Whew... we did it! (Somewhat graphic description)

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by raroo, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. raroo

    raroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Vancouver, BC
    We processed our first rooster yesterday. [​IMG] He was a White Rock roo, and we processed him a bit early a couple weeks shy of 16 weeks old. I'd say we got a pretty decent amount of meat from him, it didn't seem that drastically different from a grocery store chicken. His meat was nice and lean, too, the only fatty parts were directly under the skin. He was pretty hefty and we have enough to make soup stock and have chicken for dinner every night this week if we stretch it out a bit. We will wait a few weeks longer for the rest of the roosters. I wish I had pictures to share but I completely forgot to take some and my hubby has the camera in his car.

    It was definitely a learning experience! We combined the hatchet and the cone method by installing a chopping block directly under the cone where the bird's neck is and swinging the hatchet sideways. This way I didn't have to worry about holding a thrashing bird and possibly dropping it and making the whole experience negative. Hubby swung the hatchet, I gently held the roo's head in place. There are a few adjustments we need to make on the cone, it was a bit too big and the roo's shoulder's were almost coming through. Also, the hatchet's blade was too small and too rounded which made target difficult but he did strike it right the first time. I was pretty surprised by how little blood a chicken has, I thought there would be lots more!

    For the scalding tank we just used the side burner on our propane BBQ and a big stock pot. We didn't have a thermometer and completely guessed on the temp. We must have gotten lucky because 30 seconds in the pot, swirl swirl swirl, and the feathers practically rubbed off. Plucking was by far the easiest part and I liked the process of making the bird look just like a regular chicken you might see at the grocery store instead of a roo I was familiar with. [​IMG] The pinfeathers just slid right out and afterwards we singed it lightly with a blow torch.

    The most frustrating part was that we weren't using very good knives and it made cutting the skin, fat and cartilage kind of difficult. By far the most delicate part we thought was removing the bowels. I was very worried about accidentally cutting open something we shouldn't and ruining the bird. It took a REEEAAALLLLYYY long time for us to finally get the cavity wide enough to gently take everything out. We weren't quite sure where exactly to cut despite pictorials to look at. THEN we were worried about tainting the bird by cutting the bile duct. LOL mu husband thought I was talking about something completely different the whole time I said, "watch out, you're really close to cutting the bile duct!" He pulled out something else and said, "there! Got it!" LOL but it wasn't it at all, my husband is color blind and couldn't tell the green bile duct apart from the red whatever it was he pulled out that looked similar. Meanwhile he was tugging away and being sort of rough with the bile duct the whole time. [​IMG] LOL we're such novices! [​IMG] Everything else went pretty smoothly. We don't have a lung scraper but we used a spoon that has a jagged edge meant for digging out fruit I think. It worked pretty well.

    Cutting the bird into parts was fairly simple too although we did manhandle it a little bit. Like I said our knife kinda sucked. In the end though we came out with breasts, thighs, drumsticks, wings. We used the extra usable parts to make chicken stock that's been boiling away for the past 12 hours. With windy weather and the power going on and off intermittently all night it made for a very sleepless night having to keep the wood stove going while the power was out, and then putting it back on the regular stove so I could get some sleep (our wood stove only stays lit for an hour ) while the power was back on. But right now the house smells like Christmas dinner and the stock is starting to take shape. [​IMG]

    So that was our experience! Sorry if it was a bit long winded, processing our first rooster was a pretty big deal for us but we know we can do it now and we feel pretty good about taking responsibility for our own food! Its the most justifiable chicken dinner we'll have ever eaten! I can't WAIT to taste it! [​IMG]
     
  2. alicefelldown

    alicefelldown Looking for a broody

    Aug 18, 2008
    Congratulations!
     
  3. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yorkshire, Ohio
    Excellent Job! I'm seeing many people decide to do-it-themselves for the first time, and I think it's great. Of all the people sharing their first time expirience, I have only seen a handful of bad expiriences.

    Congrats on a good job!

    ETA: We found out how hard it was with dull knives. Guarrentee next time you'll have knives very sharp, and you'll see how much of a difference it makes.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009
  4. raroo

    raroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! [​IMG] Yes, we're planning on buying a new set of good knives for next time. I imagine it will be like night and day! Doing your own processing really puts a new perspective on dinner! I didn't think it would be so exhausting, LOL. And we only did one bird!. We'll get better at it, I'm almost looking forward to next time, hopefully that doesn't sound perverse. It felt that way as I walked past the chicken coops with a heaping platter of fresh chicken, they were all watching me. [​IMG] Aside from our vegetable garden and apple trees, this is our very first step toward self-sufficiency! [​IMG]
     
  5. Zoomom

    Zoomom Certified Cackleberry Consumer

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    Jan 22, 2009
    Ontario, Canada
    Good Job! I'm sure you'll really appreciate and enjoy your chicken dinners. [​IMG]
    The other tool I like to use for cutting chicken in pieces is a good heavy duty pair of scissors. I don't know if it is unconventional, but it makes short work of a carcass. I raw feed my pets and used to buy frozen rabbits whole with the fur on and skin myself, gut them and cut into drums, thighs, breasts etc. I do the same with chicken today if I need it in pieces. I'm a bit clumsy so it's better than chopping off a finger.[​IMG]
     
  6. raroo

    raroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the tip, I'll be sure to put scissors on my list of things to get for next time! [​IMG]
     
  7. augustmomx2

    augustmomx2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for that post, I have started thinking about processing a few, just to "see" if I could do it. Thanks for sharing the experience [​IMG]
     
  8. TipsyDog

    TipsyDog Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2009
    Aregua, Paraguay
    Awesome! Thanks for posting your experience. I think it's great to be responsible for your own food and managing your flock. Congrats!!! Enjoy your dinner [​IMG]
     
  9. McGoo

    McGoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    raroo,
    Thanks so much for the posting. I have 3 young cockrels that I'm either going to give away or... if there are no takers, I'm thinking about processing. I am a total beginner, but as luck would have it, my ds and dil are not... they raise meat birds in VT. And they are coming for thanksgiving weekend - so I may be learning just what you went through. And I'll be sure to have some sharp knives and/or scissors.

    Thanks for sharing your story.
     
  10. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Loxahatchee, Florida
    [​IMG] Good for you both! I'm glad your first session was so positive & so successful. It's good to learn something new with each session to make the next time go even easier. Good sharp knives or kitchen scissors are certainly helpful. They don't need to be long or big, but it sure helps to have them sharp.

    [​IMG] When's dinner? [​IMG]
     

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