Homestead Chicken Butcher
The air was cool outside, the fire was stoked (Lincoln kept our firewood going for us) and some chickens were about ready to meet their doom. I don't mean that in a harsh, cruel way. I love my chickens. Dearly. BUT, everything has to pull its weight on this here farm and that includes chickens. When their egg layin' is done, it's off to the freezer and on this particular day, we butchered 5 chickens and 1 turkey. This day we did Cornish X's, Freedom Rangers and a Red Bourbon turkey.
Off to the chopping block they go. Rob holds them upside down to let the blood rush to the head and they calm down and get sleepy. This is the method for the chopping block when we just use an ax which is our preferred method.
With one swoop of the ax, it's done. They do flap around a bit, but that's just the nerves. The chicken feels nothing.
The very first method we ever tried was the kill cone method and Rob doesn't like to use this method for the sheer fact that one will feel the chicken's actual neck as you take the life. Don't get me wrong, we've had days where we've done 50 chickens in a row before using this method, but we don't prefer it. Just a personal preference, really.
I love editing these pictures mostly because of the FACIAL EXPRESSIONS we have on our faces.
A dunk in the pot to help loosen feathers.
Feathers, ready to be plucked.
Pluckin' away. (Our oldest daughter was our camera person for the day.)
Feathers and "guts" are slipped into the trash bag. Some people like to throw these into compost heaps, but we didn't do that this particular day.
Dressing him out.
Isaac wanted in on the action.
Love that our kiddos are learning these great skills.
Two herbs that I love using when cooking a chicken roast...rosemary and
Into the ice-chilled cooler. These birds sat in the cooler til we were done processing. Then they got placed into large Ziplock bags and into the fridge for a few days to let the meat rest. Then into the freezer.
OR, into a roast pan for dinner.
Chicken processing was something that we struggled with on our first "go" at processing. Not that it gets any easier taking a life. It doesn't. But if we are going to continue eating this kind of protein on our farm, we need to make sure our skills in swiftly taking a life and being responsible with the packaging and cooking of it is at our ultimate best.
Here's to chicken!