So was this a bad time to butcher????


10 Years
Jun 6, 2009
I just butchered 13 RIR hens because they are not laying well.

I did not realize that part of the "not laying well" was probably because they are molting.

So, I now have 13 hens with alot of small feather stubs that I could not get to come out (without major effort)

I am guessing here...Should I not butcher when they are molting because of this very problem?

Has this happened to you?

Will they pluck clean if they aren't in molt?
I've found layers to be a bit harder to pluck than broilers, with more left behind, but I've only processed layers on one occasion, so I couldn't say for sure.
Ok there is actually a utensile that is used to get out the very fine feathers I can't remember what it is called etc. I think at the start of the index you see post are instructions on how to butcher/process & it was put up there as a tacked up piece so it's easy to find & I think he shows what this utensil is which I think is like a dull knief. You can also use a butter knief & you hold it like you were going to peel or so your thumb rests agains the *dull blade* let go enough so your grasping hair inbetwee your thumb & the blade & pull that way & it'll come out easier that way. Also did you dip them in real hot water? It'll help loosen the feathers I think.
Skin them!
Not sure if this would help, but I remember my Grandpa taking the processed chickens out of the ice water bath and using a blow torch to quickly singe the pin feathers off.
Yes, this time of year is not the best time of year to judge how your girls are laying. I'd have a ton to butcher right now if not laying was the only deciding factor.
Thank you everybody. I thought about skinning them but I was just getting more tired, cold and frustrated with each bird. And I have never skinned one before.

I think that is the perfect solution!

The fact that they aren't laying is not the deciding factor. They are just production RIR's and I have so many other chickens getting ready to lay soon that it is time for them to go.

I was so surprised at the amount of fat in them. Loaded with fat.

But I learned some pretty cool stuff about the insides of a laying hen.

I still have a bunch to go and then some Roos of different breeds. Good thing we eat alot of chicken!

I do have a few more questions but I suppose I should repost those.
Oh and Jaku, your killing cone was wonderful. I really need to put both of them up.

That is of my questions actually. How long is the bird supposed to bleed out? I have read "completly" but do they mean every last drip or until they stop flopping around?
I just processed some quail and a few were in molt, and they were hard to pluck, I never had processed a bird that was molting before and never will again lol that is unless I am gonna skin it.

As for bleeding out I wait until theyt are done flopping around and after the blood has slowed to a drip.
You are wonderful, thank you for taking the time to post.

Quail, molting and processing do not sound like fun! I know how hard it was to try and get out those molting feathers out of the bigger bird, I can't imagine trying to get them out of a quail.

I'd have to get out my glasses and tweezers.

Before doing the 13 I thought the $2.25 for paying the chicken processor was too much. Now I think it is more than fair!

If they just didn't live 50 miles away I might consider it.

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