The weekend before Thanksgiving Todd and I were butchering our 4 month old roosters. The main reason we were butchering one of them was because it had been crowing for over a week and I didn’t want the neighbors to shut down “Operation Meat Birds” we’ve taken on this year. We decided to butcher 3 of the chickens I was pretty confident were roosters because we didn’t want to take the chance of having another one start crowing in the next few weeks. We butchered the 3 most mature roosters leaving one to breed with the hens in the spring.
|The 3 Roosters We Butchered|
The Black One Was the Crower
I wasn’t sure if we would be able to butcher the chickens ourselves, but we both did just fine.
I have posted these links before, but I will post them again to anyone who wants to learn how to process some of their own flock.
I will be completely up-front and honest with you: the worst part was the first 2 minutes. The head came off within seconds but what the video above didn’t prepare us for was the flailing of the wings that took place for over a minute. I stood there watching in horror wondering if we did something wrong. I will also tell you I will never be the one to cut off the chicken’s head.
After the wings stopped flapping, the rest of the process was pretty straight forward. Dunk the chicken into water at 140-160 degrees for about 30 seconds to loosen the feathers. Cool the chicken off in cold water, and start taking the feathers off. This takes about 10 minutes when doing it by hand.
After removing the feathers, it is time to take the esophagus out which takes no more than 5 minutes. After the esophogus is the removal of the innards and to cut off the feet which takes about 5-10 minutes.
Overall, it took us about 3 hours to process 3 chickens; however, we stopped for lunch in-between and took several breaks. I would say it would take 20-30 minutes from start to finish if you were on a roll.
|Two of the 3 Processed Chickens|
(The yellow is because we had the water too hot when de-feathering this chicken.)
The question I always ask when we are doing something like this is: Is it worth it?
I cannot honestly answer this question with a definitive yes or no. To save money: probably not. To eat organically and locally: definitely! We have not yet cooked up any of the chicken, so I couldnt tell you if there is a difference in taste.
It takes time to process the chicken, but I am happy knowing the chickens had a great life of roaming the yard eating bugs and vegetable scraps in their short 4 months here on earth.
We will definitely be doing this again in the future; however, we will try to plan the processing in warmer weather.