Monday, April 28, 2014

First Chicken Processed

Corn the Rooster became our first homestead meat this weekend.
On Saturday, I processed Corn the Rooster.

He had to go. He was a great rooster, and was very protective of the flock. But he attacked us when we got eggs. He attacked us when we just went to hang out by the chickens. He flew up when I was outside of the fence a few times and tried to peck me in the face. He attacked Wife and Things #2 and #3, on several separate occasions.

He just had to go.

So, on Saturday, he went.

I built a small kill cone based off this DIY chicken killing cone tutorial out of some leftover scrap metal from the roofing project.

Corn went upside in this lil' baby.
After cleaning off the cone, and using a very sharp knife, I bled him out. I followed this very handy tutorial on chicken processing. I had some difficulty finding the vent area, and I also think I severed the crop, but I got him rinsed off very thoroughly. We kept the feet for making stock, too.

Corn the Rooster, post-processing.
Plucking the feathers wasn't nearly as horrible as some people make it out to be. We have a digital thermometer to get the water at exactly the right temperature. Maybe that makes the difference. I also had trouble with the "socks." I didn't realize how thin they are. Think snake skin thin.

When it was all said and done, he clocked in at about 4 and a quarter pounds, shrink-wrapped.

4 pounds, 3.6 ounces, to be exact.
We're going to let him sit in the fridge and rest for several days. One of the reason older birds (Corn was a year, almost to the day) are so tough is that the muscle are not allowed the proper time to go through rigor mortis. A minimum of 48 hours is needed. More is better. We dispatched him mid-day Saturday, so a chicken dinner on Wednesday would be a solid 96 hours of rest time. he should be tasty and supple by then.

The actual processing was an experience. I was expecting more blood during the actual cutting, but I guess since I led him out in the cone there was hardly anything left. I also had some trouble with the vent, which I alluded to earlier. That step could have used more clarification in the tutorial. It took me several tries making very small cuts to finally get it. I think with experience my confidence (and speed) will increase. I know there'a technique to it - I just need to find it.

All in all, it was humbling to perform. An animal that I raised from a baby gave its life so we can be nourished in ours. It's a profound thing to butcher your own animal.


  1. This one has been helpful for me:

  2. Awesome. That's a good one, with great pictures. Thanks for sharing!