T minus 5 days till "B" day for my meatys!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by TMNfarm, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. TMNfarm

    TMNfarm Songster

    Apr 23, 2012
    Northern MN
    I have set the date... Wed, June 9th is the day... I'm going to butcher my first chickens...

    I have 12 Cornish cross chickens which will be 8 weeks old next week. I have Wed off of work, so that's the day. I have a few people lined up to help, all 3 of my kids (16, 12, & 10) want to help. I have a friend who has butchered before, and another friend who has helped with her father's chickens. She is even going to borrow his plucker for me!!

    This is our first time raising chickens, and we have 12 layers and their rooster as well. We have tried not to get attatched to these guys, but it's been hard. They will actually follow me if I let them out of their coop. My layers are pretty flighty... I think the meatys just know I'm the one who brings the food... That seems to be about the only thing they care much about. I just can't get over how HUGE they have grown in 8 weeks! I'm afraid if I try to keep them around much longer, they are going to start having issues... They have been remarkably healthy and easy to raise... If "B" day goes ok for us, I'm going to get another dozen or so raise before fall...

    I'd appreciate any words of wisdom from those of you that have been there, or even other frist-timers like me... Wish me luck!!!
  2. Lexiluke

    Lexiluke Chirping

    Apr 13, 2012
    I will be wishing you well. I have next Saturday set as my butchering day. Mine will be just over 7 weeks but they are are getting really big and I really don't want to chance losing any. Mine are averaging over 6 lbs all ready so I will bet they will be at 7-7 1/2 lb by next weekend. This is my first round also. I am a glutton for punishment and am choosing to work solo next Saturday. I think I just want to be able to say I did it all myself. It sounds like you have a great crew to help you. They will certainly be your best advice and allies through this.
  3. E_Prusia

    E_Prusia Hatching

    Apr 25, 2011
    This is also my first time raising meaties, 25 in all. They will be 7 weeks on the 4th of June, but I plan on taking them out to maybe 10 weeks just to see what size they could get to, I am afraid of injury though. These cornish x rocks were bred inside my garage for the first 5 weeks, then I moved them out to a fenced in area large enough for them to run around a bit but small enough for security. Their three sided shelter is covered by a tarp for rain and sun protection and everything is on ground level so no hopping. Still, anyone think that 10 weeks is too long?
  4. TMNfarm

    TMNfarm Songster

    Apr 23, 2012
    Northern MN
    Ok.... We're only 2 days away... I've researched as much as I can about how to do this, and I'm pretty sure I've come up with a workable plan... But I still have a few questions...

    1. Should I feed them that morning?? I plan on starting at noon, and I usually get out to feed about 6:30... Does it matter if they have full bellies? I hate to deprive them of one last meal...

    2. I read a couple of posts talking about letting them set for 24 hours in the fridge. I plan on roasting the first one on the grill right away, to feed the crew that comes to help... Do I need to let the ones that I am going to package and freeze set in the fridge 24 hours before I freeze them, or can I freeze them right away??

    3. What is the best thing to package them in?? Vaccum bags?? Freezer bags?? Freezer paper??

  5. Sundown_Farmer

    Sundown_Farmer Chirping

    Apr 2, 2010
    Non-Chicago, Illinois
    1. Nope. You'll be glad you didn't when you dress them out. There's nothing worse than a full crop that rips open spilling feed all over the breast or a bird that poops all over itself as you eviscerate it. Pack them up the night before or early in the morning. Start as soon as you can. Make sure your birds are in the shade while they wait their turn.

    2. Just do what you need to do. We freeze our birds for sale immediately. The meat can rest as it thaws. Don't worry about grilling. It will be fine. If you have a crew, you may want to roast two. Just split the bird in half and lay the halves on the grill, brushing on a mix of butter and garlic.

