Monday, October 06, 2014

Our chicken-butchering skills are improving

The first time we did some chicken-butchering, it didn't go so well.  Cliff was terrible sick after several days in the hospital, and even had two tubes coming out of his chest.  You can read about that episode HERE. Then, a couple of months ago, I sent Cliff out to kill the old rooster.  I was babysitting, so he had to do it alone.  It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, and I'm not sure he has forgiven me yet.  You can read about that HERE.

Those cute little baby chicks that Mama Hen hatched out have gotten big, and they are eating me out of house and home.  Seven of the thirteen are roosters, and will soon need to be butchered.  The baby isn't here this week, so I told Cliff last night that I felt we should tackle one chicken, and if that went OK, we could get the rest of them into the freezer later in the week.  He muttered something about me saying "we", since he did most of the work the last time.  I promised him that I would do the killing and plucking, and would stand by to help him if he needed it.  I had no problem killing those chickens last year by simply holding them by both feet, stepping on their heads on the ground, and pulling.  However, I had actual shoes on at the time.  Today I had my slip-on Muck boots, and it didn't go so smoothly.  Let's just say it wasn't a perfect kill, but I got the job done.  Lesson learned.  Next time I will wear real shoes.    

I had overheated the water for scalding, so we had to add cool water to it little by little before dunking the headless chicken into it.  I used a meat thermometer to check the temperature, and once we got it below 160, I started swishing the chicken around in the water.  The two of us shared the job of plucking, each grabbing a leg and pulling feathers. All the feathers came out easily.
Then Cliff started the butchering process.  We have learned a few things since last time, one of the most important being this:  Starve the chicken for twelve hours, and it's much easier to remove the guts.  
  This was taken before the gutting process.  

This is stuff we didn't use, except for that gizzard.  Cliff asked me if I wanted it and I said, "Yeah, I guess.  But you'll have to open it up."  

I thought he knew it would be full of sand.  He didn't, and complained that he probably dulled his knife on the sand.  Another lesson learned.

  Here he's cutting up the chicken, almost done.  

So I'm going to fry this rooster for dinner today, but the other six will probably be put in the freezer whole, which will make the whole process of butchering them much faster.


ingasmile said...

Live and learn right? We just started butchering a couple years ago too. It is work though. Thank goodness for youtube!


Diane@Diane's Place said...

Love me some yard run chicken, especially the young tender ones, and I'd definitely help out with the killing, plucking and cleaning if I lived close enough. Anybody that's only eaten commercially grown chicken and eggs has no idea what they're missing in the flavor department with yard run chicken and eggs.


When you see how hard it is to butcher one, kind of makes me want to eat something else.

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

Sounds like you'll have some good eating there. Lots of folks are raising chickens anymore for the eggs and the meat too. Here I go to the grocery store but I do remember the days on the farm when my grandparents would have a fresh chicken for Sunday dinner. That was usually the only meant besides bacon that they had all week.

Rita Mosquita said...

Chicken feet: when I was a kid we cleaned the chicken feet. They were cooked and eaten. If you make a bag in your freezer for broth making stuff, they can be kept there and cooked in your broth.