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September 04, 2011



Abi, have you considered (or do you already) skin the chickens? I find this makes chicken harvest day much simpler and less exhausting for me (no scalding or plucking), and although I like a well-roasted, skinful bird, I don't really miss it all that much. Something to consider, if you hadn't already. :)


We bought a chicken plucker this year. I can't recommend it enough. Plucking was always the bottleneck in our operation, and the mechanical plucker made things move sooooo much faster! (I've seen advice on skinning, but I love the skin too much to ever give it up without a fight...)


when i was living in greece years ago i used to purchase live poultry from the market and my husband would kill them and i did the rest..and while it was a difficult and confronting thing to do it nevertheless was rewarding in the sense that i was, to some extent, directly involved in the production of my food source..


Love the photo and her hat. I hope you are wearing a lovely hand knit as you process your chickens :).


i commend you for staying so connected to your food and treating your birds with dignity.


hi kristen, i haven't considered that. my family loves the skin too much. they'd be very upset with me. but i have a *very* quick method of plucking! i use one of these, going int the opposite direction of feather growth after a perfect scold (150 degrees) and i can pluck a chicken in 3-5 minutes! i'm telling you it will make the process SO easy :) http://www.doversaddlery.com/product.asp?pn=X1-10254&zmam=1460880&zmas=1&zmac=66&zmap=X1-10254&re=viewbuyrec


hey gayle! i use one of these to pluck and after a perfect scold (i prefer 150) i can pluck a chicken in 3-5 minutes tops. i am sure that's not as fast as a plucker but it's not bad for a $8 investment. i would love to try a plucker though.



it really is a completely different feeling, isn't it? a very complex one but one that is worthy of experiencing. i'd love to hear more about living in greece!


i actually wear aviator/mechanics coveralls! that way i can strip down right outside and carry them straight in to the wash :) not nearly as stylish but very practical. i picked them up used at a classic car show a few years ago for $5.


thanks kathy :)

Pam from Kansas

Ditto what Kathy said


I'm interested in that curry-comb--I may have to give that a try. My husband and I found the process easier to deal with this second year. Still very humbling.


jeanette, you *have* to try it! you won't believe it. we processed all of our chickens last year and then our first batch this year without anything but our hands and then it dawned on me that curry combs are just like mini hand held pluckers! this oster is perfect because the nubs are silicone (?), soft and pliable and a touch on the "sticky" side. you wouldn't want to use a traditional curry comb because it would tear the skin. invest the few bucks it will make the job 100x easier!


I was wondering if these birds will be for your family or do you sell them? If they will be for your family to eat, have you concidered maybe using a different recipe for each of the birds? A new recipe for each bird can get the creative juices flowing, don't you think....?

Monkey Lobster

i admire your work.


We did our first every meat birds this year. We only had 8 to process though. I can't imagine 52! May I ask what breed you raise? We did the cornish crosses but they were such a mess. We're thinking of Red Rangers next year.


It's exhausting, isn't it? It was a lot getting these birds done but now our freezer is filled for the year. We raised Jumbo Cornish X from Murray McMurray this year and I LOVED them. Average bird weighed 7.2# slaughter weight/fully dressed. I've been roasting one bird each Sunday and then getting at least one or two more dinners for the week out of them plus chicken salad for lunch and we are a family of 5. We kept half of the birds whole for fall and winter roasting and split the rest right down the middle for summer grilling/broiling. We raised only roosters this year and grew them to 11 weeks. They could have finished earlier at 6-8 weeks for a 4-5# bird. We did the Red Rangers last year and I was incredibly disappointed. They grew to 18 weeks and we had an average 3.5# bird but the meat was inferior. Barely any thigh or leg at all. The Jumbo Cornish were our best converters so far, time and grain wise. Super easy to pluck. Hearty and healthy. SO delicious! Great breasts, thigh and legs!


Thanks so much for your reply! I'm thankful to hear about your experience with the Red Rangers. Perhaps we just need a better method for raising our Cornish Xs (as in enclosures that can be moved every day instead of expecting that they would just free range with the rest of the chickens). I definitely would have given them an A+ for size and pluckability though. And they are real tasty! =)


Oh yes. Our Fatties stayed in the chicken tractor, in our garage, this year. We lost so many meat birds (more than half the flock)to predators last year that we didn't want to risk it this year. So, we put down a bale of fresh pine shavings as needed and kept the bay open during the day, closed at night. For the very short amount of time that they were alive we kept them clean, well fed, cared for and safe.


The ideal situation would be to have a room or a separate area in a barn to raise these guys in.

Monkey Lobster

haven't hear from you lately...........

Affordable Insurance

Plucking was always the bottleneck in our operation, and the mechanical plucker made things move so much faster! I'm thankful to hear about your experience with the Red Rangers.


I thought for sure we'd hear from you after Rhinebeck. Why no posts recently?

Sonya-Dime Store Thrift

Did the chickens get the best of you? Miss your updates! Hugs, Sonya


adding my voice to the chorus. I hope you are well.


I miss your posts - your blog is one of my favorites!


I hope all is well with you. Miss you.


Hope all is well with you and the family!

Jennifer Gallucci

I hope everything is ok with you and your family. I miss your words and photos. Your blog is one of my favorites. I will keep checking in here. Best wishes!


It's been over 3 months since your last post. Do you want to say goodbye also? If so, you should let your readers know.


Miss your posts-hope all is well with you and your family!


We really miss hearing from you. Hope all is well.......

india tours

Love the photo.....


I admire so much what you do, I was raised on a Chicken Ranch but I don't think I could do it anymore :( What you do for your meat birds is so much more humane than the disconnected way people have become by only buying in the supermarket. Love your blog and look forward to reading more when you get back to it! Looks like your public is missing you also! Happy 2012


I'm adding to the chorus - I hope all is well with your family! This long time between posts is rare, and I enjoy hearing from you, so am hoping all is well. Sending good thoughts your way...

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