WARNING This post goes into detail about processing, no pictures but does have graphic details about cleaning chickens.
I have been helping out on the table on chicken days this year. The evisceration process is fairly routine after you get the hang of it. Take off the scent gland, loosen the windpipe, make a few cuts, loosen every thing up, grab what you can and pull. Since you are working blind, not being able to see the inside of the bird before it is cleaned, there is a lot of gazing off and letting you hand do all interpreting of what’s going on. You get a feel for what’s what. After somewhere between 50 and 100 birds I have done, there is a degree of comfort in knowing what you are going to feel and what this experience is going to be. This last week I had two surprises.
I am a jumpy person anyway, but when you put your hand into a chicken and feel something that isn’t supposed to be there, or is not normal, if you are me, you jump back and act like someone just jump out of a closet to scare you. The first one was a fully formed egg in the chicken. I am familiar with the size and hardness of the gizzard, but the egg, still in the bird freaked me out when I touched it. Not that I didn’t know eggs come from chickens, but I hadn’t experienced it for that side. Anna came over and showed us the egg still in the oviduct, and all the other future eggs. After the egg was half a dozen yolks in varying sizes, then smaller little future eggs, getting progressively smaller. It looked a little like an octopus arm with the tentacles getting smaller and smaller and smaller still. I knew they had all the eggs they could ever lay in them when they are hatched, I had just never seen it before. It was very interesting, and of course I didn’t have my camera handy.
The second, was when I got kicked by a dead turkey. After Boomer and I worked as a team taking the neck and feet off, I got to work on all the steps to cleaning this bird. Again, staring off into space feeling my around the inside of the bird, making sure I get the crop. And as I was sweeping the cavity, I hit a tendon, and the daggone thing kicked. I jumped, even though this bird was clearly dead, it didn’t make sense to my brain that it could kick. It’s a fairly common, but it was just my first time experiencing it. It happened a few more times, Anna even had one that was kicking as she was spraying out the inside.
Lesson learned, there is always something new to learn at the farm. Next year I will be prepared!