Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Doesn't everyone butcher roosters when school is cancelled?

Happiness is finding out your peds class is cancelled on a day it is sunny and warm enough to butcher those extra roosters that really need to be relocated to the freezer. I am in my last semester of RN school and homesteading tends to take a back seat to school these days. Having a whole day to devote to the farm is extra special.

**** Advance warning, there are actual butchering day photos to follow. If this bothers you hit the back arrow now.......

Here is a look at our high tech processing setup.

Scalding station....

Recycled porcelain sink....

Killing cone......

The boys in waiting, six Delaware roosters, hatched and raised from our own stock. Delaware chickens were one of the original meat birds in this country before the Cornish cross freaks were developed. Delawares are a nice large single breasted bird with a superior growth rate. Not freakish like Cornish cross birds but respectable for a true heritage breed.

The killing cone was a huge step up from hanging chickens by their back legs to bleed them. The process is faster, cleaner and more humane now. The bird fits in nicely, is held securely and is easy to quickly slit jugulars and bleed.

Once bled out, the next step is into the scalding pot @ about 145 degrees for a ten count. I like to use a wooden spoon to help dunk and agitate the bird for a nice even saturation. Check by rubbing off feathers on leg to make sure your ready to pluck.

We have not graduated to an electric plucker yet so it's a manual job (looking forward to a plucker in the future). We have found the Delawares to be a pretty easy plucking job, usually less than 5 minutes. 

Look he is naked! From this point all of the birds will rest in the fridge or cooler overnight to increase tenderness.

Being roosters these guys can be a little too tough for roasting birds so I take the legs and wings off, debone the breasts and cook down the carcasses for broth.

A lone extra buck made the transition to the freezer today as well.

Stock pot loaded and ready to cook down into liquid gold aka broth.

All vacuum sealed and ready for the freezer. 

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