I found some reasonably priced (aka cheap, although not quite free) laying hens on Craigs last week, so I brought home 10 to increase my egg production. I’ve only got 4 chantecler hens and 2 banty hens, and only two (possibly 3?) of the Chanteclers are laying anything for me so far. I also have reason to believe some of these new girls will be broody hens to hatch eggs for me next spring since some have done it before. They’re all black, some are a bit smaller, likely a banty cross with a standard size chicken. The only black chickens I know the name of are black Australorps, Jersey giants, and black broilers- I definitely don’t have giants or broilers. I don’t know what these chickens are, so any guesses are welcome! These girls just stopped laying so I won’t be getting any eggs until probably after the new year, but I guess I can be patient. Eggs are pricy at the store right now! Here’s one of the new girls:
Since I brought home more chickens, John reminded me that I REALLY need to get rid of a few roosters now. Last week he stopped in at the Amish place we’ve heard about that will butcher for a reasonable price. They told him I should bring them Monday (yesterday).
I brought four- three Chanteclers and a banty Ameraucana. One had too large of a comb, one had crooked legs, one was not nice to my kiddos, and one (the banty) was leaning that way. (If he’d been a nice rooster, he would’ve stayed and the other banty would’ve been processed because he has the wrong comb type, although better color.) I still really have one too many Chanty roosters, but I’d like to grow three out a little further and see how they develop before I narrow it down to two. I neglected to take a picture of the actual chickens I took, so here’s a picture of some I have left. The first picture is a Chantecler hen, rooster, and the remaining banty rooster behind. The second picture is a rooster and a hen (another hen behind). They’re about 6 months old.
The weather was horrible (pelting rain and a thunderstorm), but they fortunately do most of the processing inside. I waited for the school children to get home, since they were the ones who were to butcher the roos for me. I wanted to learn how, so they let me help. Two little boys took them out to the cones at the fence and dispatched them. They let me hold the feet until the worst of the twitching was over. Fortunately, there was a clearing in the rain and we didn’t get drenched outside!
An older sister was overseeing the project in the basement. There the roos were dunked in a pail of boiled water (with soap added) for 15-30 seconds until the feathers would come off easily. (The sister said they usually use soda in the water instead, but soap works, too. It’s supposed to help the feathers come out more easily.) We plucked on a table- WAY easier than I had imagined it would be. And I didn’t notice any particularly strong or nasty smell, either. Then we cleaned the birds off in a pan of water and took legs off at the knee joint. Last was gutting. I did the last one, and definitely took longer and made a bigger mess (yup- I busted a gut) and I missed the lungs. I still have to find them… they offered to get them out for me, but I’d like to see them when I cut the chicken apart, so I can find them in the future. Once the cut was made in the bottom and the fat from that area removed, It wasn’t much worse than having to get that little baggie of giblets out of the frozen turkey.
They told me I didn’t have to pay full price since I helped a lot. But they were very helpful in teaching me/answering my questions, so I felt that more than worth a couple of dollars. (Sorry no pics of processing. Besides having my hands yucky, the amish don’t do photos).
So here’s the end product. They’re for sure not CornishX, but a 6 month old dual purpose bird. (Sorry, the pics are a bit odd- they’re sitting on the canner lid on the basement floor- that’s where the extra fridge is. And necks are still attached since the amish family had broken the knife they use to cut off the necks.) I’ll try to weigh them sometime and add that here for reference. ETA: Weights of my roos without giblets/feet, but with necks. The banty was 1lb 12 oz, Chanteclers were 5lb 2 oz, 5lb 3 1/2 oz, and 4 lb. The 4 lb was the roo with the crooked legs that got picked on. They were all a few days shy of 30 weeks old.
Based on that experience, I would have no hesitations in doing one myself. I don’t know that I’d want to do a bunch (unless I had help), and I still wouldn’t be crazy about the dispatching part, but I think I could do it.
What did you do yesterday?