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Butchering Chickens~all aspects.

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by Beekissed, Oct 18, 2017.

  1. Oct 18, 2017
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    Thought we should have a thread on butchering poultry so we can discuss different methods, how and when we do it, and how we process the meat for eating thereafter.

    Today I'm deboning the first batch of stewing hens that I butchered on Monday. The meat will be cut into bite sized pieces and cold packed into qt. jars with a T. of salt and a little water. The bones will be cooked down for stock...lately I've been concentrating the stock so as to save on shelf space and jars. That's the reason I'm also deboning on this end, so that I have more product per jar and it's ready to use as is.

    I'm pretty pleased with how the meat smells from these retired layers I bought for $30 for 16 hens...usually I can get them much cheaper, but times are changing. Usually a commercial layer that has been kept penned and fed formulated feeds, in the typical housing, will have a barnyard smell to the carcass and the cooking meat...it smells like their feed and their feces.

    I've learned I can collect such birds and feed them on fermented feed and housing them on composting deep litter for a bit and clean up that bad smell. Even better if I can free range them too. It makes their meat and eggs taste so fine to have consumed the FF and be in cleaner habitat.

    Not much meat on this bunch and I'm praying to find some free roosters people don't want in the local ads. That would help fill out our meat needs this year.

    I have 10 more of the production layers to butcher and then, later, some roosters from my own hatch...only a couple...and maybe a few hens. Will take 15 or 16 hens through the winter, along with one cockerel.

    The house smells lovely!!!

    One thing to note...when food comes this hard, none is wasted. I think more folks in this country need to regularly butcher and process their own meats to get an idea of the true cost of eating.
     
    baymule likes this.
  2. Oct 19, 2017
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    I'm currently using killing cones made from 2 gal. bleach jugs, which hug the bird just right and serve for extra large to even tiny hens, last for years and can be nailed up anywhere.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Haven't got a pic of it yet, but my son just made me a neck clamp that's mounted on a tree near my butchering table that holds the neck while I skin the bird....LOVE this new addition to my butchering efforts. Makes for a cleaner work surface, cleaner carcass and easier skinning for my arthritic joints. Just grab the skin, use my own weight to leverage it downward and it's a breeze.

    I'm going to see if he can make me a chicken wringer, much like a rabbit wringer, but for chickens. Could do cervical dislocation, then hang the bird by a leg in the same apparatus and do a bleed out....could be something new for those who don't like to slit the neck for killing.

    I'm also trying a new gutting method this year that I saw on YT...it's just cutting the bird across the spine right above the hips and then pulling the bird apart. Makes for REAL easy access to the lungs and easy removal of the viscera from the body cavity. Since I part my birds up anyway, it's a great way to get to those viscera and better than working through the pelvic opening, which is sometimes too small for my big hands.

    How do y'all kill your birds? Any nifty ideas on making things easier, more stream lined?
     
  3. Oct 19, 2017
    baymule

    baymule Super Self-Sufficient

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    we use a rolled up cardboard-held-together-with-duct-tape fancified redneck killing cone. We put the chicken in the cone and I cut the throat. DH holds the legs to keep it from kicking out. We kill one, leave it to bleed out while we skin and gut the one before. We just butchered 5 EE roosters, gave 2 to son in law at his request.

    I save the livers and gizzards, we love those fried. I keep the necks to cook for broth, then can for dog food. I put the feet in the freezer this go-round. They are greenish legs. What color broth will I get with not-yellow legs? If it is a muddy yuck color, I don't think I could get past that.

    So you can cut the back and break it open like cracking an egg? Intriguing. I will have to try this. More details please?

    We are packed up on meat. We have chicken, pork from the pig we raised and processed, half of a grass fed beef bought from a friend and our ram we sent to slaughter. I would love to have shrimp and some fish too, but I think I'll just be darn happy with what wealth of food we have.

    I did tell my husband I sure would like to have a chicken plucker, but since it's about a thousand dollars, I see skinning chickens for a long time in my future. sure would like to see a picture of that handy-dandy gadget your son made for you.
     
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  4. Oct 19, 2017
    NH Homesteader

    NH Homesteader Super Self-Sufficient

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    Bay, you should build one! There are plans for drum pluckers all over the place. My friend and her husband built one and it works just fine. She even does turkeys with it.
     
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  5. Oct 19, 2017
    frustratedearthmother

    frustratedearthmother Sustainability Master

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  6. Oct 19, 2017
    baymule

    baymule Super Self-Sufficient

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    Hmmmm........
     
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  7. Oct 19, 2017
    frustratedearthmother

    frustratedearthmother Sustainability Master

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  8. Oct 19, 2017
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    Or you could buy a $3 C clamp and screw it to a board, attach small blocks of wood to the clamp part and have a nifty skinner station. ;) Either way that bird gets nekked.

    We even removed the little bar on the end of the little screw portion and added a window sash crank handle for ease of turning.

    Bay, if you use a bleach bottle your hubby won't have to hold those legs for ya. I keep two tacked up so I can load them both and have a bird bleeding out in one while I'm butchering the other and just keep doing a round Robbin on them. Put up a bird, slit the throat, remove bled out bird and process, rinse and repeat.
     
  9. Oct 19, 2017
    frustratedearthmother

    frustratedearthmother Sustainability Master

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    We bought the plucker because most of the time I prefer skin on birds. With our busy schedules the plucker saves us a LOT of time and wear and tear on the hands.
     
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  10. Oct 19, 2017
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    A plucker is definitely the way to go when one is doing high volume and meat birds, to boot. I just butcher around 25-40 birds a season and only dual purpose breeds, plus I can them all, so no need for skin.
     

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