The Chicken Harvest

We have just finished our third day of harvesting meat chickens. Harvesting. That’s a pleasant way to phrase it, isn’t it? We’ve got 37 out of 49 chickens in freezer camp – about 12 birds a day.

A reluctant chicken farmer, this is my second year getting up close and personnel with my food. This years’ experience was different in a number of ways.

We raised Freedom Rangers instead of Cornish X Rocks. The Freedom Rangers turned out to be beautiful birds with natural chicken instincts, unlike last year’s prehistoric-looking eating machines. The trip to freezer camp was not always as smooth one. Paul had a number of escapees. One reluctant chicken disappeared from the killing cone after being dispatched. The latent reflexes carried it off and Paul finally found it thirty feet away in the woods. This hen escaped on the way to the killing cone. She’s still at large.

Freedom Ranger at Large

Hannah and I played chicken catcher. We chased down chickens and placed them in this holding pen to await Paul’s attention. A couple of times chickens flew the coop when we opened the lid so we had to catch the same chicken more than once.

chicken holding pen

Paul built a WhizBang Chicken Plucker (seriously – that’s what it’s called), relieving me from chicken plucking duty. When I consented to raising meat chickens, part of the agreement was that they would come to me ready for roasting. Plucking was not part of the bargain.

This home-built chicken plucker is amazing – three chickens plucked clean in 30 seconds. (Imagine me doing the Dance of Joy here.)

Whizbang Chicken Plucker

chicken plucker in action

Last year we put up all of the chickens as roasters. Since I wasn’t elbow deep in chicken feathers this year I cut all 37 chickens into pieces – leg quarters, boneless skinless breasts, tenders, and wings. The backs I saved for making stock down the road.

25 chickens in my fridge

When I started this process on Saturday, it took me 15 minutes per chicken to cut it up. With the help of videos on YouTube and practice, I’m down to 7 minutes per bird.

We’ve got 90+ meals worth of chicken in the fridge and freezer. I think the final 12 chickens may remain roasters.

All this chicken activity and you ask what did we have for dinner tonight?

Spaghetti.

This entry was posted in , and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Chicken Harvest

  1. Naomi says:

    Great post on “harvesting chickens”! While it was a great view on being up close and personal with your food, the end was a classic!! lol

    Thanks!

You might enjoy these other recent posts...

Hannah's First Movie Full-circle with Beauty and the Beast

The movie Beauty and the Beast has a special place in my heart and in our family. Hannah has never been an over the top girly-girl. As a kid, she … Continue reading

The Bodacious Beaver

During my travels Downeast I’ve seen many beaver lodges – the pile of sticks peeking out of an estuary, pond or marsh. On occasion, I watched a beaver swim along, … Continue reading

The Downeast Thunder Farm European Robin

This one is for you folks across the pond – a European robin to help welcome spring. It wasn’t until Nancy from the Netherlands shared a picture of her robin … Continue reading

The First Robin of Spring

Enjoying my first cup of coffee while watching the flurry of activity at the bird feeders is a lovely way to start the day. I just about spilled said coffee … Continue reading

The Bonny Budgie

Although spring is all but around the corner, it was entirely too windy and bitter cold today to venture outside for long. I opted to play with a pattern and … Continue reading

In Search of Serenity

In a week overloaded with challenges, stress, and entirely too much work, where the ordinary suddenly goes off track, I’ve been in search of a bit of serenity. Thankfully, I’ve … Continue reading