Thoughts? How will everyone prep for, part out & package the harvest?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by cottontail farm, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. cottontail farm

    cottontail farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi everyone,
    Just thinking about my freezer goals for the year and planning on what I want to put up. I'd love to hear what other people are planning and maybe get some new ideas!
    This year I aim to harvest
    6 ducks: all parted up. Packages of breasts (some smoked), the rest either confit or sausage. Fat rendered.
    24 quail: frozen whole
    3 turkey: 1 roaster, the other 2 into: pks of breasts, the rest shredded or ground
    12 freedom rangers: a couple whole, the rest parted up
    2 silkies: whole, I really want to find a couple traditional Chinese recipes
    Any extra roosters shredded for fajitas, etc.
    Really hoping to pick up a free Craigslist goose come fall for roasting.

    What's everyone else up to this season?
     
  2. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is my first year trying, aiming for 50 chickens, mostly cut up, though some shredded might make lots of sense for my family, wondering how much freezer space you generally use?
     
  3. lilbear412

    lilbear412 Out Of The Brooder

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    This is my first year with chickens also. I live on an acre right on the edge of my town. I do have neighbors but everyone is not real close. I got 6 layers this winter and they are now almost 10 weeks old. Time flies. They look to all be hens so thats a good thing. Its fun to watch them. Silly animals. I do plan on getting probably about a dozen cornish x the end of april to be butchered before the beginning of July. Then i would like to get another dozen (if all works out well in spring) to raise for fall. I plan on leaving some whole and cutting them mostly up. Its only my husband and i with some grandkids visiting for summer. I am soooo excited to do this. Its like fun to have this new hobby/goal and its almost time to put my garden in also... :) Summer please get here...lol
     
  4. CommonRookie

    CommonRookie Out Of The Brooder

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    We're a family of 4 doing 125 broilers this year of which we'll keep about 75 for ourselves.

    I really like whole chickens so we'll leave about 40 whole birds which all get shrink bagged and stacked in a 7 cubic foot freezer.

    We'll do about 15 1/2 chickens which get vacuum sealed.

    The remaining 20 birds will be broken down into boneless breasts, leg quarters and wings. Maybe some drumsticks since the kids like them.

    1/2 of the livers will be frozen in vacuum bags while the other 1/2 will be made into pate and frozen.

    Lots of necks, bones, hearts, and gizzards will be roasted for a while then simmered for 36-48 hours in a stock pot. We desock and add a lot of feet to our broth which adds collagen and trace minerals. It also thickens the stock to a jelly when it's cool. It's pretty incredible stuff. We can all that.

    We part out and package as much as we can on butcher day and then keep on ice while adding them in batches to the freezers over 3 days since it's a lot of weight to freeze. A week before the harvest we freeze buckets and jugs of water in the freezers to work as heat sinks which help freeze all the meat quicker.

    Thank goodness we'll have a break before the garden comes in!
     
  5. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How much freezer space do you ensure you have before you start processing? I planned on spacing out the chickens throughout the summer, but need to ensure I have the space first
     
  6. cottontail farm

    cottontail farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We only have a small chest freezer in addition to the regular (fridge) freezer. I've never frozen anywhere near this amount of poultry before. I'm hoping by parting most of the birds up and vacuum sealing them, I can save space. Also, any shredded meats and stock I usually pressure can. From what I understand, the duck confit can just live in the refrigerator until eaten.
    I have no idea if I'll have enough freezer space or not, I also freeze from the garden and buy a lamb each year. I guess I'll find out. Worst case, I'll pick up something used on Craigslist.
     
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  7. cottontail farm

    cottontail farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Common Rookie - I would love to know more about the pate - it's chicken only? Do you just eat it with crackers?
     
  8. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes DH does not know it yet but we are buying a vacuum sealer this summer ;)
     
  9. CommonRookie

    CommonRookie Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2015
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    Estimating freezer space really depends on level of breakdown and size of the birds. Whole birds are space hogs and my birds dressing at 5-6 lbs take up a lot of freezer space. Estimate 6 birds per cubic foot and you should be safe. You might be able to squeeze 7 per cubic foot. That should give you a very rough idea. They don't pack efficiently and they are obviously hollow. We can get about 40 whole birds in our 7.2 cubic foot freezer. Parting them out is way more efficient but i don't have a number for you. I think its pretty safe to say they take up half the space because the there is so much less air between the packages in your freezer, fewer bones and much less wasted space in the actual package.

    You inspired me to do a little digging where I found this rocking bulk density chart. http://go.key.net/rs/key/images/Bulk Density Averages 100630.pdf

    Chicken, parted with bones in looks like about 60 lbs per cubic foot. That's about 12-14 birds per cubic foot, or double that of storing them whole!

    God bless google.
     
  10. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lol agreed Google is a wonder. Thank you for this!
     

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