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Oct 14 / Michael

Butchering Chickens

A couple weekends ago, we got together with two other families to process close to 100 chickens (about 25 were our own). One of the other families had a “kill cone” setup, which holds the chickens in place while being killed, and had procured a mechanical plucker. We supplied a scalder setup, which was a galvanized trashcan on a turkey fryer burner.

Chicken Butchering

The first step is to actually bring the chickens over. Here, M and I bring over a batch of about a dozen chickens.

Chicken Butchering

Big J got some hands-on experience killing the chickens.

Chicken Butchering

The chickens were scalded and then transferred to the plucker. We’ve never used a plucker before, but it worked so well we are sure it’s a must-have next time we butcher a set of poultry.

Chicken Butchering

Almost supermarket ready!

Chicken Butchering

After plucking, the next stop was the eviscerating table. A team of 2-3 adults were gutting and trimming the birds.

Chicken Butchering

Big J holding a nearly finished chicken (it still needs to be rinsed and chilled).

Chicken Butchering

This is probably a few more chicken feet than we’d ordinarily have use for.

Chicken Butchering

And here are our finished chickens chilling in the ice water.

Chicken Butchering

We really weren’t sure how this would go, but it went wonderfully. We ended up processing about 25 birds/hour and had a great time together. The weather was definitely in our favor, too, it was a beautiful fall day in New England.

If you were going to do this, it really takes about 6 adults working the chickens and 2 adults on support staff, watching kids and getting meals ready. What would really be an easy day of work would be to have everything set up and have people going by 10 AM (have brunch out, snacks), work for 3 solid hours and you could get 60-75 chickens done. Stop at 1 PM or so, clean up and have a big lunch. A rockin’ playlist doesn’t hurt, either (thanks Jamie and your Facebrook friends!)

The best reward was the roasted chicken the next day. Delicious!

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