time for the roos to go. a couple of questions.

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by doubled, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. doubled

    doubled Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Madrid, New Mexico
    so my order of 6 hens and one rooster from my uncles bird farm ended up being 6 and one alright, just in the wrong way. so all but one of my "hens" are crowing, sometimes three or four at the exact same time. being that the run is just outside of my bedroom and not far from the 2 closest neighbors, you can see my problem. so, it is time for them to go.

    as i have been trying to let them be until recently when this crowing became a problem, they are a little past their butchering prime, i'd say right around 30 weeks, so they are all going to end up as stew/soup.

    i plan on skinning, gutting and butterflying to keep things simple being as they are just going to simmer for hours anyway.

    my questions are:
    1. how long after being bled can i wait to skin and gut them? for example, this morning i was ready to go cut their heads off and bleed them out but didn't have time to do the rest before i left for work. would it have been ok to bleed them out and then stick them in the fridge for 10 hours and then finish them? (i'm asking because i may let one that is not crowing go until it starts and usually it is at 4 am when they wake me up i am most motivated to do the killing)

    2. since they will all end up in the stock pot, do i still need to age them or can they go straight to freezer camp and if i should age them, being skinless should i do it in brine or just cold air?

    3. because i originally though they were hens, i bought layer feed and thats what they have been eating along with scratch. how long should i keep them off food before the slaughter?

    thanks,
    DD
     
  2. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Awww, I'm sorry for your disappointing outcome. But it's a good thing that chickens are useful for either breakfast OR dinner. These guys should still be good eating for you. What breed(s) are they?

    To answer your questions:

    They don't take long to bleed out, just a few minutes for most of it to drain. You should try to do the whole job at one time. I slit the jugular veins in my birds' necks, just below the jaw bone, and let their still-beating hearts pump out the blood. I do one, hang it to bleed out in a bucket, and catch up the next candidate. Then I put the first bird on the table to clean out, and slice & hang the next one. I'll let one hang to bleed while I clean out the previous one.

    I think these birds will still be tasty if you let them rest in the refrigerator for 1-3 days before freezing or cooking. You can try brining a few & see if you notice a difference. I put mine in plastic grocery bags, wrap them tight, and stick them in a baking pan in the refrigerator. Use a cooking method that features low heat & lots of moisture. You can roast them in cooking bags with vegetables, or in a crock pot with broth, or simmer on the stove top in herbed water. They should be deeeeeelicious!

    They should be fine being raised on layer feed. Perhaps they would have grown just a bit meatier with special broiler feed, but they'll still be good as is. I feed mine layer feed and also make them forage for thier own food in the yard. You can place them in a small cage like a rabbit cage the night before you butcher. Give them plenty of water but no access to food, not even grass they can peck through the wire. Then they'll be easier to catch the next day & not get stressed by running all around.

    There are a lot of great online resources to help you learn about butchering, check out http://www.HowToButcheraChicken.com to start. I wish you great success, let us know how you do!
     
  3. doubled

    doubled Chillin' With My Peeps

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    they were supposed to be sexlinks so i think they are sexlink or sexlink cross (getting rooster instead of hens seems to make the whole sex link thing seem useless). mutts of some sort for sure.
    they are beautiful birds for sure. just really, really noisy.
     
  4. dichotomymom

    dichotomymom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    24 hrs is typical for keeping them off of food but it's really not that big a deal if they've eaten, you just have a little more in the crop.......I let them bleed out for 2 minutes at least.
     
  5. doubled

    doubled Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 3, 2009
    Madrid, New Mexico
    three of six down. i would have done the rest yesterday but with the darn time change it was starting to get dark and i didn't want to be playing with a skinning knife with no light. the other three get it after work this afternoon.
    DD
     
  6. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    4,726
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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Congratulations on getting at least half-way done. I bet you've already learned things to help make things go even better for the next session. Since you're skinning, here's a great video to show an easy method, not a lot of slicing with a skinning knife needed:

    I've been caught a few times trying to finish up in the dark, or the rain, or both. Once Mister & I were butchering and got caught by the sunset, I went to fetch the lantern but couldn't find it, so grabbed some glass jars that already had candles in them instead. They were handy from the last time we'd had a campfire cook-out. After we finished, I looked back at the table, littered with feathers, chicken blood, disembodied heads & feet, all lit by the flickering light from the candles. I told Mister "Look at that, if you didn't know better you'd think we were practicing some unsavory sort of religion here!"
     
  7. doubled

    doubled Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Madrid, New Mexico
    thanks, that video is good to see.
    pretty much how i did it but i kept the neck and sacrificed one more wing portion leaving just the "drumstick" i also spend mych less time with the gutting process. i just reach in and yank everything out.
     
  8. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    My Coop
    Thanks for the video. We've never processed a bird before, but will be doing our first couple birds in a few more months.

    I have to admit, I'm a bit squeamish about the killing part. After that I think I'll be fine.
     
  9. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:1) Do it all at the same time. It only takes a couple of minutes to bleed them out, and it will be easier to do it before rigor sets in. Not to mention the unsanitary conditions you'd be creating by throwing dead chickens in your fridge.

    2) If they're going JUST for stock, then toss them right in the freezer. Also, cold water will cool them much quicker, but it doesn't make a huge difference if that's difficult for you to do.

    3) Don't feed them for 24 hours- ESPECIALLY if you choose to keep them in your fridge before you skin them, as mentioned in question one. Save yourself feed though- just withhold food. It will save a bit of cash, and make everything a lot cleaner.
     
  10. doubled

    doubled Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 3, 2009
    Madrid, New Mexico
    thanks for all the tips. everything went quite well. i have 6 skinned birds aging in the fridge in plastic bags and no crowing woke me up this morning. sunday i'll make a batch of noodles or two. with any luck, the yr old hens i bought last night will be settled down enough and be laying and i can use fresh eggs in my noodles.

    i caught them wednesday morning and stuck them in a cage (2 in 1 cage and 4 in another) with just water. then wednesday evening did 3 and yesterday evening i did 3.

    one strange thing i came across is the 2 in the seperate cage seemed drier than the others. like the membrane that covers the muscles was drying out. their water had been kicked over and i refilled it but i'm wondering if they were partially dehydrated.


    thanks again for the tips
    dd
     

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