** If you are easily bothered by dead animals, you may want to skip this post, as some people might find the pictures below offensive. **
And holy hell, it came and went without a hitch! It was unbelieveable!
Now, because we’ve never raised an animal to eat, I was really unsure of how we were going to handle it. All through raising those birds, I would occasionally feel guilty about the fact that in time, they would not be alive anymore, and instead they’d be in my freezer. However, the guilt was outweighed by the pride I felt in knowing exactly how they were raised, and how they were treated in their short lives. I still didn’t want to kill them, though.
I had decided that I would not have any part in the beheading ((out of 11 birds, I only watched that part twice. I had to turn my back. Out of guilt, I suppose.)) but I would de-feather them, and gut them. No issues there.
As I was waiting for the pot of water to get hot enough, I felt two things: like I couldn’t get enough air, and that I wanted to cry. A few minutes later, and Mike was coming out of the hen house with a bird under his arm. I turned my back as he put it into the cone ((we used a traffic cone)), and the chicken made a small peep noise. Two seconds later, it was done. I mean, seriously, two seconds, and maybe even less than that.
After it was drained, Mike scalded it, and then, handed it to me.
The second the chickens’ feet were in my hand, I noticed a couple of things: that the bird was fucking *heavy*, and I felt confident in the fact that I could do this. I didn’t question myself at all, and I just started pulling out feathers, forgetting the anxiety I had felt earlier. However, I was not at all fond of the smell of wet feathers, I’ll tell you that.
The girls finished with the feathers, and I was actually eager to get to the rest of it, which sounds weird, but… Whatever.
The gutting of the first bird took a little while, because there are a few organs that you do NOT want to puncture. So, I took my time to make sure I didn’t fuck up.
After the bird was cleaned, I was just like, ‘Holy shit. We did this.’
And from there, it just went on. We had 11 birds, and it took us from 10am to 3pm to finish them all. The first five of them were done one by one, but then Grayson had an idea to just take the last 6 and kill them one after another, and then her and I could be working on two at a time. We did that, and were done in less than an hour.
Kenna gutted one, and Lilly helped defeather one. Lilly said she wouldn’t be able to stomach putting her hand inside one. I was so proud of them!!!
Grayson had no problem defeathering and gutting. At the end, Mike defeathered them for us, and we took care of the rest of the process. ((Mike gutted one, because he wanted be a part of the entire operation))
I had spent months ((even before we had the birds)) reading about the most humane way to kill them. I was hemming on either the bleed-out method, or just take the head off altogether. I assumed we’d go the bleed-out method, but Mike said “Nope, I’m just going to take the head off and be done with it”.
And that’s just what he did.
((the photos below are screenshots from the video I took))
After that, I felt like I had ‘chicken smell’ stuck in my nose. I didn’t quite like that. All the chicken was in the fridge, and I had planned on separating it the next day ((Sunday)).
Sunday came, and that was also the day the girls and I were going to clean out the hen house. We had the house babies’ brooder in the dining room ((our 16 new hens)) and I wanted them outside.
The meat chickens had their own run inside the hen house, where I kept them separated from the hens for a couple of weeks. Then, as the meat chickens grew, we would let them out of their run and then they could wander in the whole hen house. ((During the day, our ladies free range in the yard))
It took about an hour and a half, but we got that thing so damn clean! And then…we moved the house babies out! We gave them the run that the meat chickens had. They’ll stay there for a few weeks, until they are big enough to be integrated with the older girls. ((The run has a window, so the older hens can see the babies, and so the babies can see them, too))
When that was done, we had a house to clean. Cause while I love all these birds, with the time they had to spend in the house ((much longer than usual, because of the persistent cold weather we’ve had)) it usually smelled like a barn full of wet dogs. ((The ducks had been moved out of the house on Thursday, and their coop is all finished too! Tho, I have some more painting to do on it.))
After that, I set to separating out the chicken. That took me two and a half hours. Then, it all went back into the fridge where I was going to let it rest until Monday, when I would then put it in the freezer. I did leave out one chicken breast though…and I put it in my chinese fried rice that I made for dinner that night.
What can I say about the difference between our chicken and a store bought chicken? Let’s see, how about the difference between…christ, I can’t think of a good comparison. I’ll just say this: store bought chicken tastes like a piece of paper compared what we have. Like, seriously, I guess I never actually knew what chicken tasted like. I’ve already used it three nights in a row ((every single time, with everyone saying just how goddamn good it is)) and I feel like I could eat it every single day.
With that mindset, I should of raised more than 11. But since I didn’t, I’m gonna have to get another batch around the end of the summer, because I know while there’s a ton of chicken in the freezer, at this rate, I won’t make it last through the winter.
Off the topic of chickens…
Yesterday’s ((Monday)) weather was so gorgeous, we spent almost the entire day outside. The day Mike built the duck coop, I suggested we put in windows…So, that’s what he did yesterday. It took most of the day, but it was worth it.
The girls spent most of their day taking pictures! So, the pictures below, unless noted that I took it, were all shot by either Grayson or Lilly.
A few hours after hitting ‘publish’ Edit: Since I’m not a long time person with expertise on the whole chicken raising thing, I don’t consider myself someone to ask for advice. Except, I could give you advice based on this experience. I will tell you this though: If you’re thinking about raising chicks for meat, stop thinking about it and just do it. Also, the chicks I raised were cornish rocks ((cornish cross)), the very same ones they grow commercially for the ones you buy in a grocery store. However, while commercial growers and then the way the meat is handled is all so gross, while I may of grown the same bird, the product was entirely different. Raise some yourself, and you’ll see what I mean.
Well, I think I’ve rambled long enough.
Until next time…