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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Butcherin', Green Sprouts and More Wasted Money

I might be killing a chicken this evening.  A buddy of mine has some chickens, and I guess one drew the short straw.  A few months a go, I told him that I wanted to do "the deed" whenever they were ready for a fried chicken dinner....

This should be interesting.  Time to re-read the info from my Emergency Preps Bible.  I've cleaned and gutted some big fish in the past - 35 +lb salmon - so I'm not worried about dealing with guts.  It's the feathers I'm curious about.

Should be interesting.
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Here are some updated pix from another buddy's garden.

Yeah, baby, Spuds a-sproutin!


Here are the half dozen or so we planted in a mound -



And finally, the rest of his garden comin' up green -


If we ever got some steady, consistent sun, this would really take off.  Patience.... patience...
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Hey, did ya hear that Da Prez is putting together a commission to get to the bottom of the spike in oil prices.  Yeah, baby!

Hey, hopefully it will be as successful and its recommendations will be followed as closely as they were for the Debt Commission.

Yawn.

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9 comments:

Dan said...

If ya skin 'em ya don't have to worry 'bout the feathers. That's how my Grandma did it. Otherwise you have to scald them for a couple minutes before you pluck them.

suek said...

Yabbut...the skin is where all the fat is...and that means flavor!

I have some chickens. Long story. Nevertheless, there are three roosters. Originally, there were four. My fellow barn "residents" disposed of the most dominant one. I've told them the others are free and available for the taking. And recently asked why they hadn't availed themselves of the opportunity. They said it was because it was Lent. Ok...so usually this _does_ turn out to be a Friday night event.

I've told them they have until tomorrow - Easter Sunday to get on it...after that, I'm going to Craigslist them. And I'm not worried about a "good home".

Actually, I could probably stand a lesson on how to do the deed...but at this point, chicken is cheap enough that I'm insufficiently motivated. I realize that that may not always be true. And where there's a will there's a way. But some ways probably _are_ better than others...!

mama4x said...

At Polyface Farms they put them upside down in what looks like a construction cone. They stay calm and still and then you can cut either side of their throat and they drain out really quickly. Evidently the goal is to cut both jugulars but not the windpipe. With this method you don't have to hold it still with one hand and chop with the other, or twist and twist and lose drainage capability. Haven't done it myself yet but I'm going to a processing day at a farm near here that based it's methods off of Polyface's.

suek said...

I've seen those cones... but not the technique. Here's where I've seen them:

http://www.farmtek.com/farm/supplies/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10052&storeId=10001&langId=-1&division=FarmTek&productId=488602

We buy our wheelbarrow replacement wheels from them - they're the only ones that seem to have wheels with the necessary axle diameter, for some reason. As a result, we get an two "big" catalogs, and umpteen monthly ones with specials - though to be honest, I don't seem a big difference in pricing. Still - it helps to find things on the internet if you know the specialty name that's used to list them, and I find catalogs a big help in that regard.

Chief Instructor said...

For a number of reasons, we had to put off "doing the deed". I did score 9 eggs, though, so all was not lost!

I've gotten a number of recommendations regarding the cone. A DIY suggestion was to use a plastic milk jug with the bottom cut off, and the spout enlarged to allow the head through. I like the idea of a traffic cone, as you could more easily make a stand that is attached to the "foot" portion of an inverted cone.

To skin or not to skin? I'm a skin lover and will probably go that route. I was watching an episode of "Kill it, cook it, eat it" (or something like that - from the BBC, I believe) where they shot and prepared ducks.

After plucking, they ran a propane torch over the body to get the small feathers/down without cooking it. Might try that.

The chicken owner presumed the killing would be done like he's done pheasants in the past - a quick twirl of the neck. OY! Too many choices!

Shy Wolf said...

Chickens are easy, as most birds (except ducks) are.
Hold them by the legs, lay head on large wood block, use axe or cleaver to chop off head and toss the bird aside to let it bleed itself out (you'll know it's bled out when it stops jumping around).
To feather, just grab a handful and pull them off. You could dip them in boiling water (but it stinks) and make it easier. Once the feathers are plucked, dip the body in a pail of hot water and wax, lift out, and peel the wax off. All the pin feathers are gone. Then gut it: a "T" cut below the breastbone, reach inside and pull everything out at once. Set the gizzard, liver and heart aside for cleaning in a minute. Rinse the whole bird in cold water to clean- like under a garden hose or sink.
To clean the gizzard, carefully slice along the yellow-white line you'll see around the circumference. It'll cut easy, so don't get carried away and cut thru the grit sac inside. You'll be able to open the piece like an orange, the grit sac should remain whole, encased in a thick, hard parfleche.
Slice up bird, dip in salt, pepper, garlic powder and basil, cook in hot greased pan and enjoy.
Unless you're going to be doing hundreds of chickens, buying a feathering tool (which aren't all that good from what I've seen with ducks) is a waste of money and time. Going the cone-bottle route is a lot more of the same: not worth the bother, IMO.
On roosters... save them for soup cuz it's been my experience they're tougher meat for some reason, especially banties. You'll break a tooth on a fried one. (Just color me toothless. :( )
Shy III

suek said...

I'm down to one rooster. Whether that one goes or not...I don't care. I don't need baby chicks - I'd just as soon order sexed ones as hatch a batch. The ones that hatched last year all died - one by one. No clear signs of cause, but as little as I know about chickens, I may have missed the signs. The ones that are alive and well were all vaccinated for whatever they vaccinate them for, so I suspect that has a lot to do with it.

As usual, more to learn.

Chief Instructor said...

Shy, thanks for the tips. I'm really looking forward to doing this. I've never cleaned and gutted anything other than fish, so this will be new to me.

Sue, that's strange. They just died - dropped in their tracks? I didn't even know you had to vaccinate chick until I saw an episode of Dirty Jobs where they did it. I guess it's like getting shot for your dog.

Who knew?

suek said...

I didn't know about vaccinations either, but the chick hatcheries that ship you chicks (there's one in Mo. and one in Ca. I have links...somewhere!) all have options, but they specifically state that the chicks are vaccinated before they leave the hatchery.

Which is something like reading through livestock supply catalogs...when they have three pages of remedies for "scours", you sort of get the idea that scours is a problem, even if you don't know the specifics.