Monday, November 1, 2010

The Feathers They Were A'Flying

Yesterday six of our geese went to that happy grazing ground in the sky. They became food stored in the freezer for us to appreciate, enjoy and share with others.

Our daughter, Chicken Mama, offered to help us with the project, and holy moly, we really, really appreciated her assistance. Having her able input knocked a couple of hours off the butchering time, I'm sure.

Here Chicken Mama is doing some hand plucking while her dad is using the plucking machine with another bird.

We tried to keep all of the feathers corralled but a breeze insisted on distributing them all over the acreage sometimes looking just like huge snowflakes floating through the air.

All three of us tried to guess what the dressed weight of the geese would be. My daughter and hubby both guessed they would be about seven pounds each, and I put in my estimate at five pounds. The geese were Shetlands which are one of the smaller breeds. When all was said and done, they ranged from 5.0 pounds to 5.75 pounds. We butchered three females and three males. I was surprised that the males didn't weight substantially more than the females but I suppose that wouldn't have happened until they had reached their full maturity.

While we were working we all reminisced about how much we'd enjoyed watching the geese stuffing themselves on green grass, having a good ol' time in the pond on a daily basis, eating their share of grain and kitchen treats all summer. Their hands-down favorite goodie was watermelon rinds. No doubt about it, they had a good life filled with lots of fresh air and sunshine and were super-healthy.

Mother and Father Goose are still with us and I'm sure will adjust quickly to their empty-nest life in their snug shelter this coming winter.

I know I'll really appreciate having a lot less goose poop in the poultry yard.


becky3086 said...

Great job! I know how good it feels to have the birds finally in the freezer.

You Can Call Me Jane said...

There are still feathers in our yard from Saturday's harvest of our last few meat birds (chickens). Those feathers stick to everything. Is that your plucker or do borrow it? It's quite the device, isn't it? One more question...I forget if this is your first time raising geese or not. If not, what is your favorite way to prepare them?

Mama Pea said...

Becky - It SURE does! We're really glad that little job is done, done, done!

ThyHand - We've raised them before but not for many years. I was always warned that geese were so greasy. So the first time I roasted one, I was all prepared with my turkey baster ready to suck all the fat from the bottom of the pan. Which never happened! I'm kind of a simple cook so I just roast them as I would a turkey. I've done them both stuffed and unstuffed. Again I was warned the stuffing would be too greasy, but I've never found that to be the case with our homegrown ones.

We had feathers stuck to our eyelashes and just about everywhere else! Kinda looked like we'd been tarred and feathered!

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Chirstmas Goose! I've only ever had the ones that fall from the sky. They are good if done right, but yours sound more appetizing. Maybe we ought to try those someday. Best get thru some chickens first tho, huh?

Lorie said...

Looks like a mess, but I am sure well worth it. they must be pretty tasty. Have you ever used the feathers for anything?

Unknown said...

Looking forward to being able to do the same thing for the first time.


Erin said...

I'm imagining geese flying by and looking down at your feather blizzard and thinking "let's not stop at this pond today"...LOL! I LOVED Chicken Mama's photo on Halloween she had that jacket on covered with REAL BLOOD, if you haven't seen it check out her Facebook, it's a hoot! Those birds will reflect their happy lives in the taste on your plates this winter!

Susan said...

I am guessing that raising healthy, happy birds makes for a healthy, non-greasy end product. I would like to process my own chickens, but have never done it and will need able assistance as well. Do you think Chicken Mama is up for a trip southeast?? You and Papa Pea????

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Kim said...

Hope Mama and Papa Goose closed their eyes. I bet they will taste good this winter too.

Mama Pea said...

APG - If you have a small pond for the geese, we think they're super easy to raise. And I know you can do it without a pond but ducks and geese love the water so much, I don't think I'd like to deprive them of that. But, yes, Girl! You have to get those chickies goin'!

Lorie - We sure were talking about uses for the feathers and especially the down. These geese had such a wonderfully thick layer of down. And so soft you could hardly believe it. Someday . . .

Cindy - The first time is always a little anxious but if our forefathers could manage it without electricity or running water, we all should be able to do it, too!

Erin - It was funny that when we started collecting the geese to butcher, there was not a duck or chicken in sight anywhere. It was like they dug a little hole in the ground and covered themselves up!

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Oh, why don't we all live closer together!??! The best way to do it your first time (I think) is to have someone over to help who has done it . . . for sure!

Ron - Thank you and welcome!

Kim - Mother and Father Goose were shut up in their shelter and oblivious (I hope) to the whole operation.

Mama Pea said...

ThyHand - I forgot to answer your question regarding the plucking machine. Hubby bought that a few years ago when he went to see an elderly farmer who advertised some chicken equipment for sale. It works remarkably well and we're might glad to have it. A couple of years ago, we gave our daughter a hand-held mini version plucker for Christmas (you attach it to a hand-held drill!) and she says it does a bang-up job also. We haven't tried it ourselves but want to next butchering session because it seems it would be easier to get at the feathers in those hard to reach spots . . . like under the wings, end that goes over the fence last, etc.