We slaughtered our 16 meat birds over the weekend. It took three adults working most of Saturday to get it done. That is an embarrassingly long time, but that's how long it took. My cousins tell me that I could get them done much faster if I skinned them instead of plucking them. (I am definitely going to skin them next time.) Plucking is time-consuming and it's a hassle. You have to heat a huge pot of water to about 150 degrees and dunk the birds up and down in the water several times. The heat loosens their feathers so that you are able to pluck them.
|We borrowed this awesome propane burner from a neighbor.|
|My dear friend Erin about to dunk and pluck.|
|The plucking station. Little Sister was a good helper.|
We had raised these birds, called red broilers, from day-old chicks. They had a really nice chicken life with just one bad moment at the very end. I feel really good about how they lived. After about three weeks in the brooder they moved outside to the chicken tractor. I moved the chicken tractor onto fresh grass every day so that they could eat grass and insects. They were healthy, beautiful birds. I ordered straight run (unsexed) chicks and eight turned out to be roosters and eight were hens. Two of the roosters had started crowing hilarious, pubescent rooster crows by the end. One of them sounded an awful lot like a demented clown, which scared the crap out of me one morning at 6am when I took the dog out to pee. I was standing in the front yard in the dark, wearing my pj's, when this crazy HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAAA comes from the side yard. The other little cockerel was only managing two syllables, a wheezy HE HEEE.
|Erin singing the pinfeathers off with her blowtorch.|
|A plucked bird cools in a bucket of fresh water before being gutted.|
Half of the birds were for my friend Erin who helped with the processing. Seven of my eight birds are tucked away in the chest freezer for later use. One of them went into a pot of chicken noodle soup that my children slurped up in five minutes flat. I used the necks and feet to make rich, delicious chicken stock, which I froze for later use. The hearts were cooked with onions for Mr. Chanclas. And the livers, ohhhh, the livers. I used the livers to make a wonderful pate. I had no idea how easy it was to make pate and I daresay it may be my favorite chicken dish!