Our Meat Chickens have now reached 7 weeks of age and this is the age that they would be butchered if they were in a commercial poultry farm.
We plan to keep ours slightly longer, probably an extra 2-3 weeks but will will see how things go.
Today was all about a trial run of the butchering process. It was actually really good to have the trial run with just one chicken, so now we have a much better understanding of how long it takes, what we need to have organised and any potential pitfalls.
The trial run was some what forced upon us as one of the chickens had an issue with one of it's legs that we could see was going to get worse. We were aware that this was a potential issue with the commercial birds but unlike a large commercial operation we are not going to just leave that one bird to suffer because the rest are not ready.
This is the first time hubby has had any part in butchering chickens and for someone who grew up in the middle of Brisbane he has taken to it very well. I grew up in the country and as a child took part in butchering our own chickens. This was back in the 80's and I was pretty young so other than seeing them run around without their heads (which of course we thought was hilarious) and plucking them there is not a lot I remember.
We set ourselves up outside on an out door table with:
The BBQ set up with a pot of scaling water and a thermometer,
A few layers of news paper taped to the table,
Instructions taped to the table,
A Stainless steel bowl, sharp knife, paper towels, latex gloves and a chopping board.
|Set up ready to go|
|This preparation made the job a lot easier|
|My instructions taped to the table for easy reference|
It was a good time of year to be doing this as there were no flies to worry about, the weather was cool and we had no interruptions. These are all things that I believe are important here in Queensland and Hubby and I discussed the fact that it would not be a god idea to raise birds that would need to be butchered in the summer dues to these factors.
The instructions mentioned the need to be careful not to break the bile duct if you wanted to eat the liver as it would make it taste bitter. Not being familiar with the anatomy of a chicken I did not even know which bit the bile duct was, till I broke it. Thankfully it broke after I had removed all of the intestines outside of the bird, not that we were going to eat the liver anyway.
|The bright green bile|
|The finished product|