CAUTION! THE PICTURES ON THIS POST ARE GRAPHIC. SCROLL DOWN AT YOUR OWN RISK...OR PLEASURE. :)
We had 4 roosters from our straight run pick this Spring. I kept one, Crockpot, my friend Sheri took one, Hawk, and we butchered 2, Puff Daddy and Patrick. Here's how we did it.
Sheri and I caught the boys, hung them upside down (they go into a trance when suspended upside down), and tied their feet to the clothes line. Naki was very curious of this endeavor.
I've read stories of chickens running around without heads, so, I decided to cut through their arteries in their necks and let them bleed out. They quietly and quickly died, with no drama like a headless chicken running around.
We explained to the children that we have raised these chickens with love and respect and that they will nourish our bodies. The boys were intrigued by the whole process, but Pyper could have cared less.
Yes, that's an Aimee face. Pyper soon came up and pronounced, "I eat them for dinner!" Yes, Pyper, you will! She wasn't phased at all by this.
I do need to invest in better knives, though...
I put a wheel burrow with grass clippings underneath them to absorb the blood.
I set up a make shift fire pit and put my canning pot on top of the fire. The water should be between 140-150 degrees for ideal plucking. Sheri dunks Puff Daddy...
Sloshes him around a bit to get the water under the feathers. Then she did the wing feather test--when one is plucked without resistance, then the bird is ready for plucking. I had prepared myself for the terrible stench that everyone said there is. It wasn't terrible at all. It just smelled like wet chicken.
We plucked the birds on an enamel-topped table, the kids all helping out.
Micah, Sheri's son, was so enthusiastic and curious about the whole process. Watching him was worth the entire thing! He had a lot of fund with the chicken heads.
Micah takes Puff Daddy to get sprayed off with water...
We butchered them, following a great tutorial from: http://www.butcherachicken.blogspot.com/
I WAS going to keep the feet for broth, but decided that since the dogs were so well behaved during the process, they should get a treat.
Naki and Hannibal didn't leave any trace of chicken feet behind. There was NOTHING wasted. We packaged the chickens, saved the necks for stuffing, gave the feet to the dogs and the innards to the wild animals. It was VERY fulfilling knowing I could do this. We were a bit slow, but that's to be expected, as these were our first birds we had ever butchered. I suspect in the future, it will be a simple, fast process...about 20 minutes/bird. Now, I know I can do the meat chicken thing!!! Not too shabby for 2 suburban-ite moms, huh???