So today I spent the morning at Barnyard Organics taking part in a lesson on processing meat chickens. I got to participate in every stage of the process from dispatching to cleaning. There are no pictures with this post, you can all thank me now.
I arrived a little early as I was unsure where I was going. I met their dog who turned out to be “very” friendly. I thought he was being cute trying to “hug” my leg…he was not, but he was friendly 🙂
I found them out back by a sign that read “Dead End”, I was in the right spot. A good sense of humor is always appreciated. I donned a plastic apron and jumped right in. I observed the chickens being placed in the funnels, neck slitting, hot water dunking(145 degrees) to loosen the feathers, the plucking tumbler(which is really cool) and then on to head and feet removal. From there I went into the eviscerating room and got down and dirty with gutting, cleaning and leg tucking. I learned what CSA customers expect from their bagged chickens.
Then the call out to slit throats. It had to be done and I needed to know how to do it, all of it. To say the first one or two went well or easily is absolutely wrong. I was terrified to cut off my own fingers or not actually kill the bird with the two quick slices. There was then of course the ill placement of myself in front of the funnel, do not stand in front of the funnel. After rinsing myself off at the sink and a couple of deep breaths, were I am sure everyone thought I was going to completely loose my s@#t, we all had a good laugh as I washed my glasses and vowed to try again. I went back in and was much more successful and much less disturbed. The birds were dispatched and I now know that I can do it alone, if I have too.
This was actually a big worry for me as I love growing our meat and I don’t want to not be able to for lack of ability to do it on my own. With what I learned today I can, if I have to, process my food from start to finish. Sometimes you just need to know you can, but help is also really appreciated.
Overall I had a lovely morning. It was so refreshing to meet people who don’t think the path we choose to be on is an insane one. Chatting about things like what to do with chicken livers, how many animals do you have, how do you humanely kill an injured bird, what plants have you tried to grow…everyday things in my world but for most of the people I know these topics are well beyond left field.
Thank you for a wonderfully educational experience. So many things to learn in what feels like so little time..
To all those new homesteaders who are out there trying, keep trying and reach out to those who know more than you, there are lots of them 🙂