Thursday, July 7, 2016

Meat Chickens 2016

This year I ordered 20 meat birds again, but went with all males.  Based on how it turned out I think it would be good to continue to order all males!  Also processing was made much quicker and simpler by using a great set up including a very tall table with a 'guts hole' in the  middle, multiple large garbage cans for soaking, a free standing large water pot with propane under it to keep it at exactly 150 for scalding, and a plucker!  We started at 9 am. Two of us (or 3 or 4 with younger helpers) would kill and bleed the bird, then one would scald and pluck the bird in about 2 minutes flat.  They went into one barrel to start cooling and then were fine plucked and went into a second.  From there we eviscerated and they went into a third barrel to continue cooling.  After a while they were moved to the fourth and final barrel.  It was so fast that in about an hour the plucker and water bath stand were already loaded and up and most the helpers had left.  I finished eviscerating the last 5-6 birds while a friend hosed off buckets and did some clean up.  Once they were all in very cold water we headed in for an hour of chatting and looking at the gardens.  After that she headed out and I started cleaning gizzards and packaging birds with another friend who was there to pick up her (very helpful) son.  We packaged and rough weighed the birds. And this was still all done before 12:30!  They left, I did some more clean up, took a shower and made a late lunch.  We were done with our lunch and all clean up by 2 pm.  And it was never rushed, there were no back aches, and it was amazing.  If we had 2 on hatchet duty, one on the plucker, one picking and 3-4 eviscerating we could literally be completely done in about 2 hours.  Amazing!

I ordered 20 birds and got 21.  All 21 made it to butcher weight, but I lost one the day before butchering!  I was so disappointed.  It was eating and normal at breakfast and dead at lunch.  I was so proud that I hadn't lost any and so upset at the waste, but it is what it is! I did harvest one bird at exactly 8 weeks as it looked like it was having issues.  The others were butchered at 8.5 weeks.

The kitchen scale was broken, but the rough weights came out to 114.5 pounds for the 20 birds that were butchered.  We also harvested about 14 oz of hearts, 2 lbs, 3 oz of livers and 1 lb, 5 oz of cleaned gizzards.  So just over 4 pounds of offal.

I used 8 bags of feed total for this group and fermented their feed all the way through.  The last 3 weeks or so I started adding dry on top of the fermented to push up their weights a bit.  We had some hot weather patches, but they did well through them.  The range in size was from just over 4 pounds (one that was harvested early) to almost 7 with most being in the 6 pound range.

Total costs   20 chicks $31.40, 8 bags of feed $101.04 for a total of $132.44.  When just counting the birds themselves it works out to $1.16/lb for our birds which is fantastic!  Very happy with our harvest and thrilled to have them in the freezer!

No comments:

Post a Comment