the moment the hatchet actually hit. Sorry bout that, chicken. Beats being eaten by a raccoon, at least.

    I had intended all along to skin him, but out of curiosity took a handful of feathers and tugged (dry, no scalding or anything) and they came right off, sort of like shucking corn. So I basically dry-plucked him about 85% of the way, to see how it would work. Are you *supposed* to be able to do that? If I'd been set up for it, and had somewhere to hang him and something to sit on (instead of having to hold the carcass up with one hand and sit on the deck steps plucking with the other) I am pretty certain I could have gotten the whole thing done quite easily. As it was, after about 10 minutes the feathers seemed to tighten up and get hard to pull, so I quit and skinned him after all, which was probably sensible under the circumstances. Ended up cutting off and discarding end segment of one wing, too, b/c it was getting too hard to skin. Note to self: next time have somewhere to hang chicken, and a chair, and pliers for wing feathers, and a BIG cuttingboard to work on.

    Was I just lucky that the feathers came out so easily un-scalded? Or what? I really wasn't expecting that.

    I did this in the late afternoon without having withheld feed, so his innards were quite full, but it didn't pose any sort of problem other than a minor poo escape while I was plucking. I was surprised how little trouble it was to clean the carcass. Only thing is, I couldn't actually find the gallbladder (did not totally knock myself out looking), so while I do not *think* I popped it, I guess I will not know for certain til we eat him tomorrow. He's in the fridge now, and tomorrow morning I will marinate him in buttermilk and then probably slow oven-cook him in a covered pan with some potatoes and onions, as was suggested to me in another thread (thanks).

    Oh, one last question, his gizzard was HUGE (it seemed to me) and totally stuffed with grit, does that mean I should be offering them less grit? Or is that normal?

    So, RIP "Big", buff chantecler cockerel, basically a perfectly good chicken but one too many and unfortunately for him he was smaller and narrower than his brother. Thanks in advance to him for tomorrow's dinner, for which one less chicken will have to go thru a commercial broiler farm. (Well ok, one half less chicken - he wasn't really all *that* big. But, you know what I mean.)

  2. Jolly_Rancher

    Jolly_Rancher In the Brooder

    We too just procesed our very first chiken and it went exactly as yours did. well except we were just a little more prepared.. not much but.. we had decided to use the hot water and pluck.. heated the water to 160 and dipped for 60 seconds, I think next time I will only hold under for 30 seconds or so. The feathers and pin feathers came out so very easy.. It was hard to believe.. I kept remembering everyone saying how awlful hard it was.. the feathers almost fell out. The reason I woulf go easier on the time is, after we were done, I noticed the skin seemed to split easy if I tapped it.. and it was just a bit off color.. so I figured I "cooked" it a touch.. not much though.

    As for the rest.. It was so very smooth.. I, like you closed my eyes at the last second... My huband said my proper name and told me to JUST DO IT.. cuz of course I hesitated.. and the tone of his voice pushed me into completeing the job quickly.. he said I looked like I was going to pass out.. I really was ok.. but it was a very personal experience. I do feel like I have step over a milestone.. and am now ready for those 100 cornish to get me through the winter months. LOL [​IMG]

    The most interesting I noticed about the inside was all the different size things.. that I think were beginnings of eggs.. there was one 3/4 size egg that almost looked like a rubber toy.. she had laid a few eggs and they had nice shell to them.. but this one just wasn't done yet.. and these other things.. well they were all sorts of sizes.. and egg shaped.. how many eggs does a chicken have going at a time? And our crop was full also.. She wasn't feeling well and couldn't walk.. so we disposed of her and decided to process her as practice..

    I know that sounds gross but her and a second chick were purchased for practice.. or at least thats what the spouse and my child told me when they brought these two little chicks home.. so They have very much been learning tools.[​IMG]

    Thanks for sharing you experience Pat, Stories like this one helped me realize I could do it on my own also. Congrats.
  3. Chicabee19

    Chicabee19 Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    So glad you all had good experiences. I think I may give this a try once, just to have had an old-time life experience like my grandmother.

    I once saw an Ostrich being processed in China outside a fancy restaurant. [​IMG]
  4. spook

    spook Songster

    Apr 21, 2008
    North Central Florida
    Congrats on your first birds. I started yesterday with my first cornish x, only have 5 to go. She actually tasted wicked good, even the cats watched the rotisserie until it was done.
  5. EngieKisses

    EngieKisses Songster

    Jul 10, 2008
    Collinsville, Oklahoma
    Congrats, I hope I do that well when the time comes.
  6. bills

    bills Songster

    Jan 4, 2008
    vancouver island
    [​IMG] Well you can chalk up another experience in your life now Pat!

    Sounds like it all went well for you. Chances are very good that the gall came out with the rest of the guts, intact. If you wanted to keep the liver for cooking, or the cat, you would have to separate it from the rest of the intestines, and then you could probably spot the gall quite easily. Some are not as big as others, depends on the bird I suppose. Almost 100% of the time the gall comes out undamaged along with the rest.

    I don't think you can offer a chicken too much grit, they will only take in what they need, so I wouldn't worry about it.

    Plucking is one job I don't care for. It seems so tedious. Good on you for giving it a shot!
  7. bills

    bills Songster

    Jan 4, 2008
    vancouver island
    Quote:Now that would really be something to see!! I pity the fellow that had to hold on to it after they wacked the head off. :eek:
  8. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Good job, Pat. I find some chickens much easier to pluck than others.
  9. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Congratulations, Pat, & welcome to "The Club"!

    I usually process chickens just a few at a time and usually with my friend helping, either at her house or mine. We've been collecting tools & materials to make the job easier, and continue to make improvements to our set-up.

    It really helps to have things organized & handy to use each time. We keep a list of Needed Items to consult, and keep the things only used for chicken-chopping in one big bin. We each have rescued yard swing frames to use for hanging chickens while we pluck. I have never tried dry-plucking, but don't think it's such a bad job to pluck quick-scalded birds.

    Enjoy your home-made meal, and many more to come!
  10. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007

    I just processed my first one alone too. DH has helped in the passed but, I did today's alone. I also dry plucked.

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