Monday, November 9, 2015

Feathering our nest?... freezer?...

This weekend it became clear that it was time for the girls to... go.  

Nightly temps were freezing their water, so I pulled Steve into the garden for a pow wow.  They would need insulation put in the coop windows and door. They would need their winter heated water fount put into the coop.  He would need to run a very long extension cord (several really) to power the heated water fount.

How about we finally learn to butcher them? 

He decided I was right and we set this last weekend for the deed.  Now, Steve had really been dreading this.  He came from a long line of farmers, but his folks were the 1st to stop farming in that line and get different jobs.  This left him with no direct link to the processing of meat.  I've had none either, but I knew we could manage to get this done correctly.  

This line of thinking still didn't keep him from having a horrible time sleeping Friday night.  Truth be told, I had an unusual dream about just that topic, too, but it didn't change my mind.  Many of you out there have probably been processing your own food for years, but this was our 1st time and scary.

We found 2 videos on YouTube and studied them.  We liked our own method for dispatching them more, but the cleaning methods offered a good idea of what to do.  Not feeding the girls for 12 hours was something we didn't think of, but which made perfect sense.  

We set up a station in the garden so we could lock Ziva out. A propane stove kept the water hot enough to remove feathers.  A table to process on and buckets for waste and water.  The wagon held a container of cold water to keep them in until we headed to the house.

I won't put graphic pictures on the blog. Let's just say that we did well on our 1st bird until we got to the feather removal. It's not that they don't come off easily. It's that if you're doing it by hand it is hard to hold a wet bird over a bucket, pull off feathers and not have your arms go numb.  It didn't help things that it was only 48 degrees in the garden while we were attempting this.

After one bird, Steve decided to make a tripod to hold the bird for us.  

Since the feathers were going into the compost pile anyway, he put the tripod into the compost barrel.  This saved wear and tear on our arms and the next 3 birds went amazingly well.

Cleaning the birds was another adventure.  Watching videos and then trying it was harder than we anticipated.  I wished my mom had been here to offer advice.  I do think that with each bird we did get somewhat better.  I stabbed Steve's finger accidentally while working with him, so I must get better there. We've since decided that boning shears and kitchen scissors work much better than a knife in several of the stages.

We weren't freaked out by this job.  We even talked a little about raising our own birds for healthier meat.  We'll probably need to talk more, and at length, before deciding if we can do this on a regular basis.  

These girls had to go because they were egg eaters and couldn't be dissuaded from it.  I'm hoping that the next set of chickens do not go down the same path. I'll definitely want eggs in the future.  

Becoming meat raisers...well, that's another thing to contemplate...

“I have not received, nor expect to receive, any compensation for items mentioned in the blog that I like, or may suggest to the viewers.  The items are just something that works/worked for me.  The Irish Lady.”

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