Monday, July 26, 2010

Chicken Dinner Time!

First off, this is not how chickens are mass slaughtered, if you want nightmares, go watch Food Inc. While the following may seem mean or strange if you aren't used to raising your own animals for food, understand this chicken was raised with all the food and water he could want, a large coop and run, and daily free range time to stalk the yard.

Back in April, I chose to purchase straight run chicks from TSC, with the intention of having the hens for eggs and eventually the roosters for dinner. I ended up with 3 Silver Laced Wyandotte (SLW)roosters and a Rhode Island Red rooster (with a second RIR that is suspect).

I decided to let them decide who would be dinner, based on how they act - I have a small kid, and no mean roos allowed. Yesterday, one of the SLW decided to start following my daughter with that "look", so into the dog crate he went, and today, he went to rooster heaven smile  He was also harrassing the daylights out of the hens, and one of them has had a lot of feathers pulled out from him. He needed to go. I was hoping to get to that 20 week mark, but that's just didn't happen with this dude.

The 20 weeks is based on hertiage breed chickens for meat. Long ago, we didn't have crossbred chickens that grew at astronomical weights in a short time, we had plain ol chickens that laid eggs. Today, most purchased chicken is the Cornish cross, a hybrid that usually must be slaughtered at 8 weeks or so due to health problems with incredible weight gain.

This is a neat article about what chickens used to be like, and this is what I'm raising - chickens that are not bred to be dinner at two months old, but rather bred to be chickens that lay eggs and provide meat, ala how chickens were long ago.

Anyway, here is the convict:

My bad picture of my very, very simple "tree of death" - a rope tied around the tree that I had hubby make a slip knot on the end, and a separate rope that I had him also make a slipknot in. Yes, it is hot pink smile I couldn't find "normal" rope - I normally use it as a line for pulling my bow into tree stands. It's sturdy,

I got the convict out of his cage, and quietly carried him to the tree of death, and slipped his feet in the noose. I put the second one on his head. He is alive in this picture. Chickens have a tendency to just chill out/pass out almost when gently placed upside down. They will stay like that.

I have a scalpel and scalpel blades, which I chose to make the neck cut, as they are by far sharper than anything else here. I chose to cut his jugular/cartoid artery to bleed him out. He didn't move for a few seconds or more, then start flopping a bit. I let him hang for about 5 minutes while I checked on my scald water. When I returned, he was still.

I brought him to the inside "station", my kitchen, where I had a pot of water with some dishsoap at a good temp (148F), and one side of the sink with icewater. The counter had been washed and then a bleach solution wiped on to let dry, same with the cutting board. I tied a bag to the handles of my drawers for easy trash smile

I dunked and swished a few times, until I could pull out one big wing feather easily, then I put him in the ice water and swished. He then went into the same bucket I used to carry him in the house, and I took him outside so I could pluck him where stray feathers wouldn't be worrysome.

The wing and tail feathers needed some oomph to get out, but the rest came out with a gentle "rubbing" motion, against the lay of the feathers.

I got him mainly done and then just put him in the sink underwater and finished the bits of feathers out..

I'm not sure on his size, but I'm guessing at least 3lbs, maybe a wee bit more. I think I have a fish scale somewhere, have to find it. For ease of brining, I stuck him in a gallon pitcher which he just fit in, and filled with salt water to brine. We may have him for dinner tonight.

And that's what a 15 week old non-grocery store breed  rooster looks like smile Total time from catching to fridge was about one hour.

1 comment:

Tina - Our Rustic Roots said...

I can't tell you how concerned I was when I saw your pot of water on the stove. Was ever so relieved when I saw you take him outside for plucking! :) I was just imagining feathers all over your kitchen! lol