I hated the smell of fresh chicken in a tank of hot water and avoided the whole slaughter area as much as I could. (But I have no problem slicing out the little gonads of piglets...go figure) So when the boys grew up and took with them their free labor we gave up on the broilers and focused on the beef, dairy and pork.
I know, pure laziness.
But we found ourselves yearning for good foul again. And after eating a few of the chickens grown out doors by two other farmers we know, we decided to enter the broiler arena again. We bought these Freedom Rangers s few months ago and experimented with their feed.
In addition to the organic grain we fed and the grass, bugs, worms and dirt they harvested on their own as we moved their cage to fresh ground daily, we also fed them raw milk. Lots of raw milk instead of water.
That is correct. They never got water, only raw milk and man or man stay away from the spam, that chicken meat was the moistest I have even eaten. Served with oven browned potatoes and green beans It was the perfect meal for this cool rainy fall night.
The whole butchering process , done by 3 and observed by one intern , took only 10 minutes per bird. That is ten minutes from the time we took the bird away from its friends, until it was jammed into a Glad Freezer Bag. The process went like this.
Yes, some are graphic, leave the room and come back if you need to.
First, convince the birds you are taking them for a ride in the country. Grab the closet one.
Next, hand the lucky duck, I mean chicken to Keith
Who will cut the head off for a quick death. Note the high tech blood collection chamber made of Terra Cotta Drainage pipe and old white bucket. Then take the bird into the scalding tank for a quick hot dip to loosen the feathers.
About 45 secs in a 150 degree tank of water. After the feathers are easy to pull off, said bird is taken to the feather beater machine.
See those black rubber fingers? When they are revolving very quickly they do a most excellent job of removing the majority of loosened feathers. But not ALL of the feathers. Like these tiny little pin feathers.
It was at this point our new intern, a lovely gal who wants so badly to learn homesteading, turned white and began to lose her cookies (or whatever else it was she had had for breakfast) She later explained it was the first time she had ever seen the inside of ANYTHING! Poor thing. I take for granted that others have not seen the things I have seen in my lifetime. Oh well...
She hung in there and with each butchered bird she was able to get closer and closer to the carcass without upchucking. She even took one home with her but I doubt she cooked it up that night!
So there you have it. 3 birds in my hand is worth 10 in the bush, or something like that
23 birds done means one chicken each week for the rest of the winter.