For instructions on processing your birds, check out my post How to Butcher a Chicken.
A Helping Hand
My husband, son, and I live 600 miles from my parents. We visit them in New York every summer and they visit us in Illinois at least once a year, now that they are retired. It’s not the same as living next door, but I take whatever I can get.
Normally I butcher chickens, ducks, and turkeys on my own. It’s a lot of work, but I manage. This latest flock of meat chickens was ready to butcher right in the middle of a visit from my parents. How convenient! (for me, anyway.) So my Dad put on his work clothes and barn boots, grabbed a knife, and helped me process the birds.
Dad and I butchered 8 chickens on Saturday and my Mom manned the vacuum sealer. I used a hatchet that my Dad gave me to do the dirty work. Dad did almost all of the scalding and plucking, while I did most of the gutting. The birds were cleaned up and in the freezer pronto. From start to finish, it probably took about 4 hours. We finished the last 7 chickens on Tuesday…for a total of 15 hefty roasters ready for the winter.
Each chicken weighs approximately 5 to 6 pounds and cost about $12 to raise. Not the cheapest way to provide meat for our family, but I know what they ate and how they were raised. These chickens had the best life I could provide and they died as quickly and with the least amount of stress possible. They went from pen to chopping block to freezer in a short period of time with no arsenic in the feed, no chilling in a soup of e coli, and no chance of scalding while still alive and aware. I feel pretty darn good about that and I don’t mind paying a little bit more for home raised meat.