I never understood why many of my friends told me that chickens were nasty. That they smelled and were...did I mention, NASTY? Well, I do now. Because many people have raised meat chickens. In particular, Cornish Rock cross meaties. I have had many chickens in one or more coops at a time, and I have to say, they have never had an odor, and I genuinely enjoy them. I didn't enjoy raising these Cornish Rocks though. Did I mention they were NASTY? They stunk! As soon as you would walk into our huge barn, the smell of unprocessed chicken poop would accost you, and you couldn't help but wrinkle your nose. I added fresh bedding, changed the feeders, waters, cleaned them, did everything I could think of--but they still were the stinkiest birds EVER. They just don't digest their food like regular chickens. And they don't move around a lot. They were so gluttonous, that they would fall asleep with their faces in the feeders to wake up to keep eating. They were so immobile, they wore off the feathers from their breasts to their vents (bottoms).
They start off cute like these little yellow chicks.
A week later...they are still cute....
At 4 weeks, they have grown so much that chicks their same age look tiny compared to them...
Here's a stock picture of a Cornish Rock Rooster. We had several that looked like him. Splayed legs, and big barrel chests.
Here is the first one we caught and butchered. As you can see, his chest feathers (those left) were soiled, nasty and crusted with poop. YUCK!
I hung them "out to dry" essentially. They go into a hypnotic state when upside down, then I cut their throats. They quietly bleed out, and then we scald them. If you want to see my past buchering post with step by step instructions, go here: http://farmwithoutaname.blogspot.com/2012/07/butcher-time.html
This is the coolest chicken plucker EVER! I went in with 4 families to buy the supplies, and our friend's husband, Andrew, put it together. Check out how to make yours by Googling "Whizbang chicken plucker". It worked beautifully! This was the only positive about butchering the chickens...seeing how effective this thing worked! Within 15 seconds, the chicken was perfectly plucked! I have a video to share, but was having difficulty uploading it. I'll try again.
Here are some of the feathers from 8 chickens.
I saved the feet and necks for broth....
And the livers for Shannon's Great Aunt that apparently makes the BEST fried chicken livers. I say APPARENTLY because that turns my stomach. However, I'm all about using all parts of the chicken and not wasting any...we also saved the heads and guts for the dogs. They were quite happy with me. I aim to please.
After finishing the cleaning, I put them in a large cooler with ice waterto let them CHILL OUT. lol ...where Hammish cat decided to get a sip of water. Yuck! Oh, well...all is well that ends well. I now have 80 lbs of chicken in the freezer. The roosters weighed in at 10 lbs fully dressed and the hens weighed in at 9 lbs fully dressed...and they were only 8 weeks old at butchering. Crazy Mutant Natsty Beasties!