Thursday, February 3, 2011

Well, It Ain't KFC.... It's Cleaner! :D

The process of taking chicken from coop to freezer is really not all that complicated.  It takes time and energy...and some planning...but, you can do it.  You can have the knowledge that you provided the chicken with a good life... and that, in taking the chicken as nourishment for your family, your are gracing its end.

The first thing you want to do is separate the chicken(s) from food 24 hrs before killing.  This helps ensure the intestines won't be full - it's pretty self-explanatory why this is a good idea.  :)
The day of, you'll need boiling water for dipping the chicken to loosen the feathers for plucking.  We kept our water boiling on a camp stove. 
After you put the chicken in the cone and do what needs to be done, you dunk the chicken in hot water to loosen the feathers. 
Next comes the most tedious, time consuming part of all..the plucking.  Knowing this, Darren looked up some pluckers online and came up with this....

This is the back view...  looks like a sunburst... I like it.... :)
The idea is to hook it up to a drill and let this "plucker" knock the feathers off the chicken ..thus, doing the tedious part in a not so tedious way...

And here it is in action:
Wow...  allow me to distract you for a moment from the topic at hand, and just point out what a cool photo this is...  the pluckin' fingers look all ghosty... if it wasn't such a "ugh" picture, I'd frame it or something.. however, being what it is...  well, let's just get back on topic, shall we?
Okay..don't be getting your knickers all in a knot...this picture was taken BEFORE the previous one...but, this is what the plucker ended up being good for... the helm of a pirate ship.... which is precisely what Isaac thought it was anyway...  :)  The plucker just didn't work...oh, can't win 'em all....

We ended up hanging the chickens upside down from a board, same as last time, and plucking by hand.
After that, we took them to a granite slab we had prepared, and proceeded to clean them out and prepare them for freezing.  Joel Salatin has this whole thing down to a science, as shown here: .  This video helped tremendously when we were trying to figure out the best way to do it.  Once you get a feel for it, you're pretty good to go.

I do want to show you something very cool that I found while gutting one of the chickens...
How amazing is that???  All those eggs in various stages of formation inside one chicken...  Man, I was fascinated....once again.  I just think that is the most incredible thing.  How an egg is formed is one of those miracles to which we give no thought...  Every stage, layer upon layer, is taking place inside the hen until it just shows up in the chicken coop and is gathered and eaten....and it's so amazing! 

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