Sent the kiddies to Camp Frigidaire!

Coops Dad

Crowing
May 10, 2020
1,894
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too close to Waco, TX
I went a little crazy with meat chickens this year. The first batch was from Orscheln's; I went in for 5 but I felt they wanted me to buy more because they discounted them to $1.50 each since they hadn't sold in a week, so I bought 10. They were butchered at @8 weeks. In the meantime, I walked into Tractor Supply and they had a fresh batch of Cornish Cross chicks , fat and fuzzy as tennis balls. I was chatting with the chicken attendant and she said that if I wanted a bunch, she had some in the back that she'd let me have for .50 cents apiece.

What could I do? I bought 15, then went back for another 10 because hi, my name is Robb and I'm an addict. And a glutton for punishment.

Over the last 2 months, I've spent waaaayyyy too much time feeding, watering, killing, plucking, butchering and freezing chickens. Not just the Cornish Xs but also a few extra Ameraucana roosters and a few RIR roosters that found their way into an order of sexed RIR pullets. But it's paid off with a chest freezer filled with poultry and other assorted beasts.

To make plucking a little less tedious, I bought a rubber fingered drum that attaches to an electric drill and zip tied it to a board. Another BYC member recommended it, and it has made the worst part of the chore much less so. What NO ONE told me, not even the reviews on Amazon, is that the thing is literally a s**t flinging menace. Seriously. You dunk the bird into hot water then press it against this 5" drum covered in 4" rubber fingers spinning at 500-600 rpm. Yes, it removes the feathers pretty well. Yes, it will beat your hands black and blue if you misjudge where the blur of rubber ends and the blur of departing feathers begins. Yes, it will throw the feathers into what you could call a decorative stripe in your grass.

But, most importantly, it will turn EVERYTHING other than feathers into a violent mist. Dunk water, blood, poo forced out by the pummelling fingers of spinning destruction. Everything that comes off of or out of a headless chicken will be aerosolized and sprayed everywhere.

I could taste it for hours afterwards no matter how many Shiner Bocks I drank trying to wash the flavor out of my mouth. The mist molecules stuck to the insides of my nose for days; at least I hope it was nasally-lodged mist molecules I was smelling and not residual stink stuck to my skin. I really did try to snort a bit of Shiner up my nose out of a bottlecap to try to get some relief. Did not work but now my son has a new story to tell his buddies.

I eventually got the hang of standing off to the side enough to not wear the full spray the way Armenian bros wear Drakkar Noir. The Wheel Of Destruction is still a Tier One menace, though.

Luna, aka Murder Dog, stays close to the processing station because she knows she'll be getting the lungs, butt nugget/oil gland and other trimmings. She also helped herself to a neck.

My mother-in-law gave me a vacuum bagger a while back and we've been using it to snuggle the chickens into compact portions that are less likely to freezer burn. I love this thing. I picture myself using it to shrink wrap bricks of $100 bills and stacks of Krugerrands but, instead, they're legs, thighs, wings and breasts. I also have bags holding a liver, heart and neck each; I call them my "gravy bombs". Simmered in the oil and juices from a roasted or crockpotted chicken, it makes a great base for an excellent gravy.

I've raised and processed a handful of meat chickens over the last four years but this year was quite an adventure. The final tally is 34 chickens, three turkeys and three ducks. My wife went from "I could never eat an animal that I knew was alive" to "This tastes amazing- I wish my mom would try it! Should we get more meat chickens? Can we find a breed that we can raise and hatch ourselves?"

It's been a great year so far.
 

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Congratulations. That’s a lot of work and an awesome looking freezer. Please please please do yourself a favor and get a drum style plucker. They are more expensive BUT you dunk two, toss them in, flip a switch and as they bump around the drum, you gently spray the hose on them for 20 seconds and they’re both done. Every feather is directly underneath the drum for easy clean up. You run the mower over it the next day and you can’t even tell you did it.

Is Orschelns a local place?
 
