We're in the process of killing our chickens and getting them into the freezer. They are all a good size now, ranging from 7 to 10 lbs. The hens are quite a bit smaller than the roosters, and I think we'll not bother with hens next year.
Daniel and Tiana catch a chicken, then Christopher ties a baler twine around it's neck. Jared holds the chicken on the chopping block while Critter keeps tension on the line. Daniel does the dirty deed, then Critter puts the head into the bin while Jared gags and says, "I'm not doing this anymore." (But he does.)
Daniel ties the chicken carcass up by the legs and after it has hung for a bit, Linda, Elena and I start skinning. First, we cut off the wing tip, which is practically useless anyway. We cut into the skin by the leg, then cut around the entire chicken. It doesn't take much pulling to get the skin loose, so we do that, pulling the skin down to the neck area, then yanking hard to get it off the wings. There's a bit of cutting involved, trimming the membranes to loosen the skin. We pull out all of the offal from the neck end, then cut the bird's legs off at the knees.
We carry the bird to our table and continue loosening the skin around both legs. Flipping it over reveals the back, and it's one fluid motion to pull the skin down the back, over the tail and off. Now the bird is naked and needs to be gutted.
We cut in at the front, below the bone, and enlarge the opening enough to get a hand in there. The guts are pulled out, with care not to disturb the green thing full of bile. We keep the liver for the dogs, and fish for the heart, which the dogs will get, too. The lungs have to be coaxed off the side of the bird's chest wall, and the stomach has to be yanked hard to get it out. A quick check, then off the bird is carried to have a bath.
Cold running water is enough to cool the bird completely, and it's insides are washed well before it is put in the bag for the freezer. Christopher is the water boy, and turns the tap on and off when it's needed.
We now have 36 birds in our freezer, minus the four we have eaten. So, there are about 60 left to do. Sigh.
It's a lot of work, but the meat is great, and it's nice to have it all in the freezer, ready to go. But I will be SO VERY GLAD when it's all done.
Weekend A La Carte (March 24)
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