processing my first meaties sat.. cant wait

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by mdulik, May 27, 2010.

  1. mdulik

    mdulik In the Brooder

    Apr 10, 2010
    I am getting ready for my first freezer camp. I think I have everything I need to do the deed. But I do have a couple of questions if someone could please help me out.
    1) how long does the bird need to go without feed and water before processing?
    2) once the processing is done and the birds are resting in the fridge,how long do they need to be in there before they are tender and edible, and are they sitting in a dry pan or some sort of brine solution?

    This first batch we will not be plucking, we will skin them. Partially because my first attempt with making a plucker didnt work out so well. I had an old drill press but it spins too fast and I cant dial it down anymore. Hopefully I will have a plucker ready by the time the 2nd batch of 24 are ready around July 1.
    Im very happy that I have only lost 2 birds and both of them were accidental deaths. But i do have one roo that is breathing pretty heavy and I am hoping he will make it just 2 more days....
    Anyone with some words of wisdom for my first freezer camp would be greatly appriciated...[​IMG]
  2. randyandmegs

    randyandmegs Songster

    Jan 1, 2009
    Columbus NC
    I have yet to process any. Mine just arrived today. If you would...... let me know how it goes, good and bad. Im trying to prepare my processing area but Im having a hard time finding affordable stainless steel sinks and tables and such. Im ordering the plucker and scalder new so im not worried about that as much just all the extra little stuff I need to process. If you have pics of your setup that would be nice. I just posted pictures of my newly made Salatin style pen on here today.
  3. I take away their feed around noon the day before processing. If they are on grass they will still have full crops but I find the grass is easier to deal with than feed.

    I start working around 0600 before it gets too warm and generally do about 100 birds at a time. Each whole processed bird is dropped into a very large cooler about one-half filled with ice and water with about 2 cups of salt mixed in. They will sit in that cooler until I'm done with all the birds and my work area is cleaned and sanitized. Average cooler sitting time per bird is around 4 hours.

    The coolers are then brought back to my sanitized table where they are prepared for packaging (cut x 8 pieces or left whole). I use shrink bags for whole birds and vacuum seal the parts.

    Packaged birds I am keeping for myself go into the fridge for 48-72 hours and then into the freezer. Some may say 72 hours isn't necessary but this is what works for me.

    Whole birds I am selling are made available to customers the day following processing with instructions to let the birds sit in the fridge for 24 hours.

    Hope this helps.
  4. lakeontariochicks

    lakeontariochicks In the Brooder

    Mar 12, 2010
    Lake Ontario, NY
    We did our first 2 chickens last Saturday, then 5 on Monday, then the last 4 will be next Wednesday.

    It was both easier and harder than I thought it would be.

    Our chickens don't eat at night, and we didn't actually get started until after 9:00 am, so that worked out well.

    The hard part for me was, even though I tried not to get attached to them, because I knew we wouldn't have them for long, I still did somewhat, so had to stay away from the actual killing area. It made me too sad. [​IMG]

    Once they were dead though, and hubby dunked them into the hot water, I had no problem removing feathers and helping to gut them.

    Our water was heated to about 150 degrees, had a few drops of dish soap added, and they were dunked for about 1 minute. Make sure you swoosh them around to get the water all the way to the skin, or you will find yourself plucking some dry feathers, which still came off easily, but stuck to everything. Really pulling the feathers off went quicker than any other process.

    Hubby did all the gutting, except for the lungs, he just had a hard time getting them all out, and I was used to it from cleaning out supermarket chickens all these years. I also separated all the good from the bad, and butterflied and peeled the gizzard. I ended up not keeping the feet, but have everything else and have already made a huge pot of stock.

    Make sure you have lots of ice water available in a big enough container to keep the finished chickens in while doing the rest.

    We had a warm week here, so after a while the flies found us, not fun, but it made us move a little quicker.

    Oh and an empty or extra fridge for resting them for a couple of days!

    We barbecued one on Tuesday night, and it was absolutely delicious!!!! Well worth it!

    We will definitely be doing this again, but next time we will raise them in the late summer to fall, so that it is a little cooler out!
    Let us all know how it goes!

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