**This post contains images and descriptions of dispatching chickens. If blood and the slaughter of animals bothers you, SKIP THIS POST.**
I think the last blog ended with the meat chickens having only 2 and a half weeks to go before dispatching day. We gave them another week, because they were on the smaller side. Did I mention that more than half of them ((I found out just days before the day came)) were females? That was one reason they were smaller. But the other reason was that I didn’t start them on the highest protein feed they should of had. ((Because every time we were at Tractor Supply Co., they didn’t have 24%))
So, when the day came, that would of been Saturday, October 13, we were outside and ready to start the day at 9am. It was pretty chilly out, but where we were working was right next to the firepit, where we had our scalding pot, so we weren’t freezing. ((I ended up taking my coat off…and then Lilly got blood all over it, so I couldn’t of worn it anyway))
The process went flawlessly, and we had all 23 processed by 2:30 or so. We didn’t rush, ((no need to)), and everyone was part of it.
The last time we dispatched our meat chickens, Lilly started helping by plucking feathers, and then couldn’t take the smell, so she tried to take out the insides, and found she couldn’t do that either.
Well, this time, she went outside saying the ONLY thing she was going to do was pluck feathers…she didn’t pluck feathers, however, two chickens in, the girls were all ((almost)) arguing over who was going to “do” the next one.
Our process was this: Mike took off the heads ((occasionally one of us would have to hold the feet while he did it because they weren’t as big as the last ones and the hole in out traffic killing cone was too big, and they’d fall through too far)), scalded and plucked them, then put them in the water bath, where after a few minutes, one of us would take it and begin cleaning it.
Lilly jumped into it the same way Grayson, Kenna and I did. We all were consistently working, and it was great! The only complaints were occasionally about how someone’s back was slightly tired.
The pictures below are screenshots of the video Kenna and I shot ((so I could show my son our process)).
The cleaning out of the chicken is all me.
Once all that was done, and the outside was all cleaned up, Mike took down the pen they had been in and got it all raked up. ((It was weird that it was gone so fast, because we had been out there countless times a day for the past almost 3 months.)) That area that they had will be a garden next year, and this Springs’ batch of meat chickens are going to be in a completely different part of the yard, closer to the house. ((We plan on building a really good moveable tractor for them…complete with wheels this time, because our last one didn’t have any, and it made it tougher to move. Naturally 😉 ))
I let the birds rest in the fridge until Sunday afternoon, and Grayson and I parted them all out. So, then the fridge was full of separated chickens, wrapped and ready for the freezer on Monday.
The days and weeks since then, morning routines seem so much easier. But also strange for the first few days, because I was so used to going over and spending time with the meat babies for their feedings.
So, right now, we have a full freezer, and I just have to try and make sure I don’t make chicken more than once a week, if I want it to last us throughout the winter. Because we won’t be raising another batch until April ((and then again in July)).
In other news, not related to chickens… I don’t know if I mentioned it yet ((I’m pretty sure I didn’t)), back in September, my oldest cat Bandit,
went out, and never came back 😦 Three days later, I found out that our neighbors cat, ((who was like almost 20 years old or something)) had disappeared the same night as ours. So, that told us an animal got her.
We never found her body ((and never will)) but we gave her a stone under the lilac tree where we have Mrs. Lovett, Spaceball, and Phyllis.
She’s not the last of her line though. Because her litter of babies she had back in June, we kept one ((Lisa)), and Delia is still here. ((and Delia is Bandit’s daughter)) Delia had babies in July, and we couldn’t find homes for them…So, yes, of course we kept them. (They’re boys tho…so I’m going to have to see if I can find a low-cost neutering program))
We love them though 🙂 There’s three, Oscar, Kevin, and our first black polydactyl, Dahlia. ((I’ve no recent shots of them in my media library, but there are a bunch on my instagram.))
Then the weather started to get chilly, and my ducks and chickens have drastically slowed down in their egg production. Our hen that was sitting on eggs sat on them for 27 days…one would of hatched, but Gramma sat on it and broke it, and the last two she had, at the 27th day ((when we went out there that morning)), they were gone.
Maybe next spring she’ll have better luck. I’d also like to see if our ducks will hatch some as well! ((I don’t want to have to order more ducks, but I will if mine don’t go broody)).
Then, it seemed like overnight, it was the day before Halloween. No one had even really given it much thought. ((In all fairness, we are pretty distracted with the coming months and of seeing my son and his wife, and my parents, and Mike’s dad and sister))
But Halloween came, and Kenna was the only one this year who did trick-or-treating ((but we all went…you can’t trick or treat on foot in our town…houses are too far apart))
Kenna wanted to be a zombie, and Grayson took on the role of makeup artist this year, and she did so well!!!
I took quite a few pictures, but since they’re all relatively the same, I’m only including two of them here.
((The one just below, I submitted to my JPGMag page today, and someone ((not me!)) decided to spotlight it!! Which is awesome!))
Now, it’s November 2, and I’m going to try and enjoy the next few weeks of downtime ((read: not a whole lot to do)) until the holidays come up…and it will be all about food and keeping the animals as safe as possible from the winter elements…
Until, who knows…