food, history, rural life, and how we connect our cultural past and future
Butchering chickens at home using a steel cone
Today Kip and I butchered the first ten of this season’s 120 chickens. At 4 weeks and 4 days these Harvest Whites from S & G Hatchery in Alabama have been fast gainers – the dressed birds weigh on average 2 and a 1/2 pounds each!
Folks often mention to me a child hood experience of watching or participating in the neck wringing / chopping block style of chicken butchering. I have always been horrified at that style of dispatching a bird! Yikes! Luckily all those thirty plus years ago we helped our South Dakota neighbors, Wayne and Carol Parsley, and learned their technique. Gallon milk jugs with the bottom cut out and nailed to the barn wall works great especially if you have 25/50/a hundred birds to do in a day. With a family of ten children they needed to get the job done!
As you can see in the picture we started with the old method when we returned to raising our own meat birds again. But plastic degrades in the heat of the Virginia summer and are not quite big enough for the big breed birds we have been raising. Kip constructed the galvanized steel cones and they are great.
So that’s how we do it. We’re thinking of building a chicken plucker . . . . . . . . . . .
Here is our granddaughter a few years ago lending a helping hand on butchering day.
But for today all is cleaned up and waiting till next week’s session and in the mean time I’m making stock from the chicken feet;