Monday, June 9, 2014

G is for Good Eats!

Yep, there is nothing like a fresh chicken that says GOOD EATS!

You knew this post was coming right?

Yes, we helped butcher 40 chickens.  Yes, it was hard work.  Yes, it was our first time.  And yes, we will do it again in the fall hopefully.

And yes, I am going to show a few pictures for those that want to see them.  I will try hard not to offend so if  it will make you not like me anymore, feel free to go back and reread F is for Friends or wait for next week's letter H!  (which for the record, has no topic yet.  Waiting for the inspiration to hit me, but open to ideas!  Seriously!)

So Farmer Dan's lovely wife, who happens to be my buddy and resident homesteader expert, actually named this post.  The kids wanted to call it G-O-N-E, Gone!  but the farmer's wife said Good Eats was nicer.  And sounded more appetizing.  She won out!  I am a good friend like that! ;)

Let's start with a picture of our Good Eats, just in hopes of winning you over!

 And now the process-

Two kiddos in the group were the chicken wranglers.  Their jobs: catch a victim, I mean chicken, and bring it to the block.

Yep, just a block of wood.  There it was my hubby's turn to kill it.  I won't go into details, as everyone does it differently and honestly this was the part I stayed the furthest from, but let's just say he got pretty efficient with it by chicken number 40.

Notice Farmer Dan is in these pictures...he led us through each step before turning us loose!

At that point I took it to the boiling water to loosen the feathers (or partially cook it unintentionally.  Gotta watch that temperature! oops!)

Notice two of my kids standing in the FAR distance!

 And then on to this contraption that Farmer Dan built.  Think washing machine/dryer to defeatherer.  They say it saves a ton of time.  I believe them!  It also takes some practice as too much time in there can beat the chicken up pretty well.  (oops, again!)

I then took the chickens to Farmer Dan where he gutted them (the real word- eviscerate). Learn something new everyday don't ya!  Actually he and his lovely daughter did that together.  She is my new hero and such a good sport.  You should see that kid with a knife!

The next stop was the farmer's wife who did a lot of extra cleaning them up so they were pretty.  She had some help from our oldest as well.  Seems both are into the small details.  To include getting rid of the extra feathers I missed in the washer/dryer contraption.   (oops, again!)

Then the chickens went into ice water until all were done.

At that point we bagged whole chickens to freeze and Farmer Dan cut up some into parts.  Have I mentioned he is also a chef and is good at those things?  Kind of handy to have around, don't ya think?

Here is a quick video! It isn't too graphic and if you have been fine with this post you will probably be alright with it, but if this post has been too much, definitely don't watch it! The password is the word "chicken"

Took until late afternoon.  We may or may not have gone home exhausted.  And we may or may not have ordered pizza for dinner.  But, I hear we weren't the only ones! ;)

Our thoughts?
I am proud of my family.  Seriously sounds lame but I am not going to delete it.  Going into these things with lots of book knowledge (OK, not lots, but some) and youtube videos does not prepare you for what it really FEELS like.  Just like when we butchered the cow, we just weren't sure how we would feel and if we could stomach the whole thing.  But we survived.  And far better than we thought.

Were we much help?  I hope so.  We did ask a lot of questions but tried to be helpful at the same time.   Our sweet friends are gracious enough to say we saved them a lot of time.  I  think we just entertained them a lot with our cluelessness.  (Is that even a word?)

Anyway, it was a fun learning experience and worth every minute.

Eating chicken that you know where it was raised, how it was raised, and what it has consumed is a novel idea, but one we love!  And could get used to!

Do you have a chicken story to share?  We would love to hear from you!


This post is part of a weekly linky with my friend, Marcy, from Ben and Me!  Pop over to meet others joining in on the fun!

Ben and Me


Table for Seven

Joy Focused Learning

I Choose Joy!


  1. Great writeup Michele. The only thing I would mention is that the scalding water is not boiling - it's only about 150 degrees F. Those are soap bubbles in the photo. You're absolutely right - with a lot of homesteading projects, learning by doing is VERY different than learning by books - although YouTube videos can be a fantastic resource for this kind of thing. We love your family, and really did have fun with you guys that day... looking forward to doing it again in the fall (now that you're seasoned chicken butchering veterans). -- Farmer Dan :)

  2. Soap?! Oh, that is right, that is why the two kiddos kept telling the chickens they were having a spa day- complete with bubble bath! heehee We love you guys!!!

  3. Wow, that is so cool!!! Way to go! Someday, maybe we'll do that... Maybe. What did you do with all of the feathers??

  4. I hope you saved the feet for making chicken broth. They're a great source of gelatin.

  5. This was very fun to read, and I learned something! I have a friend who just learned how to butcher chickens, and I don't think I'll be helping any time soon :-)

  6. Wow - I never saw the process from beginning to end - that was very interesting! (Although I'm glad you didn't show the actual chopping block activity!) lol

  7. good job getting those chickens done. I did lots of chickens as a youth, wish I had the defeather-er at that time though.....

  8. We have a whiz bang too that we built. Love it as we can process in minutes. My 1st one took 2 HOURS. I had been vegan ir vegetarian my entire life and hadn't even ate chicken yet though. :) We even built a PETA approved gas chamber for a more humane death.

  9. This is very cool. I can't say that I could ever do it or watch it. But it is a neat thought. I love to have all natural food, less processed, less artificial. But I am a wimp about gross things!

  10. "Catch a victim, I mean chicken" :) Love that. Thanks for this lovely (?) tutorial as we may be doing the same thing with our rooster which was supposed to be a hen. The others are safe unless they stop laying . . . I wish my Grandma had had that handy-dandy de-featherer contraption because I remember picking out feathers - particularly those stubborn pin feathers. Blech.

  11. What an amazing opportunity you all had! Wow. I must confess I don't think I could have done it though ...

    I loved the photo's thank you so much for sharing


Thanks for commenting. I love hearing from you!