We used to butcher our own, did it for twenty-four years, but last year we wanted to raise more birds with less hassle, so we caved to hiring someone else to do it. So happy we did. No more freezer burnt birds because my package sealing didn't take. No more huge feathery/offal mess in the yard. No more horrible fresh bird in hot water smell, AND...we got to hang out in the cute little shops in Arthur, Land of the Amish , while our birds were processed. Oh how I love a good "Date Day".
The big bonus for me, besides a clean yard and tidy kitchen, is the whole horse and buggy scene. My most favorite animal in the whole stinkin' world is the horse.
Grandson Wesley (then age 8) with my horse Ennis.
Our birds this year are the same as other years, The Freedom Ranger Chicken. We buy them for $1.70 each, feed them certified organic feed, raise them outdoors on pasture with plenty of grass, weeds, and bugs. They grow so well. No huge leg deformity problems like the common white Cornish Chickens. I also love their pretty red color and their meat is moist and tender even when the broilers get over the five pound finished size. The carcass is dense, and ordinarily it takes about two hours at 325 degrees to bake them to perfection. Low and slow is my manta,
unless I am frying them, then it is quick and hot in our own pig lard, then finished in the oven. Coated with flour, copious amounts of hymalayan salt, and pepper (after soaking in our own raw milk for an hour). The results are fabulous. I am now thawing our last chicken from the 2018 crop for tomorrow's lunch, which means we will have a three week dry period between chicken dinners.
Therefore, our first meal from our 2019 chicken crop, will taste that much better. Absence makes the heart, and the stomach, grow fonder.
Your upcoming poultry bounty has made my mouth water. I'm glad you get a day in town during the whole process. You deserve a break. (On a sadder note, so sorry to learn of your good farm dog loss. She'll be missed. Hugs.) KrisReplyDelete
Yes, our amazing dog Fannie died last week. Soon she'll get her own blog mention, as deserved.Delete
Your chickens look really good, and it's so nice you have such a good processor nearby! I wouldn't mind taking some of our critters to a quality service, but there just aren't any around here.ReplyDelete
We have a processor just 15 miles from us but they don't do "colored birds"...grrrrrr. So we travel to Arthur which is 100 miles from us but still well worth it. A great excuse to get off the farm together for an entire day.Delete
A proper, well raised, Chicken, is a wonderful thing. So completely different to that rubbish that comes from the huge factory farms.ReplyDelete
I have not bought a store chicken in years and probably eat it in restaurants only two or three times a year when I am always disappointed EXCEPT for a great place in Dallas called Streets Fine Chicken. That place was well worth the cost of my plane ticket!Delete
it never ceases to amaze me as to how much longer it takes to cook a fresh free range chicken than a grocery store one. i, too, roast them at 325 for about 2 hours. they are perfect every time.ReplyDelete
I know! They are so dang dense are they not?! Of course I'm not the brightest crayon in the...how does that saying go? Oh, never mind.Delete
I have a niece in Alabama who are chicken farmers. They raise chickens for Tyson. They have these huge long coops. I much prefer free range, but we toured it, and it was surprisingly clean.ReplyDelete
I love chicken. I think it is my favorite protein.
That's good to hear. The large factory raised chickens in our area, just like the hogs, are not raised in good conditions and the taste of the meat reflects that. The last thing any of us need is to be eating more antibiotic laced meat. My favorite protein? A grass fed ribeye wrapped in pasture raised bacon! Yeah, baby.Delete
It sounds as though you have the perfect plan. We currently have a cow at the butcher shop and I am quite excited about it. Of course, I also still have some meat from last year, but it will be delicious when it gets here!ReplyDelete
We have a beef going to the locker in a few days and so by Oct 1 we will be well stocked for meat in 2020. Just one of the wonderful benefits of homesteading.Delete
Outsourcing your butchering sounds like a good plan for you two. Sometimes paying a little extra to save a lot of hassle is worth it!ReplyDelete
It is so worth it and their humane methods there, mean even more to us.Delete
Sounds like you have found a good solution to not having to do the butchering yourselves anymore, Donna. Our meals consist mostly of fish and chicken and roasting long and slow is also the way I like to cook a whole bird, except if it goes into the crock pot :-) And kudos to you and Keith having a date day too.ReplyDelete
One day I'll learn how to raise my own Salmon here in the middle of the Midwest. Then, I'll be truly happy.Delete
A wise investment of time and resources. If you have the external processing facilities available, then you can put all your efforts into the raising aspect. Just wondering, at what age to you process the Red Rangers? Do you have problems with boys crowing, until they reach processing age?ReplyDelete
We've got 3 roosters we're raising for meat, and I'm dreading when they start crowing. I know some breeds crow really early, and others take longer to start. Because we don't want to annoy the neighbours with 3 crowing roosters, we're considering processing early and turning into mince. At least to get a decent meal out of them.
They're seven weeks old now, and thankfully no crowing yet. I've probably just jinxed myself though. ;)
We butcher ours at about 12 weeks and I can't say I even notice if they are crowing or not! We have our laying chickens off on another part of our acreage and they have several guard roosters that crow all the time, so I guess I've blocked it out. We're lucky to be 1.5 miles from our little town and nearest neighbor is over 1/2 mile away.Delete