First off I am going to say that I am no expert, as you will find out! I had 6 extra roosters that needed to go. My husband picked up a fifty pound bag of grower feed and I decided that when that bag was finished it was time for them to be taken care of.
I can honestly say the bag went way to fast! But the day came and it was time. My husband had to work that day and offered to help me with the butchering. I declined. It was time I put on my big girl pants as some would say and do it on my own.
First thing early in the morning I went to the coop and took out the roosters and put them in a big dog cage I have. Much easier to get them out of there versus the coop.
The night before I had looked up various ways of butchering. Most are the same except one, which I thought interesting. The young women had a very kind and humane way of butchering and I liked it. So I thought I would give it a try. She placed the chicken in her lap and wrapped her apron tightly around the chicken and held it in with her knees. She then stroked the chicken’s head and could feel the chicken calm right down. When she felt the chicken calm down she slit the throat by the jugular. The chicken still calm bled out. She then just twisted the neck and it broke. That was all I saw.
I decided I would go this route. So got everything ready.
- cleaned my table
- made sure knife sharp
- paper towels, 2 buckets one for cleaning and one with ice and apple cider vinegar (with the mother) for killing any bacteria.
- bucket for waste
I then put on my apron and reached in the cage and pulled out my first rooster. I kept saying I can do this! I knew I would but my heart racing just the same. I don’t mind cleaning or doing anything when somethings dead. But killing , that’s a different story.
I was raised with chickens and other animals so none of this was new to me. Except that It was me doing the hard part. Any way, rooster in hand I sat down and put the chicken between my legs and wrapped him in my apron, just like the lady did, and held him tightly until he calmed down. I took a deep breath and cut his throat. I sat there for a few minutes while he bled out and snapped his neck. Okay I thought this is going okay. I then cut his head off. This is where the fun begins…………
This is the part I didn’t watch! If you’ve ever butchered or saw one done with an axe you know what happens next. I should have known but thought maybe this would be different or the struggle wouldn’t be so great. WRONG! Well he with out his head jumped from my apron and right into the bucket with all the blood! I held him in there so he wouldn’t take off.
Heart pounding I thought okay this isn’t going to work. Roosters are stronger even when dead! and their feet more dangerous. Sigh… So I decided to go the axe route.
I won’t go into detail with that as it is not different from others, except I put a bungee cord around the log to hold the chicken tight. With 3 done only three more to go. I reached in for my fourth and I think they knew what was coming as one flew out right out from under my arm. That left two. I can honestly say that was okay.
The hardest one to dispatch was a big ole rooster that I was fond of . He had to go though as he was to big for my female chickens. The deeds were done. They all laid on the table and now on to the next process.
Sorry for all the graphic details but this is real life folks on a farm.
Now on to the next steps
- remove feet and wings
- remove feathers with the skin
I remove the outer skin as I can the meat so don’t want the skin on. When the skin is almost off but the bottom part I cut into the cavity gently to open it up. I want everything to remain intact. I cut around the vent and pull out all the innards in one fell swoop and it all goes together in the bucket. When this is done I move on to cleaning the chicken good, in the just water bucket, before it goes into the ice water with acv.
Now that all five are done and in the avc ice water I clean up the area. We have fire ants here and its not long before they are swarming around. I clean the axe, dog crate , bucket and rake the ground around where feathers and other things have fallen. I also go and bury the chicken wings feathers and innards.
With a sigh I move on inside to prepare for canning. My jars are ready , canner ready, I start cutting up the chickens. Meat from legs go in one jar and breasts go in another. Not a lot of meat on these birds so only end up with 7 pints. This is okay with me as it is a provision from God. I put one tsp of Himalayan sea salt in each pint.
I should mention the feet. I sent down the feet to my neighbor as she make a great healthy broth out of them.
Once the chicken is in the jars they go into the canner and I start the process of pressure canning. I wait until the steam is coming out of the vent pipe and time ten minutes. When that is done I put on the pressure regulator to 15 pounds. I usually do about 13 pounds per pressure. It takes seventy-five minutes to can pints. I only have one canner load so I now move on to my largest stock pot and it is full of bones that still have a fair amount of chicken on them. My favorite part of canning chicken is the broth. Winter is coming and soup is always a welcome dish.
This is really the longest and yet easiest step. I let the broth cook for at least 12 to 16 hrs. I want to get all the goodness out of the bones and make sure the meat falls off easy. After this is done its just removing the bones from the pot and putting the broth and chicken in quart jars. I end up with eight jars. Yum! It is the same process as the pints except the duration is different after the timed ten minutes of the vent pipe. The book says at 10 pounds per pressure you cook for 25 minutes for quarts and 20 for pints. But I did 75 because I had meat in it as well, not much but I won’t take chances.
A bit of drama at the beginning but it ended well and I think I am a stronger person for just digging in and getting it done. You might say don’t be a wimp. I was. I hope you at least get a chuckle out of my shenanigans and learn something as well. Many times I asked the Lord to help me and He did. Very thankful. Lord willing next time wont be so heart pounding. 🙂
Blessings to You and Yours.