Ok, so this post is NOT for the squeamish – so STOP here if you’re easily grossed out.
Turns out we ended up with two very hormonal roosters who were driving our hens crazy. Poor hens had started hiding out all day in the goat barn or staying up on the roost long after daylight just so they could get some rest. One, Ginger, had lost all her feathers in the back of her head to these two, so one of them had to go…and soon.
Rocky, our intended rooster and the one you see up in the header, was not going to be the sacrifice…it would be Bob (previously known as Babs). After Barry asked around to see if anyone at work wanted him but to no avail, we decided against putting him on Craigslist just to be slaughtered by someone else and agreed to just take care of the business ourselves. We’ve talked about the possibility of getting meat birds sometime in the future (possibly next year), so this learning experience was definitely needed. After all, this is how the circle of life works, right? I would much rather be eating a free-range chicken that I know has not been shot up with antibiotics and hormones than to let someone else have him and buy one from the store…so, it was settled.
Last night, we watched every youtube video we could find on the subject until we ended up on the weird side of youtube (ever been there?)…then we figured we had seen enough.
This morning before the chickens came out of the coop, I got everything set up while Barry caught the poor little guy. I really started getting a little sad when he brought him out looking all handsome and clueless.
Then, we hung him upside down from the clothes line…it’s kinda funny how they just hang there, really still…again, clueless.
We decided if Barry caught him, killed him, and made certain he was dead, I would do the gross part and pluck and clean him. Barry slit the side of his throat to let him bleed out.
And he just hung there, really still…and bled a lot. After a while, and he hadn’t wiggled at all, I figured he must have just gone peacefully. I looked, and nope…he was still looking around. It was the weirdest thing ever. So, we decided Barry should finish him off by cutting his head off…not so sure that was the best idea.
He flailed around like…well…like a chicken with his head cut off…for what seemed like an eternity (really it was about 30 seconds, but blood went everywhere…it looked like a massacre).
In the meantime, this is what was going on in the background (again, the circle of life) – Scout earning her keep as a barn cat:
Then, I held him by his feet and dipped him in a pot of scalding, 170 degree water for about 30 seconds and then hung him back up. I was amazed how easily the feathers came off. For the most part, all it took was wiping them off…except the wing feathers, but they pulled out really easily.
I took him over to the table, washed him, and used a torch to burn off the remaining hairs. I carefully cut off the neck and the butt, and cleaned him out.
I cut off the feet…look at how big those suckers were!
Now, most people use the organs, the neck, and the feet for making stock, but I’m just not yet ready for that. I’m sure I will in the future, but this was all about getting up the nerve to even do this task and actually getting it completed. So, I’m not ashamed at all that I didn’t use every part I could.
I finished cleaning it up, put it in a zipper bag, and weighed it. Surprisingly, it weighed in at 3 1/4 lbs. I asked Barry what I should do with it, and we came to the conclusion that we should put it in the freezer and let the memory die before cooking it.
So, there ya have it…our first meat harvest on the homestead…what a sense of accomplishment!
We are also thankful for the Lord’s provision of this bird and the learning experience it provided.
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”