Sunday, September 6, 2009

at their stations . . .

Yesterday was another processing day for us out here. Since last weekend was our VERY first time and we only got to 6 chickens to put in the freezer, this week we needed to finish the rest of the batch. Altogether, we purchased 25 birds, one died, so that left us with 17 to process. The day was great for the job. A little breeze, cool, and the sun was out all day. This time the children and I decided to work at stations to make the job a little easier, quicker, and do the jobs that we all find the easiest. Below the children are at each of their stations, along with help from grandma, and we went through the whole process in three hours. Start to finish. That means bleeding, scalding, hand-plucking, dressing, and ready for the freezer in 3 hours. For those that have processed chickens before, this might not seem quick at all. But, for us city-turned-country folk . . . I thought it was a great time! Here are some stats to get you motivated to raise your own meat.

Average pounds: 6
Cost per pound: $1.05
Time investment: 8 weeks

Asher: Scalding, removing feet and head, loosening craws, removing oil glands.

Macy: Evisceration. removing and saving gizzards, hearts, necks, and liver. removing all other parts and cleaning inside out.

Amory (and Grandma): Removing feathers and layer of oily skin.

Nolan: Bleeding out chickens.

From our last experience, we learned a few things that were necessary while we all worked. Maine took on the job of watching and keeping Gresham busy, and helped to keep the cats maintained. This time we put the cats into an outdoor cage to keep them off the chicken things!

Since the last post, we received another 25 birds and are starting the process all over again. Along with our just-now processed meat, the half batch of other birds we have, and this new bunch of 25, we will have total of 60 to 75 birds in the freezer for the following year as well as our 15 or so layers to keep us in eggs. Seems like tons of meat, but for a family of eight, that really is only 1 to 2 chicken dinners per week. Nolan did that math cost analysis for the whole process and decided that if he did this whole process himself, he would make $510.00 every eight weeks. Not bad for 1/2 hours worth of work each day, and a few hours work on butchering day.

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