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Thread: Processing chickens

  1. #1
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    Default Processing chickens

    I thought I would pass on a tip about a cheap way to acquire chickens and process them for delicious meals.
    My SIL has made a connection with a egg farmer, who sells us surplus roosters and hens that are no longer productive as layers. We buy them live and slaughter them and then process and can the meat and stock.
    We use a turkey fryer to dip the slaughtered birds in boiling water to loosen the feathers. After a rough stripping of the loose feathers, we use a mechanical plucker to remove the remaining feathers. (Duck Naked Plucker from Cabela's). The birds are then gutted and placed in ice water to chill. I save the hearts, livers and gizzards(my SIL will not eat them!) After chilling we cut up the birds and seperate by parts. I get the backs and some legs, he takes the breasts and thighs and remaining drumsticks. We then put the parts in an electric roaster with spices, carots, celery and onion and simmer for 10 to 12 hours.(We each have an electric roaster). The chicken and bones are then removed and the meat seperated from the bones and the meat pressure canned. The stock is then strained and also pressure canned. Last sunday we processed fifteen chickens for which we paid $28. This produced 36 quarts of chicken stock, 22 pints of canned chicken and about a quart combined of cooked livers, hearts and gizzards. It took five roaster fulls to process all this chicken. A pretty good return for a $28 out lay and some hard work.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Solar Geek's Avatar
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    This is very helpful to making decisions on having chickens, whether then to try to process ourselves (can't afford a Featherman at $1000).
    But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

  3. #3
    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have a good set up and supply.
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  4. #4
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    You don't really need a mechanical plucker. We formerly did the plucking by hand or used the wax method. I origionally bought the mechanical plucker when I was really into duck and goose hunting. We do lend out the plucker for others to use, too.

  5. #5

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    uh, if you're just boiling them, why bother with plucking.
    Just skin them...
    That's what we did with old layer hens...

  6. #6
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    Because when making stock, there is so much flavor and fat that comes from the skin when simmered.

  7. #7

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    Thanks all of the people that did this for us as kids have past..and now I am educating my kids for now me and the girls are doing it by hand and using free range chicken that we raize our own... I never thought to ask the chicken farm down the road to just sell me the culls

  8. #8

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    I was blessed - taught as a child how to process fowl when my parents scored some chickens from the Ag Research facility near us (they were testing different chicken feeds) after their test was over. Those birds were educational two ways - how to process, and how to cook those tough old biddies (they were OLD birds). The flavor, however, of older fowl is far superior to those young tender birds. I'll have to scout out the closest egg producer.....canning tenderizes tough old birds just fine. Thanks for the memories!

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