random notes and chit chat from the insanity of our life

Peek into our life and see how crazy it can get with 6 kids, homeschooling, sewing, and now farming. We're in our first year on the land, and entertaining the world with what we don't know. By the grace of God, we're learning, day by day, so pull up a chair and laugh with us!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Butchering day...the first, but not the last

So, today was the day.  I had chickens to butcher, morning sickness or not.  6 chickens, and no idea what I was doing, lol.
I printed up step by step (with pictures) directions, from a blog a friend found for me.  Found some sharp knives, some buckets, a sheet we never use, a garbage bag to cover the table....  put some water on to boil, and off I went.
It went surprisingly well.  Only got 2 done, but for a first day...and it was about 3 hours, but we had to stop during the 2nd to wait for the water to get hot enough....  So I'm pleased.
Killing method was novel, but the blog made it seem workable, and it was.  Grab the chicken by the legs and hang it upside down till it calms.  Swing your arm back, up and over, and smack the chickens head into something hard (I used the chopping block).  Knocks it unconscious, and you can then find the jugular (hopefully, that part was tough) and slice.  Hold upside down to bleed out, and off to the scalding pot.
My "scalding pot" was an old cat litter bucket, well scrubbed.  Put in some cold water from the hose, add hot water, check temp.  Good.  Dip, swish, 30 seconds of swishing around, then on the table to pluck.  WOW, that was easy peasy.  Feathers come right out.  I probably missed a few pinfeathers somewhere, but it's all good.  Then cut it open, remove the guts (kids were fascinated by seeing all the organs, we spent quite a bit of time discussing what was what), and the head, lower legs, etc.
Rinse, bag, weigh....70oz!!  Nice sized roaster, IMO.  Repeat, second chicken was 58oz, and that one I cut into parts to grill or fry one night.
It feels really satisfying to see, in the fridge, 2 chickens that I raised, butchered, cleaned, etc, resting to be eaten in a couple of days.  I admit to throwing away all the offal, because I was too hot by then to go dig a hole, lol.  I need a shady place to work, instead of sitting in direct sun.  Dh is already thinking of plans to build me an area with running water, a sink, a counter, a propane burner or a turkey fryer for boiling water in....
I'm thinking to do another batch in the fall.  25-50 (ok, maybe a couple smaller batches?).  My tractor only holds about a dozen, so I either need several more, or one larger one.  But I might even consider selling meat birds, so it's all stuff to think about....
Can't wait to see how it tastes!