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We Processed The Remaining Cockerals

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by MissPrissy, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    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.
  2. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

    Apr 4, 2007
    Mansfield, MO
    My dear, that sounds exhausting, go back to bed for awhile!! I tell my dh that you sound like you grew up during the era of Laura Engalls Wilder... [​IMG] Your dh must have had the same interests as you? We have learned so very much from you! Thank you [​IMG]
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    My husband grew up in the city, Metro DC area. He is learning as he goes. I know sometimes he must feel like the lowly farm hand but on the bright side I told him at least he wasn't sleeping in the old tool shed on a cot. LOL
  4. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    MissPrissy.....Thats sooo funny about your DH. Mine too is a city boy, turned country. I was raised on a poor farm. Never had much, but was gratefull for what we had. DH was an Air Force BRATT! LOL Spoiled rotten, lived in England, Turkey, and the USA. There have been several occasions he would say....Just how do you know how to do that? LOL I tell him...I was born knowing. LOL Even my mother has said, she is impressed in how hard my DH is trying to adapt to the farm life. He really loves it..and always says...We should have done this when the kids were young. ( He is retired AF) to which I answer...Ohhh no, its ALOT easier now for me, im not chaseing kids too! LOL
  5. hencackle

    hencackle Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    Telford, TN
    MissPrissy--I add chicken feet in with the wing tips, backs, necks to make my stock--too bad you aren't closer to the TN-VA state line, I would have come gotten those feet. And the fat! My great-grandmother made the best pot pie crust and pie crust using rendered chicken fat. Mama K used everything but the cackle and crow, my mother used to say. I have to render lard from fatback to make my pastry dough since I don't get the yellow fat when I buy chickens from the farmer.
  6. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    I wanted to save the fat and livers but my dh was kinda squeamish about it. City boy, ya know? lol So I figured with 25 more birds to be processed in about 2 months he'll have time to get used to the idea and then I can save the fat and the livers and gizzards. I do save the wing tip and the dashboard to make stock because so much fat is stored there. If you look at my chicken stock post under the recipes you can see how much fat rises to the top from my last birds. Also the broth is so rich when cold it is like gelatin.


    Chicken feet and rice is good stuff. LOL But he was a little freaked about the feet too. I just have to let him come around a bit and then all is well.

    Where along the border are you?
  7. hencackle

    hencackle Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    Telford, TN
    My jars of stock look just like the one in your picture, fat on top and all. I cook my stock "low and slow" for about 24 hours. You're so right about the flavor being so much better than what is available in the store--that's pure junk, full of MSG and other additives.

    I know of a woman that is married to a Malaysian man and he adds the chicken heads to his stock. Wouldn't your DH love that! [​IMG]

    I'm near Bristol, in the county. DH & I only have 1 acre so raising meat chickens on grass is impossible. I've tried to get the man behind me to sell his extra land to me, no luck there.

    The Abingdon Farmers Market has several people selling pastured chickens, beef, pork, and lamb and that's where I shop for meat. A couple of years ago, I ordered a heritage breed turkey and it had the dark pigment like you mentioned but it didn't bother me.

    I'm rendering lard right now in the crockpot since there's a ban on burning. Usually, DH will make a fire in the garden and I use the tripod and iron pot setup. Of course, I have to roast some marshmallows. [​IMG]
  8. HobbyChickener

    HobbyChickener Songster

    Jun 29, 2007
    central KY
    How do you can the broth? And what are you doing with the meat after you cook it off, Freezing - canning - eating a whole lot of chicken? I haven't done my first cull yet but it is coming soon. Waiting on free time [​IMG] and cooler weather.
  9. hencackle

    hencackle Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    Telford, TN
    HobbyChickener--I freeze my stock/broth, so I had to refer to the book, Stocking Up by Rodale Press. It said, "process in a pressure canner at 10 lbs pressure, 25 minutes for quarts or 20 minutes for pints."

    Maybe MissPrissy can tell you more.
  10. Hotwings

    Hotwings Songster

    Jan 27, 2007
    southwestern Michigan
    As a city person I found you thread interesting. How exactlyy does a regular dual breed bird taste from the cornish x? When you mention the amount of fat found in the liver is this a natural thing? Sometimes when I see the condition that a cornish x(meat bird) goes thru, such as the rapid growth, leg problems and heart problems I sometimes wonder if this can have an effect on humans. As much as I love the juicy taste of a meat bird I think a dual breed is probably healthier for you?

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