Processing tools and equipment

horsesNchicks

Chirping
Jun 9, 2017
55
44
61
High Desert of California
hello, we have 24 CornishX that are 2 weeks old and are going back and forth weather we will process them ourselves or have it done. Next batch we will probably get 50 chicks. We have not done this before but plan on continuing. I would like to know what you all recommend to purchase for processing. I am willing to make an investment if it will last for years to come, but my BF is handy so DIY advise would be great also. Thanks in advance.
 

Maeschak

Songster
Mar 29, 2016
614
364
181
Maryland, USA
hello, we have 24 CornishX that are 2 weeks old and are going back and forth weather we will process them ourselves or have it done. Next batch we will probably get 50 chicks. We have not done this before but plan on continuing. I would like to know what you all recommend to purchase for processing. I am willing to make an investment if it will last for years to come, but my BF is handy so DIY advise would be great also. Thanks in advance.
If you end up using the cone method (slicing the jugular) a traffic cone works just fine... no need to spend 30-40$ on a pretty silver one. (Although they really do look pretty!) Although, you will have to cut up the cone yourself which can be annoying- but these things will last and last. They are meant to be tough and out in the weather.
As for knives to cut the jugular, I use an Exacto knife and a pack of rounded blades. (The old school silver handled kind where the blade goes in and you screw the ring to tighten). It really beats trying to sharpen a knife to the point necessary to make cutting quick and easy. I have seen other folks on here recently who swear by the flexible tube cutters from home depot. Like this: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-Flexible-Tube-Cutter-99518/206743941 Although this will decapitate your bird instead of simply bleeding him out.
I have never used a plucker but I hear they are really worth it if you will be doing lots of plucking. (I think they are something like 300-700$ but not quite sure).
I would also recommend getting some sort of heating element and a nice large pot for scalding- most people use some sort of turkey fryer set up (it usually contains a propane heating element and a pot big enough to dunk your chicken). Personally, I do not have a turkey fryer set-up so I just heat water in the house and pour it into a 5 gallon bucket. I can usually scald several birds before the water temperature drops too much. Seeing as you will be doing a lot of butchering in the future I would purchase the turkey fryer set up.
All in all I would say your best investment will be helpers!
Good luck to you~
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
9 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,142
2,928
406
NEK, VT
Nope, Cornish X not Coturnix. They do seem very easy to process though. Imagine the skin comes right off like partridge. Chicken skinning is not that easy.

I like to use an exacto knife. Super sharp, not so long of blade to get in the way or cut yourself and quick blade change out when it does get dull. Cutting joints is more of a backward break so you only need to scour a ring around, bend joint backward to pop open then cut the tendons. Easy to do with a short blade like exacto knife.

Some grills have a side burner or even get hot enough on grill to heat the water. If yours doesn't then absolutely get a turkey fryer. I've done the heating water in kitchen to run back and forth adding boiling water to bring up temp after each bird and have to say, it's slow and gets old quick. People determined to go without a propane heat source have fair luck putting the hot water in a cooler for insulation. 155-160F is what you need, too hot and you burn the skin, too cold and the feathers won't be ready to pluck. Dunk, swish, take out and repeat. Keep dunking and swishing/plunging the bird until the feathers are ready. It's like wallpaper removal. Don't even start until it's ready to come off with ease or you'll be wasting time, energy and damaging the subsurface which in the birds case tearing it's skin. Can take 5 or more plunges. When the large tail or wing feathers release with the slightest effort is when it's ready then you can pluck the bird by handfuls at a time and have one clean in less than 5 minutes easy.

Tools I use:

Block of wood and hatchet- I'm old school. People really like the cone method though.
stock pot with heat source for scalding.
Cutting board and exacto knife.
large trash can with liner duct taped around it. Pain if it keeps falling in.
garden hose attached to water source. Clean table and final clean of birds.
Coolers with ice water to store birds.

Doing that many birds at once you may want shrink wrap bags too. When all done you put bird in bag, tie it then poke a hole to let air out prior to dunking in clean hot water to shrink seal the bag to bird. Put label over the hole you make. Very slick way to freezer ready the birds.
 
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