Friday, August 2, 2013

Backyard Broilers -- Final Graduation: Round 1

The last of the birds are 11 weeks old now.  They've reach maturity so it's time to put them in the freezer.  I took care of two tonight and plan on taking care of the other three tomorrow.

It's getting harder with these last few.  I'm getting attached.  They've been wandering the yard and getting along with the layers great.  The ducks have moved into the tractor with them at night and today they even found the coop.  It was the first time they've ventured into that corner of the yard.
After dinner I set up the garage and put a pot of water on to boil.  Then I went out and grabbed a bird.  The first few ran away from me, so I had to get the one that was laying down minding her own business.  That didn't help me feel better about what I had to do next. 

The processing went really well.  I guess it's all of the practice that I've had.  In the past I've averaged about an hour per bird.  Tonight I was able to get two birds done in less than 90 minutes.  I did one thing differently and I think it helped a lot.  I used a much larger pot of water to scald the birds before plucking them.  The greater volume of water meant that it didn't cool down as fast.  That made the plucking go so much faster. 

The first bird was huge!  It was 5 lb. 0.1 oz.  I didn't know chickens got that big.  Seeing this made me feel a lot less bad about putting them in the freezer. 
It also made it easier to get the next bird.  She ran and made me put forth some effort to catch her.
She ended up being a healthy 4 lb. 1.3 oz.  It makes me wonder how big the next 3 are going to be.

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