Slaughtering Chickens II

Is minic an fh?rinne searbh.
You cannot plow a field simply by turning it over in your mind.

Irish Proverbs

We slaughtered chickens this Sunday. It was a family affair. For a description of our homemade chicken slaughtering assembly-line please read Slaughtering Chickens. Shaen did triple work on the killing cones, scalding area, and plucker. For more information about our homemade plucker please read Whizbang Chicken Plucker. Erika was next in line, doing a clean-up of the pin feathers not removed by the chicken plucker. I worked at the gutting and cleaning table. Sonja found her niche as “quality control”. She would carefully look over each carcass and remove any feathers or organ bits that were remaining. She would sometimes “reject” a carcass and send it back for further work!

This was the first time the girls helped with slaughtering. Normally, they have stayed clear of the “killing floor” but the adults really needed their help. Even though Shaen was working three stations of the assembly-line, I was the bottle-neck. This was the first time I have gutted and cleaned carcasses, so I was on a steep learning curve. Shaen showed me the basic technique but gutting a bird is something only experience can really teach.

Normally, we would have wrapped the carcasses right away, but being short staffed, we left the finished carcasses in chilled water until near the end. Shaen took a break from the killing cones and starting wrapping and freezing.

We finished thirty chickens in four hours. This included assembly-line set-up, chicken catching, and clean-up. I was tired, stiff and sore by the end. I was covered in scratches from the raspberry plants after my foot race with the chickens. I don’t think we will be keeping the boilers in the raspberry patch in the future. The raspberries seem to have enough fertilizer, if the jungle-like growth is any indication. In the past, we have composted the offal from the chickens. This year, the chicken heads, feet, lungs, and digestive tracks became a feast for our two hogs. Shaen couldn’t believe how fast they ate the offal. Meadows, our cat, licked her lips after receiving her share of warm, raw liver.

By the end of the day, the girls sat down to their dinner with appetite. Both girls had a great sense of satisfaction at helping with an “adult job”. This winter, having “chicken dinner” will have a new meaning for the girls.

There’s nothing like biting off more than you can chew, and then chewing anyway.
Mark Burnett