I am going to be honest with you…meat birds are work. They really are stinky messy birds. We were lucky this year, it was warmer this year and they were outside more of the 8 weeks they were alive. With all that is going on this coming week/weekend, we had to process the birds yesterday.
I had a short shift at work, leaving boomer with the set up duties. We got started around 330 hoping to get at least half of the birds done before the dump closed at 7. The first bird or two is when you question your marriage. We both have our ideas of how we should do both our own job and the job of the other…okay maybe it is just me having ideas about how he should do his job. We have less than perfect tools and the concern of nosy neighbors, it makes you question if this was a good idea for the first 30 min.
After the 3rd bird, our expectation of how it was supposed to go, lines up with the reality. Our cone situation, thumbs down. Our knife situation, thumbs down. Our drill situation, thumbs down. With the Cornish cross, they have such broad breast and short necks, you can’t always get them in the right position to do the job right. (we have had to cut and roll the metal to allow more access, but now you have jagged metal which can cut his hands.) The drill plucker did about the same this year as last year, which was not well at all. So instead of sknning like last year, I decided my love of crispy skin on legs and thighs was worth the work of hand plucking.
We got into a groove, did more hand washing and cleaning of surfaces than we have to at the farm, but by 5 we were rolling on the last few birds. We were cleaned up and headed to the dump by 6. All but 3 birds were cleaned up, cut up and vacuum packed in the freezer by 730. Dinner was in the crock pot and we were eating by 8.
Meat birds are a lot of work. I know most people just grab a pack of chicken at the store and put zero thought into the work involved with raising animals humanely. As far as price, the birds were 3 bucks a piece, we got a free bird from a friend who didn’t want to raise as meat bird. 3 bags of feed 12 bucks a piece, works out to about 6 dollars for a whole bird. Not bad. I don’t add in the aggravation, all the poop and feeding and watering 2 to 3 times a day. The aggravation is over except for being sore. The reward 22-30 meals in the freezer.
Next year, we will get a better cone. And investigate a better plucking option, Oh and maybe not have the birds reach market weight at the busiest time of the year.