We processed the remaining cockerals from my spring chicks yesterday. We had red stars, partridge rock (MEAN!) and cockoo marans. The largest of the bunch weighed in before dressing at over 7lbs and after at 5lbs. All of the birds were over 5lbs and none dressed out under 4lbs. We got a really late start on the process and it was after 11:30 when we got out to the barn and got started but were finished and the birds were clean and bagged by 4:30. The red stars pluck out easy. The white skin is easy to see all of the pin feathers. Very straight forward. The cuckoo marans had ALOT of very downy feathers in their undercoat. As I plucked I couldn't help but think about how at one time someone would have saved those soft downy feathers for a pillow or feather bed. The partridge rock was trouble. After plucking it looked like it had a 5 o'clock shadow. The dark pin feathers and pigment left me thinking I should have just skinned it instead of plucking. I washed and washed. I used my finger nails to push out the little pockets of pigment. After I got super tired I left them to soak awhile in cold water and then went back to have another once over. I still may strip the skin off. All of the birds had a thick roll of yellow fat. The liver in most of them was almost encased in a huge pocket of fat. We set up a big fire to burn everything in as we worked - heads, feathers, feet, innards - at times we had trouble keeping the fire because the fat would smolder and sizzle. Until we dumped in feathers it smelled like a big chicken BBQ. I have the birds bagged and resting in my refrigerator. This evening I plan to put them in my large roaster which will hold 4 of them and cook the meat off the bones and to can the broth. It will save freezer space (I have 25 cornish x feeding out) and the broth really comes in handy now that the weather is cooling off and soup becames a big part of our evening meals. With all of the extra roosters gone and someone picking up 3 of the sicilian buttercup pullets there has been a huge turn over in the hen house and the pecking order has changed drastically. I can already tell a difference with the pullets. They all seem calmer. Yesterday was lock down because of all the culling. They mostly hung out on the roosts but a lot of them scratched around and made dust baths in deep bedding on the floor in areas warmed by the sunshine. They all were making those soft clucking sounds and the hen house was peaceful. One sad note about the culling. The smallest maran was the very first to crow and had the biggest and best crow of all the boys. I'll miss hearing him.