Today was our first chicken butchering day of the season. Probably two more to go.
See the green goblet at the far end of the counter in above picture? What's that liquid in it, you might inquire. Alas, it was just water but I did seriously contemplate pouring myself a half glass of my favorite white wine when we had reached that point. Sensibility won out.
We've never butchered such meaty roosters. The seven together weighed a total of 28 lbs. 4 oz. which averages out to 4 lbs. each after plucking, gutting and cleaning. It's a goodie-good feeling to know we have that home grown, organically raised and fed chicken meat packaged and in the freezer for this winter.
Our dear daughter (and what an integral part she played) jumped in with both feet (plus hands and heart) and worked throughout from beginning to end.
I have to admit when we butcher I always acknowledge (usually out loud to anyone within earshot) that I could go back to a vegetarian diet. (But won't.)
All in all, a good day. And I'm glad it's over.
That’s a lot of work! The only time we raised meat birds, we paid an Amish family to do the processing but I did all the cutting up and bagging. Even that was a lot of work (we had quite a few birds). But nothing compared to the taste of those home raised chickens! Good for you! -Jenn
Congrats on your Harvest! That will definitely be lots of meat to have on hand
My first thought on seeing that picture was what large birds they were. I've only got one young rooster that needs chopping, but it's difficult to get motivated for one.
While I miss having homegrown meat, I don't miss having the task of getting the animals and poultry into the freezer......deceased of course....the livestock not me.....!
Jenn - Yes, the cutting up of the birds does take time, doesn't it? I fear we'll never be able to do one bird in one minute as the YouTube video shows!
Nancy - There's so much one can create for the table from chicken meat that when I don't have it, I really miss it. This year I shouldn't be missing it at all!
tpals - Yep, doing just one bird hardly seems worth it. But think of all the old-time gals that went out to the hen house every single Sunday to do that one bird for Sunday dinner!
Vera - You are so funny! I (usually) do better when I write but often talk just as you wrote . . . having to correct any strange ideas people might conjure up from my phrasing. So, my friend, it's okay that you currently aren't in your freezer with any home grown, home butchered livestock! ;o)
What a wonderful harvest! You'll forget the tiredness quickly, and you'll enjoy the goodness from your work for a long time.
You're inspiring me to raise some meat chickens for myself again next spring. I do have some organic farm-raised birds in my freezer, thanks to friends, but I like having my own. I know how they lived, how they ate, and that they were happy and comfortable all the way right up until - they never knew what hit 'em!
My grandmother (restaurant owner and great cook!) always insisted on keeping the feet to make broth, which is the best. Do you?
What a wonderful, full countertop! So good to have efficient helping hands. Having that meat all tucked away in the freezer will give you a very secure feeling. I am envious!
Tim - We've never raised meat birds ourselves but know you only have to feed (a lot as I understand it!) and care for them a short time which is desirable. And of course you get a much larger, meatier bird as an end product. We've recently been reading up on using the feet for broth and are planning on giving that a try. I make broth from all the bones, gristle, skin, "funny lookin' stuff", etc. but have never used the feet before. I remember my grandma making broth and see the feet floating around in the big pot!
Rosalea - Yep, Chicken Soup with Dumplings, here we come!! And many other chicken casseroles along with chicken salad sandwiches, creamed chicken over toast, and on and on.
P.S. I've been trying to comment on your latest blog post but can't get it to go through. You've gotten comments from others though so I'm assuming the problem is on my end. Grrrr!
I have been having problems leaving comments as well. I copy the comment, exit out of the form, pull it up again and paste the comment. It usually goes the second time, but not always! Guess Blogger is having a 'hissy fit'. Thanks, MP.
What a lot of work but you where blessed with help. Butchering is a lost art in many places. Keep up the good work.
Your chicken looks great and should hold you for a while. On another chicken note, your nephew in New Zealand is thrilled as his four young birds are now laying eggs daily. He has a bartering system going as one neighbor is trading fish for eggs and another trading lettuce, cabbage, etc. for eggs.
Rosalea - I really can't complain much about Blogger as I've had very few problems compared to what I hear others have had to deal with. I'm going to give a try commenting on your new post and (fingers crossed) it may go through just fine. Maybe. Let's hope.
Lisa - Although we've done a lot of butchering in our homesteading years, it never goes as simply as it does in either books or YouTubes! I'm not really very fussy as long as I don't have to wrestle with the whole carcass when it comes to preparing it. (Well, I guess I do when we purchase a turkey!)
Anonymous (aka Bro J) - There's nothing like getting those first eggs from your chickens. We barter with ours, too, and know it's a win-win situation. After people taste fresh, home grown eggs they find it hard to go back to the store bought variety so I know he'll have no trouble getting what he wants in barter for his eggs. Good for your NZ boy. He and his wife are weathering their own trials with this whole COVID thing with style and grace!
Broth from Feet: Do give it a try. The broth will be some of the best ever. However, keep the doors shut and turn off the lights when you do it. It looks like a bad scene from a horror show!
Seriously, and gruesomely, give the washed feet a scalding in hot water (not too hot though - get it 'just right' by T&E). When you've got a 'good scald' as Grandma used to say, the outer skin will peel off like socks. Then, I use a pruning shear to snip off the toe nails. Finally, into the stock pot for a long slow cook. For as awful as it looks and sounds, you'll be rewarded with a great product!
Play scary organ music and begin....
Tim - Thanks for sharing the way you recommend doing it. The feet are supposed to give us all kinds of good things in the broth including a great amount of collagen which keeps our joints in good shape when we really need it in (ahem!) our later years! ;o)
That is a LOT of work, but how nice to have it all in the freezer.
We have 2 or 3 roosters to do in soon, but I doubt they will weigh more than 3 pounds. I do hope you got your white wine soon after the work was done. We put a deer in the freezer earlier this month, and hope for a few more if we get lucky.
Granny Sue - Even old roosters can be tasty when stewed them up. And, of course, the broth is wonderful. So even if your roosters that have to go don't weight more than three pounds, I know you'll make good use of them. We don't hunt deer but lots of folks in our area do. The season goes through this weekend and then it's over for the year.
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