Sunday, October 03, 2010

A Successful Chicken Season

A couple of weeks ago Jonathan announced to us we needed to butcher his last batch of chickens. So, we spent that day preparing for the big event. The biggest number we had butchered in one day was 104, and this time we would do a whole batch -- approximately 170 chickens -- all in one day.

We started with a little bit of rain, and a high of 50 degrees. That is a bit chilly when you are placing your hands in cold water all day long. At least there were no problems with flies.

This past summer we utilized 5 days for butchering Jonathan's broilers, as well as doing one day to take care of some older hens that were no longer laying eggs. We had some VERY LONG DAYS. I think this particular day we started about 9:30 a.m. and finished up the last of the packaging at 10:30 p.m. And then came the clean up.

Peter looked pretty chipper, in spite of being cold.

David was a bit on the cold side, but did a good job anyway.

Jim was in charge of our newly constructed Whizbang Chicken Plucker. Doing 3 chickens at a time in approximately 20 seconds was a wonderful way to speed up the process. At least it sped up the outside work. Inside, we had our work cut out for us!
Andrew and I were in the house working; Andrew would check the chickens over for pin feathers (he had the tweezers to pull them out), etc. and I finished them off by washing them one final time, drying, bagging, weighing and recording the weights. The Whizbang Chicken Plucker is so great at getting rid of the feathers that this time there were hardly any of the small black pin feathers to pull out.
Andrew and I took turns getting more chickens from the outside barrels filled with very cold water and also bringing the finished chickens upstairs to the big freezers.

I guess Andrew forgot to take a photo of Jonathan doing what he was doing over at the killing cones. But then, maybe that was good!

Samson was very attentive, but stayed out of the chicken guts unless someone tossed something to him. I'm sure he was very full by the time were were done.

Last Friday we were glad to see those chickens being driven away. I am very thankful to have my freezer available for the rest of our garden harvest.


Wendy O'Neill said...

Wow, quite the production line you guys had going! And that pickup load of chickens! May I ask where the pickup load went? Great pictures, once again. Enjoy taking a peek at the your endeavors in-process.

Kimberly said...

Bless your hearts! That was a long day of work. Chicken butchering was always my least favorite (or should I say "most hated!!) jobs on the farm as a young girl and woman. Mom and I would usually do about 30 at a time. But that was just the two of us with no plucker but our hands. I sure don't miss it. But it was nice to have home grown chicken in the freezer for anytime we needed it. Thanks for sharing.

Lynn Bartlett said...

Thanks for the note, Wendy! Those chickens headed out to somewhere near Bismarck. Good thing they were frozen solid and it was a very chilly day out. They all stayed nicely frozen.

Hi Kimberly,
When we first learned how to butcher we learned from our neighbors. They raised 10 lb chickens, just laid them on the ground and chopped their heads off, and we plucked by hand! thankfully we've improved some of our practices to make it more tolerable. In spite of that, I can't say it's my favorite farm chore.