Chicken Processing Today.....

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by TnAndy, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    We've gotten our meat chickens from Tractor Supply in the past, but they only get them (here) in the

    Ordered some Cornish X from McMurry Hatchery back in August to for freezer chicken this winter. Got the chicks at the Post Office early morning of 4 September, they were hatched probably the 1st or 2nd of Sept. Ordered 25,(min order) they sent 26, plus threw in one "exotic chick" ( which seems at this point to be a Barred Rock....don't know if hen or rooster yet ).

    So, raised them in a 100gal Rubbermaid cattle watering tub the first week, under heat lamp, then split into two tubs as they grew. By the end of the 3rd week, moved them to a pen I have just for raising young chicks, where they have been since.

    Sent 6 of them over to a buddy's house about week/half ago for his guess is they were in the 3lb range then. Today, we processed 8 of the 20 left at 7 1/2 weeks of age.

    Average weight dressed out was about 4 1/2lbs.

    I use a homemade killing cone, made out of some scrap aluminum coil stock. Works very good. Put the chicken in it, head sticks out the bottom, cut throat and bleed out.



    Then for scalding, I use a propane fired turkey cooker burner with a big stainless pot. Water temp needs to be in the 150 range, give or take 5 degrees. Any cooler, and the feathers will not loosen, much more, and you cook the skin and it falls apart while you're trying to pluck.

    (Temperature gauge is one I bought to use in a solar water heater I have yet to get around to building. Bent a pc of sheet metal to hold it on the side of the pot. SO many projects, so little time.... )



    Pluck, remove legs right in the joint:


    Flip over on it's back, use a REALLY sharp knife ( I use a disposable scalpel, compliments of medical buddy ), make a transverse cut from over near one leg to the other, pulling up on the skin and being VERY careful not to cut too deep.....the intestines are just below the skin and real easy to cut.


    I cut off the head/neck back into the body slightly, and loosen the esophagus that lays right along the neck. Then reach back in the above cut, and pull an the 'inards' out including the esophagus. Remove the liver at this point if you're a fan of them (I'm not) and discard the rest. I hose out with cold water, and finish up plucking anything that didn't hose off, leaving this:


    Wife takes them inside at that point, goes over my pluck job to get anything I missed, puts them in ice water for final cooling. She then puts them in a gallon sealer bag, weighs it, and seals/marks bag and puts in the freezer. Takes us bit over 4 hours to do 8.


    Around 35lbs of chicken in the freezer now, and have another dozen to do in the next week or so. before they get too big.
  2. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    Very good writeup, sir. I've lived around chickens for the last 20 years, but have yet to actually butcher one. They are my mother's pets, they all have names, and usually die of old age. Then she goes and buries them. So you can see, that I would be in quite a bit of trouble if I ever grabbed a young one and decided to process it! Her chickens are for eggs and entertainment, not meat.

    Your writeup on the matter has unveiled some answers I've had for a long time. Yes, I do like chicken livers, but usually in the gravy along with hearts as "giblets". I guess that's a good way of spreading the meat a little further if you need to. My mother also cooked the necks (and also with turkeys) and gave them to the cats, who would work on it for a few days until it was almost completely gone except for a few bones.

    Are there any other parts that can be processed if need be?

    The stomach and intestines are lined with smooth muscle tissue- protein is protein- is there any way to recover that?
  3. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    I keep threatening to raise broilers and process them here but haven't done it yet. Trying to convince the Mr. to build me a whiz bang plucker first. :D

    Growing up we had fried chicken hearts and gizzards a lot and I still love them. Had deep fried chicken feet in China, different vendors, liked them all. The Asian market in the city sells them, keep thinking I'll buy some and try to make them myself.
    Silversnake and BTPost like this.
  4. Silversnake

    Silversnake Silverback

    A whiz bang is on to do list.
  5. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    I really liked the homemade killing cone you created... makes a real mess.... nice and clean.
  6. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Yeah, just some leftover aluminum trim coil, rolled into a cone and pop riveted together. When I'm done, I throw them in the scalding pot to clean up.
    Yard Dart likes this.
  7. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    If we keep on processing en mass, I'd like to build on too. Too many projects, too little time and energy.
    Silversnake likes this.
  8. JoshPFT

    JoshPFT Monkey

    My mouth is watering just looking at that fine meat.
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