Orscheln's says "Orscheln Farm & Home is a retail chain of farm and ranch supply stores headquartered in Moberly, Missouri. Orscheln has 175 stores located in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ohio. As of May 2018, the company opened its 175th location along with its first location in Texas."

I'm near the one in Texas.

I looked at the drum style pluckers but I have a son getting ready to start college, an air conditioner in the attic that leaked onto the ceiling and damaged some drywall, a water line into the house with a leak and a water heater that is 15 years old and, apparently, thinking about retirement. So any dreams of a drum plucker are beyond the horizon for the time being, and I'll just have to get used to liquid chicken farts being sprayed into my eyes until someone starts a go-fund-me to supply a chicken plucker to a guy who works hard but somehow manages to spend every nickel on frivolous stuff like food and electricity, lol.

I have a good life, a great wife and a son who is better than me. No complaints about where I'm at.
 
Well that’s a lot to be proud of, first of all. And as a father of three and an owner of a 40 year old home that was built by the previous owner who apparently didn’t own a level and did know what flashing was…. I hear you.

Then lets consider some dad engineering here. Get one of those dog cones and put it on your wrist when you pluck. A face shield is unoriginal and overplayed.
 
Well that’s a lot to be proud of, first of all. And as a father of three and an owner of a 40 year old home that was built by the previous owner who apparently didn’t own a level and did know what flashing was…. I hear you.

Then lets consider some dad engineering here. Get one of those dog cones and put it on your wrist when you pluck. A face shield is unoriginal and overplayed.
My home is built on a type of soil called Houston Black. It's hard as a rock when dry, heavy and sticky when wet, and develops deep fissures and cracks when it dries completely. I shot a skunk once and it disappeared. Just *bang* and it disappeared. Gone. I walked over to investigate and it turned out that the thing's body fell into a crack in the soil that was 5" across, 100 yards long and so deep that I couldn't reach it.

Cycling between wet and dry, the soil heaves drastically and shifts the geometry of the doorways and window openings.
 
Wow. I bet your collection of molly columns is bigger than mine. I luckily don’t have that problem. Our soil so sandy that a set of lawnmower blades doesn’t last a whole season. I wish you luck.
 
So any dreams of a drum plucker are beyond the horizon for the time being, and I'll just have to get used to liquid chicken farts being sprayed into my eyes until someone starts a go-fund-me to supply a chicken plucker
🤣🤣 I know the feeling well. If it's any consolation, a drum plucker is no better! You get sprayed. I think of it as an unconventional spa treatment 😂😂. Seriously, I have four people that work for my farm and I am STILL the only one that plucks because everyone else hates it that much. And we have a $1200 plucker. It doesnt get any better unfortunately.

I wear a plastic apron...all day..when we butcher. My team is great but only because I will bite the bullet and take the sh!++y job every time to keep my help happy.
 
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I went a little crazy with meat chickens this year. The first batch was from Orscheln's; I went in for 5 but I felt they wanted me to buy more because they discounted them to $1.50 each since they hadn't sold in a week, so I bought 10. They were butchered at @8 weeks. In the meantime, I walked into Tractor Supply and they had a fresh batch of Cornish Cross chicks , fat and fuzzy as tennis balls. I was chatting with the chicken attendant and she said that if I wanted a bunch, she had some in the back that she'd let me have for .50 cents apiece.

What could I do? I bought 15, then went back for another 10 because hi, my name is Robb and I'm an addict. And a glutton for punishment.

Over the last 2 months, I've spent waaaayyyy too much time feeding, watering, killing, plucking, butchering and freezing chickens. Not just the Cornish Xs but also a few extra Ameraucana roosters and a few RIR roosters that found their way into an order of sexed RIR pullets. But it's paid off with a chest freezer filled with poultry and other assorted beasts.

