Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chicken Harvesting

Today we processed all our hens, and our one remaining rooster. We figured, we got these chickens for free (on Freecycle), and have spent a fortune on Organic, Corn-free, Soy-free Feed, and have received less than a dozen eggs from the Lovely Ladies in the last two months. We figured they've probably passed their prime, and won't likely pick up production that much once the weather warms up. Buuuuut, since we know they are healthy...why not make dinners out of them?!?!

So we did just that. This was the third or fourth time in the last two months that we've processed chickens. People kept giving us their homegrown/ free-range roosters, which we gladly received. Needless to say, we've got the process down to a science.

The Hot Contractor and The Princess did all the outside work, while I did all the inside work (and took care of The Brothers).

Here's The Princess, helping Dad

She'd help catch them. A few got out of the coop. Those ones were captured with the .22 riffle.

Once they caught them, The Hot Contractor would cut off their heads. The Princess would assist him with the scissors, etc.

This is where he'd remove their innards and de-feather them.

He dipped them in our big canning crock with hot water (on our camping stove) to remove the feathers.

Then he'd bring them in the house to me.

I'd dump them in the sink, wash and separate livers, hearts, necks, and feet. Then I'd wash the birds, and put one bird in a Ziplock, with one neck and two feet (to be used to make bone broth after we eat the chicken).

Then Little Brother helped me spread out the hearts and livers on a cookie sheet, and we stuck them in the freezer. We're going to be cutting them up into pill-size pieces, and taking them daily. Liver (from a healthy, pastured animal) is probably THE most amazingly healthful food one can consume. We want those benefits, and since our liver pills are gone, we need to replenish our supply.

I haven't get decided what I'm going to do with the chicken hearts yet. We may cook them in the crock pot with some BBQ sauce. I've never eaten chicken hearts, but I know they're good for us, and I hate wasting things, so I'm sure we'll find something to do with them!

Here's a pic of Little Brother. He was too cold to be outside for long, but he loved watching the action (especially the .22 action!) from the window.

It was a good, productive day. And now we have twelve more chickens in our freezer. Between the chickens and the deer, we won't need to buy meat! 

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