Saturday, July 13, 2013

Backyard Broilers Graduation Round 1

The birds are now eight and a half weeks old and real close to reaching maturity.  According to the hatchery web site, "The males usually start trying to crow at around 8 weeks old or possibly earlier."

Out of the 10 I had left, three of them were males.  Since I got some experience processing a chicken last weekend and since I had some time this weekend, I decided that they should go in the freezer.  I really didn't want to take the chance of having them crow.

I set up the garage as I did before.  I discovered last time that the worst part of the process is removing the feathers.  I thought that I might be able to get around that step by just skinning the whole bird.  So that's what I did with the first one.  The result?  It was no easier.  It certainly didn't save me any time.
Skinless bird #1.
So for the second bird I had a pot of nearly boiling water.  That worked very well.  I'm wondering if I didn't have the water hot enough last week.  The feathers came right off.  I used the same water for the third bird.  Unfortunately the water had cooled off too much.  I was able to get some of the feathers off, but it was difficult.  I had to get another pot of boiling water to finish it.

So the lesson I learned for next time is to keep a pot of hot water handy for each bird.

I also found that things got better with each bird.  I didn't really have any problems with the first two, but the third one just seemed to go so much better.  I didn't time how long it took me to process each bird, but from start until I cleaned everything up was about 3 hours.  I'd really like it to take less time than that, but I'm not sure how to speed things up.  That's still one hour per bird.

What was most remarkable this time was the weight of the birds.  They were all within 1 oz. of each other.  It'll be interesting to see how much the rest of the birds weigh when they are processed. 
3 lbs. 8.3 oz.
3 lbs. 7.5 oz.
3 lbs. 7.9 oz.
I can say for certain that this isn't something that I want to do on a regular basis.  It's not the most pleasant thing.  At the same time I realize that if I'm going to eat meat, an animal's life is going to be taken.  At least these birds got to live outside in the fresh air.  They got to eat bugs and grass.  They weren't kept in the dark sitting in their own waste and eating antibiotics and grain for 6 weeks until their demise. 

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