Home-grown chicken

I started processing the broilers this week.  I did 2 yesterday. I would have done more but the plucker wasn’t working and doing them by hand was just taking too long!  (Not as clean a job, either) It took me an hour to do the two.  So hubby fixed the little electric motor on the plucker for me last night and I did 5 more birds this morning.  I’m doing a few at a time for two reasons: first, I can only fit so many in my fridge for them to age before I freeze them and second, my back can’t take doing anymore! 😆  I’ll have to get some help next time.  This is going to keep me busy for the next week and a half.  I’m VERY pleased with how they have turned out.  I can’t wait to taste one.  I’m making soup with the giblets.  Does anyone know how to clean a gizzard?  I never learned how to do it properly. Tomorrow, I think I’ll cook one of the ones I did yesterday.  They are 81/2 weeks old and average 41/2 lbs.

I didn’t want to gross anyone out, but thought I’d share a picture of our homemade plucker.  We didn’t make it but someone did.  I actually can’t remember where we got it.  Hubby would know.  Through my dad, I think.  Gotta love those labor-saving, time-saving devices.  It would be even better if it had some kind of hood to catch the feathers.  That would save me when it’s time to clean up.  The other picture, my son snapped.  He actually startled me when he took it. 😆

There’s something very satisfying about raising your own food from start to finish.  Well, there is for me. 🙂


13 responses

  1. Amazing! I’m glad you shared both pictures! We are going to do this soon. I don’t know that we’ve thought much about equipment though. There was an article in the last Mother Earth News about how to process your own birds. I am so excited that you’re doing this and I think you’re blessed to be able to raise your own food! As you know, we are working toward that, too. And chickens are next on the list! 🙂 Thanks SO much for sharing about your process!

    • Wardeh – oh good luck! I wish we were closer so I could help you. When you are ready, let me know if you have questions. I get excited about stuff like that! I don’t run into very many women like you. You’re such a blessing to me!

  2. Marg,

    We don’t have a plucker, and in the winter we got some spent hens from a local farmer and dressed them ourselves. We averaged 30 minutes/bird. It is slow work doing it by hand. And layers are so small. But we had some yummy pot pie and chicken soups.

    I’ve never heard of aging chickens in a fridge. I’ve just cooled mine down as best I could in cold water before packaging them for the freezer. Tell more about the whys and hows of aging foul.

    Good luck with the rest of your chickens!

    • Bethany, those hens must have been so good! 30 min./ bird is what I was doing without a plucker too. Homemade chicken soup just doesn’t compare to any store bought.

      To answer your question: like other meat, chicken should be aged. Aging allows the muscle tissue to relax. An aged chicken is tastier and more tender than a chicken cooked or frozen soon after being killed. Once I cooked a fresh chicken. I mean *fresh*. I had only planned to make soup so didn’t think it mattered. Well I can tell you it does. The meat on the bird was like facial tissue in water… not good… it needs to age. The broth was fine but the meat wasn’t. Cooking a bird that was frozen as soon as it was killed isn’t like cooking it fresh. I think the freezing and thawing time help to tenderize it a little.

      You can age them in the fridge for a day or two, making sure to space them so cool air can circulate around them. I’ve been leaving mine 18 30 hours. If you plan to cook a fresh chicken, you can keep it refrigerated up to 5 days.

      I hope that helps! I haven’t been able to get my drumsticks as tender as store bought but the taste is superior and I’m confident the nutrition is too!

    • You’re welcome. 🙂 I’m not sure how tender a spent hen would be, though. It would still be a stewing hen. Let me know if you notice any difference.

  3. Marg – thanks for explaining about the seasoning time. I just read that recently, but you gave a better explanation that what I read in a book. 🙂 I know I will have many questions for you! YOU are an inspiration to me! I’m so glad we met!

  4. I don’t remember the book exactly. 🙂 I’ve got so many on my table right now! I think it may have been one of Joel Salatin’s books. But I haven’t read the chicken one yet, which may explain why I haven’t gotten to anything specific yet. I bet the chicken book will be very clear and echo what you’re saying. Now that I know, I will be watching for it!

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  6. I goofed up on my post above. 😳 I said I chill my birds for 18 hours when I meant 30. A day and a half = 30 hours right? 🙄

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