We are extremely fortunate to not only have our families close by but to also have such supportive families. Both sets of parents came to help with broiler butchering day. Philip’s parents, Danny and Joy Murphy, and my parents, Tom and Betty-Lou Seager.
The evening before, Philip and I bathed all the birds we would be butchering. We wanted them to be able to relax after the stress of bathing, and also gave them heat lamps to warm them up.
Twenty-two birds made the weight cut off for butchering day. Any of the birds that weighed less than 8 lbs. would wait a few weeks to gain additional weight. We butchered most of the roosters in the first group and a few hens that made the weight cut off.
We had a great team, everyone worked together well in the assembly line we put together. Philip surprised me with a plucking machine a few weeks before butchering day. At 15 minutes a bird of hand plucking, he saved us about 8 hours in butchering time.
Philip was at the head of the line. He dispatched each bird and then worked with his mom, Joy, to submerge the birds in the hot water. Water is heated to about 150 degrees, the birds are submerged for approximately 20 to 30 seconds and then put in the plucker. The hot water allows the feathers to loosen up and are more easily removed by either hand plucking or in the plucker.
Joy and my father, Tom, worked together after the plucking machine to do any touch ups, removing any feathers that might have been missed. Once we got the temperature right on the dunk water and the timing correct, the machine did a better job. Well worth the investment!
Once the birds were plucked, they were handed off to my mom, Betty-Lou and I for the final steps. I wanted to separate all the wings from the chicken, so my mom pieced out all the wings. I was in charge of gutting the birds. The two of us worked together to remove feet, oil gland and necks, depending on who was available at the time.
We treated our family to an easy spaghetti lunch. Something I later regretted after spending my day up to my elbows in guts. We also sent our parents home with a chicken as well as a reward for their hard work.
The first day of butchering 22 birds yielded in 135 pounds of chicken, which we estimated to cost us $1.58 a pound to raise in grain and cost of birds for 8 weeks.
Philip and I finished the remaining 10 broilers, 9 days later. It took him and I just as long to do the 10, as it did the group to do the others.
Philip and I were given some roosters to butcher when we butchered the broilers. The comparison is amazing. The bird on the left in the image above is a culled rooster, he was about a year old and weighed in at 4.5 pounds of finished dressed meat. The bird on the right, is a 10 week old Cornish Cross chicken, weighing in at 7.38 pounds which was an average broiler, we had both larger and smaller broilers that we butchered.
The total 10 week project yielded a total of 206.40 pounds of chicken. We fed approximately 530 pounds of high protein grain. We wrestled those fat ladies into their bags!! The project was well worth the time and effort that we invested in these birds.
The meat is mostly white. These birds don’t exercise at all, in fact they are the laziest animals I have ever seen! Its moist, tender and delicious!
Read more about the Cornish cross broilers here.
About the Author: Barbra-Sue Kowalski grew up on a small hobby farm. She was always drawn to farm life, however, she was stuck in an urban life far from her roots. Barbra-Sue was a single mom for 13 years, raising her 3 children on her own. She met Philip in 2018 and they married in 2021. Between the two of them, they have 5 grown children and 4 grandchildren. These empty nesters are following their dreams! As they both turn 50, they are building their off-grid homestead to live the life that they dream about. Learn more about Philip and Barbra-Sue here. Contact them here. To leave a comment on this post, please scroll down.