Thursday, August 21, 2008

Chicken Processing Day (in the rain)

OK, be forewarned, if you don't want to know where your food comes from, DON'T READ THIS POST. No, I won't post any truly graphic photos, but there are some pictures in here of Larry and I in mid process of chicken day.

If you are OK with knowing where your food comes from - PROCEED!

OK, so chicken processing day is looming near. These birdies are happily living in their crates, pooping on our pasture, and their destiny is coming and can't be stopped. A reminder to everyone who now wants to come to our farm and set them free (you can't, but you can eat one!) These birds are cross bred to grow fast and be tasty. In the process of messing with nature, we now have a chicken breed that can't live much past 3 or 4 months. They become so large that they get crippled. We put them out of their misery (and into our tummies) before we let that happen. So if seeing pictures of happy birdies makes you want to be vegetarian -you have that right. If you do eat meat, remember, the birdies you buy at the store don't get to live like ours do. They don't get to see sunshine and grass, and they don't have someone like me kissing them all goodbye at the end of their days.

Our favorite piece of equipment that was worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY. THe Featherman Plucker. Instead of painstakingly pulling every feather by hand (which I have done on dozens of birds) I can now put 4 or 5 in this little spinny washtub and they come out almost perfect every time. These guys really look like rubber chickens, don't they?

It was POURING rain all day saturday. I still don't know how I had the stamina to keep it up all day. But we finished all the broilers and 2 of our roosters. This is Larry and I working hard, getting along, and getting the birdies ready for market. Larry does the knife work, I make sure all the feathers are gone, and sometimes have to use my smaller hands on smaller sized birds. The man behind the camera is Larry's Dad. He spent the entire day with us, and helped scald, pluck and assist with the processing in any way he could. It was a great help.

Every now and again, when we order egg layers, we don't get all females. We sometimes get a small percentage of roosters. We can't keep them. They are males, and have one thing on their minds. Because of this, they are constantly harassing our hens. They make a heck of a noise crowing all the time. But really, they bother the hens a LOT. So when we break out the equipment to process broilers, we must say goodbye to our roosters, too. They were difficult to catch. But while Larry was roaming about trying to shoot them with a BB gun, I managed to catch 2 of the 3. This one made the mistake of wandering into the chicken house. I had him cornered. I made the mistake of following him in there, when the floor of the house was covered in poop and mud from a full weekend of rain. I got him in a corner, he flapped his wings and covered me with poop-mud. Score one for both of us, but Larry's knife prevailed and he is with us no more. Well, that's not true - he's in the freezer and I am looking forward to Larry making him into dinner. SOON!