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.
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.
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.