    3. We really like poultry shrink bags from Cornerstone Farm Ventures. They look great and really protect the birds well. Freezer bags don't do a great job of preventing freezer burn. Freezer paper has its limitations too. But, with 12 birds and short notice, go with what you've got. You're only packaging 10 or 11 birds anyway. You'll eat those in no time.

    Words of wisdom:
    -Good luck. Have fun. Don't get discouraged if it doesn't all go as planned the first time through. Everything is hard at first. Most things get easier in time. This is a skill you can develop.

    -Start sharpening your knives now.

    -Keep a pan of soapy water nearby so you can wash up.

    -Don't saw the knife into the bird's neck. It should all happen in one quick, clean slice ending with your hand covered in chicken blood. The bird will die very quickly.

    -You can do this.
  6. TMNfarm

    TMNfarm Songster

    Apr 23, 2012
    Northern MN
    Thanks!! I'm going to pick up the plucker from a friend tonight, then I'm going to try to get everything set up and ready to go tomorrow morning. I don't think I'm going to have any issues with it... I'm a pretty practical person... My co-workers told me today I'm way to excited about this... I just really like the idea of raising my own food... I've got some really sharp knives, so I think we'll be fine there. The pan of soapy water is a great idea. I'm going to spread out a couple of tarps on the ground and my BIL is digging a hole for all of the remains... I'm going to borrow my Dad's turkey deep fryer to heat up the water to dunk them in. I'm going to go to my local fleet store to see what kind of bags they might have. I have a handheld vacuum sealer unit, but I can only find quart bags for it... Definitely NOT big enough for these birds!! I'll let you all know how it goes!
  7. gg706

    gg706 Songster

    Jul 5, 2011
    I have not butchered before so take my opinion as you see fit....I would plan on something else for dinner! I think it will be a little more than you plan on and you wont want to eat chicken right after. Not to mention the smell of the feathers and such...How about pizza?
  8. RedStarLady1207

    RedStarLady1207 In the Brooder

    Jun 4, 2012
    Maryland, USA
    I agree - after cutting them up you may not feel like eating them. I'd let them cool a bit before final sealing. You can cool meat down quickly with a small bag of ice in the body cavity, but not necessary with such a small animal. Don't feed them the day before so they can empty out - as you don't want to contaminate the meat with feces or crop digest. Can you control or read the temperature on the turkey cooker - you are using that for the scald for feather release right or to cook them? Keep everything spotlessly clean - including your butchering table and have pails for organ meat you want to keep and one for waste. I'd wear gloves and have a hose handy.

    You will be fine - good luck and let us know how it went. If I had the room I'd like to raise meat birds and because they are not around so long and have health problems from fast growth you really can't change your mind as they won't live a good or long life anyway beyond the correct butchering time.

    I think it is respectful and honest to raise your own food and you honor the birds, for providing you and your family with food, by keeping the processing efficient, calm and humane. Good for you!
  9. Appylover

    Appylover Chirping

    May 25, 2012
    Near Amarillo Texas
    I just did my first one today. Things I would have done differantly

    1. Planned a head. I wasn't able to because the bird had broken a leg.
    2. Had everything a head of time like knives, tables, set up.
    3. Sharpened knives. I ended up using an carpet knife with a new blade. It was the sharpest thing around.
    4. Not had my 12 year old daughter out with me when I did it. First time was just hard for her.
    5. Would have set something up under me to catch all the feathers.
    6. Not fed the bird before killing. I was lucky I was able to easily remove everything slowly not opening any of the organs in the bird.

    It was actually rather easy the worst part was the killing and removing the insides. Cool the cavity down before reaching in the bird. Makes for less of an ICK factor.
  10. bj taylor

    bj taylor Songster

    Oct 28, 2011
    North Central Texas
    one day i will have valuable input. thanks for all the advise & views. this helps one like me feel like when it's my turn to do it, i will be able to handle it. i think i want to try meaties in the fall when the weather is cooler. i don't want to be butchering when it's 105.

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