Time to Harvest the Colored Rangers

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by DawnSuiter, May 26, 2010.

  1. In a follow up to my original post about caring for these rangers: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=3742130#p3742130
    I am excited to post that we are here, at butchering time!!! They did live totally free for their entire lives, most chose to perch under bushes, some actually inside the shelter we provided, others on low lying branches and so forth. I didn't keep a proper journal... but I know that each week 20-23 colored rangers plus 14 or so mixed heritage breed chickens consumed a 50lb bag of food each week. I fed Turkey Starter for the first 2 weeks, Flock Raiser for the next 8 or so weeks and right now this minute I'm providing cracked corn only for a week before butcher until all the Rangers are in the freezer. Then I'll put the heritage chickens back on flock raiser and whole grain mixture until their time comes in the fall.

    So.. I have to say.. in the end.. they are CHEAP! They are well endowed, some with breasts weighing in excess of 3lbs.
    There were 2 mutants in the group.... one with a dislocated hip joint who I noticed once we unpacked them upon arrival. But he seemed fine and so I left him... in actuality he made it all the way to the freezer at a nice size, albeit with some difficulty. Another's eyes were not opened upon arrival. Within a day 1 opened, the other didn't... by day 3 he/she was stepped on & died. I lost a couple to either my dogs or some other animal... I have a guardian for them.. it's as likely that she interrupted a predator and took the bounty for herself, as it is that she went over there and just decided to eat one. Regardless, they were acceptable losses, my dogs don't "attack" the chickens blatantly and only losing a couple is definitely acceptable for completely free range birds.

    Also, I'm proud to say I finally figured out how to kill & butcher a chicken for our own purposes. I've done this in years past, but always following directions from others, and clumsily at best. I was never satisfied, I hated the killing, the plucking and never use skin anyway. This time I wondered to myself... why do I have to pull out the insides if I only want the meat from the outside??? I wondered if I could filet the meat off the bones, but I have no knife for this. Instead with some patience & a little effort... I found my way from skinning through bagging cut up chicken in less than 10 minutes!!!!! There IS a bit more waste than I would like, but, I'm still squeamish about certain things. I hope in time to learn to use more parts of the chicken than I currently do... in time. Right now I get 2 breasts w/partial wings, keel, 2 leg/thigh combos, a neck & half back, any of the "insides" are easily sorted through... but that's the yucky part still for m.

    17Roses (BYC name) is coming over today and I will be demonstrating my new found fast technique. Maybe, just maybe I can get her to take a few pictures .....From cone to package in 10 minutes flat!

    I just wanted to thank all the old timers, who have helped so much these last 2 years. I FINALLY got a system down that works for us and now we can eat all the natural chicken we want!!!!
  2. ben&momschicks

    ben&momschicks In the Brooder

    Apr 11, 2008
    Congratulations on your accomplishment. I would love to see pictures. I raised cornish x for the first time this year and butchered them myself. I plucked the first, but skinned the rest. I had no problems gutting but the killing was hard at first. Next time I want to try the rangers because I lost a lot of the crosses before butcher time. Karen
  3. Thank you Karen! If 17Roses makes it over today, I'll make sure we snap a few photos. I didn't choose the CornishX because I didn't actually want to do any work to raise the meat crop. The Rangers did well to care for themselves (minus the food we provided daily in the a.m.)

    The steps are easy I think... let me see if I can nail them down...

    Remove from cone & lay back down on the table
    Use loppers to cut wings at joint or closer if it's not very meaty
    Hold one leg (for pulling) and grab handful of feathers near the breast and tear skin open by tugging ROUGHLY
    Cut off feet
    Slip skin over body, over the feet and gather around the tail - (you can wash it off at this point to remove the feathers that are sticking but I prefer to work with a dry carcass as it's easier when you have a 'grip'.)
    Snap legs at hip joint one at a time & excise from body - wash & bag
    Cut open body cavity carefully, & pry open
    Detach crop, etc from neck
    Cut carefully around wing sockets, twist & release the breast from the backbone - wash & bag
    Finish cleaning back cavity & break or use loppers to release neck & upper back together. Score neck & twist to separate or put the whole thing in the pot.

    10 steps maybe in about 10 minutes!
    I'll use that for a guideline on which photos to take.
    Last edited: May 26, 2010

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