Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I killed two chickens today

Those three Cornish Cross chickens I bought in March were eight weeks old, and having more trouble walking all the time.  I asked Cliff if he thought the two of us could get them butchered, and he said he thought so.  We really did not know what we were doing, even though we found wonderful instructions at howtobutcherachicken.com.  Maybe if we'd had the instructions printed out in front of us it would have been easier.  
Cliff has always done the killing of animals around here, but after he did the first one I said, "Let me try the next one.  I'll kill it like Mother did, by stepping on its head, holding onto its feet, and pulling."
I remember my mother telling me you can only kill young, tender birds that way.  Older, tough chickens have to have the head chopped off.  My grandma used a hatchet to chop off the heads of all the chickens she killed; I remember asking Mother why, and she said it was because Grandma was old and didn't have a lot of strength.  Since my grandmother was only ten years older than I am when she died, I have to admit that I had a few doubts about whether I could pull a chicken's head off using Mother's method.  Imagine my surprise when it worked!  
According to what I read, 145 degrees is the perfect temperature for scalding a chicken, which is something you have to do if you are going to pluck the feathers.  Hot water from our faucet is 135, so I didn't have to heat it up much.  
By the third chicken, I was tired of plucking and told Cliff to skin it, feathers and all.  All three chickens are chilling in cold water in the refrigerator.  Tomorrow I'll freeze them.  I feel like a REAL pioneer woman now.   


   
He's been on the couch ever since.  I think that was enough activity for today.

8 comments:

Jon said...

Aw, my neck hurts even thinking about it.....
They'll undoubtedly make some good eatin', but this sissy city dude prefers to get his drumsticks & thighs from KFC....

Adirondackcountrygal said...

I don't think I could do it the way you did! I would have to chop it's head off.

TARYTERRE said...

I'm with Jon my neck hurts after hearing that. And I'm a big sissy too. My dad and FIL used to butcher chickens. You guys did good. You join the ranks of pioneer people everywhere.

Lori said...

I've seen Mom and Dad break or wring a chicken's neck, but they usually just chopped it off. It has been many years since I have helped pluck and clean a fresh-killed chicken. I have to say I don't miss it! But I do love to eat fresh, farm-raised chickens!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

You are like the pioneer woman. Now you'll not only have beef in the freezer but chicken too. I bet they'll be tastier than the store bought.

patsy said...

I always used an ax to kill my birds but have used the step on his head and pull hard too.
I have butchered chicken since I was a kid and made my living by working at Tyson most of my working years.
I saw this thing on the net the other day about someone finding this piece in their chicken and no one had a clue as to what it was. it was a piece of a lung. we always left the lungs at home in but the chicken plant took out the lungs reason being that the first place illness shows up is in the lung. hope cliff continues to improve.

Margaret said...

OMG-I was in shock reading this. My husband butchered lots of animals on his family farm, but I've never been around the actual "event." Yikes. I'm now a vegetarian. :)

krueth said...

So happy to see that Cliff is up and able to help butcher chickens. We butchered many over the years and they taste so much better than store bought ones! Love seeing that tall green grass in the field behind Cliff. We are just now starting to green up here in MN. Wendy