Friday, June 6, 2014

Backyard Broilers -- Round 2: Week 9

The first batch of birds went in the freezer last Saturday. 
The broilers are enjoying some time in the yard.
I used the same setup that I used last year.  I used a cone over a bucket for dispatching the birds. 
Then I scalded them in hot water that I kept between 140-150*.  I bought a two burner hot plate to keep the water at the right temperature. 
Plucking the feathers is still the most time consuming part of the process.  I didn't time how long it took each bird, but I time one at 42 minutes.  

After the birds were plucked and gutted they went into a cooler of ice water. 
I processed 6 of my birds and a buddy brought 7 of his birds.  It took us about 8.5 hours to process all 13 birds.  It was a long day.

The remaining birds have a lot more room around the feeder now.

On Monday night I went out to check on the birds.  I found one sitting 10 ft. away from their tractor.  So I picked it up and put it inside.  When I let them out Tuesday morning that bird didn't move.  Then I noticed feathers everywhere.  The other birds must have been picking on her.
She appeared to be lame.  I don't know what was wrong, but she wouldn't walk or even stand.  I took her out of the tractor, sat the waterer in front of her and left for work.
When I got home that night I found her about 4 ft from where I had left her.  She still wouldn't stand or walk.  Otherwise she seemed fine.  I picked her and examined her.  He legs looked fine.  They didn't appear to be broken.  I really don't know what was wrong.

Rather than see her suffer I decided to put her in the freezer.  During the process I found something that I don't remember seeing before.  It was a clear-ish jelly like sack.  It looked like the beginning of an egg.  I thought it took 20 weeks or so before a chicken will lay.  Although I don't know for certain that it actually was an egg...
I've been impressed with the size of these birds.  The smallest one was 4 lbs. 5 oz and the biggest was 4 lbs. 15 oz.  The rest were right around 4.5 lbs.

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