To make plucking a little less tedious, I bought a rubber fingered drum that attaches to an electric drill and zip tied it to a board. Another BYC member recommended it, and it has made the worst part of the chore much less so. What NO ONE told me, not even the reviews on Amazon, is that the thing is literally a s**t flinging menace. Seriously. You dunk the bird into hot water then press it against this 5" drum covered in 4" rubber fingers spinning at 500-600 rpm. Yes, it removes the feathers pretty well. Yes, it will beat your hands black and blue if you misjudge where the blur of rubber ends and the blur of departing feathers begins. Yes, it will throw the feathers into what you could call a decorative stripe in your grass.

But, most importantly, it will turn EVERYTHING other than feathers into a violent mist. Dunk water, blood, poo forced out by the pummelling fingers of spinning destruction. Everything that comes off of or out of a headless chicken will be aerosolized and sprayed everywhere.

I could taste it for hours afterwards no matter how many Shiner Bocks I drank trying to wash the flavor out of my mouth. The mist molecules stuck to the insides of my nose for days; at least I hope it was nasally-lodged mist molecules I was smelling and not residual stink stuck to my skin. I really did try to snort a bit of Shiner up my nose out of a bottlecap to try to get some relief. Did not work but now my son has a new story to tell his buddies.

I eventually got the hang of standing off to the side enough to not wear the full spray the way Armenian bros wear Drakkar Noir. The Wheel Of Destruction is still a Tier One menace, though.

Luna, aka Murder Dog, stays close to the processing station because she knows she'll be getting the lungs, butt nugget/oil gland and other trimmings. She also helped herself to a neck.

My mother-in-law gave me a vacuum bagger a while back and we've been using it to snuggle the chickens into compact portions that are less likely to freezer burn. I love this thing. I picture myself using it to shrink wrap bricks of $100 bills and stacks of Krugerrands but, instead, they're legs, thighs, wings and breasts. I also have bags holding a liver, heart and neck each; I call them my "gravy bombs". Simmered in the oil and juices from a roasted or crockpotted chicken, it makes a great base for an excellent gravy.

I've raised and processed a handful of meat chickens over the last four years but this year was quite an adventure. The final tally is 34 chickens, three turkeys and three ducks. My wife went from "I could never eat an animal that I knew was alive" to "This tastes amazing- I wish my mom would try it! Should we get more meat chickens? Can we find a breed that we can raise and hatch ourselves?"

It's been a great year so far.
Shiner Bock was a good choice, actually. Normally, I'd suggest a Celis White (now that its made in TX again) for a hot day of work, but given the stronger flavors... I'd like to recommend the Celis Bock, which is supposedly well regarded, but I've never found it on a shelf. The Ayinger you can sometimes find at Specs, its quite nice, but a bit pricey for quantity consumption.

You might also try J.W. Dundee's Honey Brown. Reasonably available, reasonably priced, a bit less bitter, and yes, a triffle heavier. Good as a palatte cleanser.
 
That looks wonderful!

This is inspiring because we're hoping to do our first meaties this fall when the weather cools off. I have some annoying cockerels who are going to the freezer in a few weeks.

I eventually got the hang of standing off to the side enough to not wear the full spray the way Armenian bros wear Drakkar Noir. The Wheel Of Destruction is still a Tier One menace, though.

I'm sitting in the back of the sanctuary listening to worship practice and trying not to laugh so loud that I distract the musicians. Fortunately we have a drummer this week.

I have a good life, a great wife and a son who is better than me. No complaints about where I'm at.

There is nothing in life more wonderful than kids succeed. :)

a 40 year old home that was built by the previous owner who apparently didn’t own a level and did know what flashing was

Some people should not be allowed near tools.

Everything the previous owner did on this property is a weird mix of shoddy and overkill. There was a structure I was going to use for a coop that turned out to have no square corners, no plumb walls, and, though rickety, had so many nails, screws, and bolts in it that the wood couldn't even be salvaged because it was so chewed up.

Our soil so sandy that a set of lawnmower blades doesn’t last a whole season.

Same here.

I bless the drainage when we get storms like last night, where it dumped over an inch in less than an hour, but it eats mower blades.
 

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