Saturday, July 20, 2013

There's another bird in the freezer.

I hadn't planned on processing any birds this weekend.  That plan changed when I realized I had another male bird.  I thought I got all of them last weekend.
I don't remember him having that comb last weekend. Anyway, sometime during the week I noticed the comb, and that he was much bigger than the other birds in the tractor.  I also noticed his attempts at crowing in the morning.  That was a problem.  I was ready to take care of him after work, but my wife said that he was fine during the day and that I could wait.
No comb means she gets to stick around for another week or two.
I shouldn't have been surprised that I had another male.  I ordered a straight run.  So the odds are that half would be male and half female.  With 11 birds, 5 males is just what I should expect.

I set up the garage like before and moved him from the yard to the garage in a box.  Then I let the rest of the birds into the yard.  Until now I've only been letting them out for a few hours in the evening.  They got to spend the entire day in the yard today.  The layers didn't even have a problem with them.  The broilers pretty much stayed right around their tractor while the layers meandered around the entire yard. 
Processing the bird went fine.  I did change one thing this time though.  The previous birds went into zip top bags.  That was OK, but it's not a great for long term storage.  I guess freezer burn can be a problem.  The solution?  I found heat shrink bags.  (Actually, I didn't even know freezer burn was a problem until I found this site.)
4 lbs. 8.8 oz.  The biggest so far.
The heat shrink bags are so easy to use.  You put the bird in and twist the top shut.  Then you use a zip tie to keep it shut.  You have to poke a small home somewhere in the bag for air to escape.  Then you dunk the thing in a pot of boiling water for a few seconds.  That's it!  The plastic shrinks and seals the bird up real nice.

I thought that since I had the water boiling anyway, that I might as well re-bag the birds from last weekend. 
I don't think these bags were meant to be used on frozen birds.  The bag shrunk, but it wasn't able to squeeze tight to the bird.  So the hole got real big. 
My solution?  Put it in another bag and double it up.
I ended up double bagging all of the frozen birds.

The shrink bag worked a lot better on the fresh bird.  It turned out great.
The bag shrunk and squeezed it tight.
Here it is from another angle.
Two of the frozen birds double bagged and ready to go back in the freezer.
I'm real pleased with the heat shrink bags.  They were $15 for 25 of them and they got cheaper if you ordered more.  I'll be using them when I process the rest of my birds.

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