This is our set up for butchering 24 cornish cross chickens last weekend. We set up most of the supplies the night before with some last minute things day of. The process took us most of the day from catching chickens down to packaging them all in the freezer. This being the second time we did this, we are getting quicker and finding ways to stream line the process.
The process of butchering a chicken starts with killing the chicken, dunking it in scalding water, removing feathers, removing the innards, putting them in an ice bath and then vacuum sealing them for storage. We found out from our last experience that chicken plucking was by far the most time consuming process so we decided to invest in a chicken plucker. They are not the cheapest thing to purchase but after seeing the efficiency of the plucker it was worth its weight in gold. It enable us to cut our process down by half!
We are happy to say, after raising our cornish crosses for 9 weeks and one long day of butchering we were able to put 132 pounds of chicken in our freezer! Our last breed of rhode island reds were on the small side but we were happy to see our cornish cross average weight was 5lbs per bird.
Some might think we are crazy or gross but I like to think of it as stepping out and saying no to current practices of the poultry industry. Our chickens were on organic feed, outside on grass and did not require antibiotics in their feed. Butchering chickens ourselves gave us the opportunity to inspect each chicken thoroughly and with our sanitary practices our chickens did not need a chlorinated bath before being packaged. The practice of washing a chicken in chlorinated water has actually been banned in European countries. With all the health care issues going on in the U.S. we are hoping to make a small difference with our health by eliminating a few chemicals from our diet.
We have one more round of butchering to go with our red ranger chickens at the end of October and then meat chickens will be on hold till next year. I am ready for winter and some much needed rest!