Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Three Home Butchered Chickens

We had an absolutely mad weekend where we didn't seem to stop! 

We went out on Friday night with friends (this is almost becoming a habit), the girls had multiple ballet performances on Saturday and Sunday, we had a bonfire party to attend and I need to get some work done in the extension as my plasterer is coming this week.
Another job I managed to squeeze in was to butcher three chickens. I had hoped to do more but it started to rain and I was set up outside.

It was only when doing a few birds I realised how I need to be set up much better with a logical work flow. As it was I ended u p walking around a lot because I slaughtered them in a different place to where I plucked and butchered them.

I think I might create a dedicated little area for doing this job. Somewhere that's easy to hose down and keep clean but also has places to hang chickens as they drain, separate chopping boards for different jobs and a much larger boiler for hot plucking them. A cover as well encase it rains might be handy!

I did try the wet plucking method and it was a revelation! The feather came off so much easier and it cuts the job in half, I'm still tempted to make a chicken plucker though, either a wizzbang type one or one that goes on a drill - thanks everyone for the links last time! Just a shame the fingers are so expensive to build one myself. 

I also vacuum packed the birds using a vacuum packer I brought myself last week. Not the easiest thing to use on your own and it took a few attempts to get he seals right but I think I might have been cutting the bags a little small and making it harder for myself. A bit of practice will help as well I'm sure! I'll do a post on this gadget soon!

Anyway, two good sized birds for the freezer (2.1kg and 1.9kg) and one for tea last night. Made an incredible roast and it'll make another nice tea tonight, with the carcass for stock.

I think this will become a regular way that I provide meat for our family, I just need to get more efficient/skilled and have an area dedicated to it.

Does anyone have a good set up for processing at home?

Or do you follow anyone that does? 

I'd be interested in seeing some more set ups before I design my own. Thanks!


  1. We use a 4 x 4 'outdoor' work table. It is rock solid as I actually made it to match up with my wood splitter as a splitting table. Heavy enough to put log rounds on it to stage for the splitter. We move this table to our chicken dressing area when needed. Nothing can harm it. We cut on it, hose it down as needed and move the cleaned birds to more sterile ground for final packaging and sealing, etc.

    The fingers are the biggest part of the cost of a plucker. Definitely go with a drum type if you can. The fingers are available here via ebay. They last and last, so it is a good investment.

    1. Thanks Tim and thanks for your comments before. If you think it's worth it I might invest and male a big plucker with a drum! I plan on doing this for a long time so it should pay off on the long run!

    2. IF you intend to have your own poultry for a long time, and IF you have a place to store it, then definitely go with a drum plucker. You can rent them out to help pay the costs!

      I'd be happy to share details of my own if you wish input. Let me know. There are some helpful twists and tricks to doing it.

  2. the best set up I have seen was our friends in Greece. They had a neck breaker attached to the fence. They had a large milk jug with a slightly larger hole cut in the opening, bottom cut off like a 6 pinter nailed to another area with a bucket under it. Push the chicken in head down through the hole. blood goes in the bucket. let it drain longer than you think. dunk it into the hot water. They had a large drum on top of bricks and under it they pushed 2 camping gas stoves under it. 2 dust bins with bin bags in, Maytar/Mama (sorry I cant write in Greek) sat on a high stool and plucked over the bins.

    Then the next person washed them in a old stainless steel sink that had a drainer. It was bolted to some legs and was used to washing veg outside. It wasnt connected to a tap. That was in buckets. Then someone else butchered them. It was a huge family event. Although my friend said that Nico's family didnt used to raise so many at once from chicks, they used to just have chickens and it happened that one go big enough and then they slaughtered just that one. But as the family grew and after the recession hit, they get together at certain times as fuel is expensive and everyone has freezers now. My family didnt raise meat birds it was just ones that needed to be dispatched or they were starting to crow and needed to thin out the males.

    Hot water is the key to it being fast and it stops it floating all over the shop. Makes clean up easier and not predators looking for something...

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  4. You control the welfare, butchery & cooking - it's the perfect way to have meat.

  5. Check out Richard Perkins of Ridgedale Permaculture. He's extremely focused on the efficiency of his processes and has butchery of chickens down pat. He's on YouTube, loads of really informative vids and his book is a good read (it's on my lap atm)


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