Yes, it is chicken processing day. All of Shawn’s chicken dispatch equipment has arrived from around the world (Texas and China), and he has consumed every homesteading chicken video YouTube has to offer. Some of the Frankenchicks have gorged themselves to optimum plumpness, and today the number came up for seven unlucky fatties.
The setup consists of a pen for the chickens, two cones to hang the birds to “drip,” a chicken plucker, a pot of water for scalding prior to plucking, a table for evisceration, a water bath, and an ice bath for cooling.
I thought I was ready for this, but it turns out I wasn’t. The first chicken did not go as smoothly as planned, and I was done after that. Shawn figured it out, and the rest were OK, but I had lost the nerve for it.
The chicken is placed into the cone head first. Needless to say, they did not think that was a great idea and did not willingly put their head down. For chickens that are supposedly dead, they move around too much for my liking. I will spare you the bloody details and move on to the next steps.
The chicken is scalded in hot water for a minute to loosen the feathers, and then it is into the plucker. Shawn found this plucker on the Internet. One of the vlogs he follows sells an expensive plucker, which is the same plucker Shawn ordered directly from China for a lot less. The scalded bird is placed in the spinning bucket, and rubber tipped fingers take off the feathers in seconds while Shawn sprays in water. It is rather amazing. I’m sure my grandmother would have liked a plucker.
Next step: evisceration, but I’ll let Shawn make a video about that. After the chickens were cleaned, cooled and dried, we put them in special poultry shrinkwrap bags (from Texas). We put the chicken in the bag, put a straw in, attached a zip tie, and then dipped the bag in boiling water for 5 seconds. As the bag cools, it shrinks around the bird and the air comes out the straw.
We have four whole chickens ready for the freezer. I will cut the remaining three chickens into parts before freezing. The remaining Frankenchicks will be processed next week after gaining a bit more weight.
Guess what’s for dinner tonight? Not chicken.
Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer Video – they just don’t make music videos like that anymore.
So where do the feathers go? Are you going to make pillows?
I can remember my dad killing a few chickens in the backyard when I was 9 or so. That headless thing flopped all over the backyard! I have no memory of it if we ate it or not.
The feathers come out the side of the plucker, and we had a box set up to catch them. They looked kind of nasty, so no pillows.