As the summer break winds to an end, we decided to send Farmer Anna off with a chicken to remember Skinny Lane Farm by... Only catch - she had to help process the bird! So for those who are curious about how that get's done, here is a little blog that describes the process.
Gather your equipment! The most important thing is some sharp knives, a pot for scalding water and a means to heat it, something to hang the chicken with (in our case, wire) and some sanitizer and cutting boards so that you can keep things clean!
You also have to catch a couple of chickens and isolate them the night before. It's easier to clean the birds if they have not eaten for about 24 hours prior to processing...
We had chosen two of our older birds for processing... One for Farmer Anna and one for our soup pot!
When we arrived and brought out the chickens we had put aside, we found a tree to setup our tables, close to plenty of water from a hose and a nice branch for hanging the birds.
Farmer Anna and I are now ready to get on with the processing!
First things first, we hung the bird from the tree - hanging them like this calms them down and they don't fuss too much. We don't use a "killing cone" as we don't do a lot of these, but the process is the same.
Once the bird has calmed down, you simply find the major artery in the neck, and cut the vein.
It's a pretty quick and painless process and the chicken bleeds out after only a few minutes. And now we are ready for the next step!
Once we take the chicken down from the tree, we remove the head with a very sharp knife! We take the chicken over to the pot of scalding water (about 130 degrees) and dunk the bird and get it good and wet as this helps loosen the feathers... We then spend about 10-15 minutes plucking all the feathers off!
Once the feathers are off, the bird starts looking like something from the store, but we are not done. Next you slit the skin by the neck and get the "crop" out... It's a white bag that sometimes has food in it, but you just pull it out... You do the same on the other end, cutting off the tail bone and the part under it where the eggs come out... (there's a word for that, but it escapes me... :-)) You then open up the body cavity being very careful not to cut the intestines and pull it all out. If your lucky, you may even find an egg or two. You then carefully clean out the body cavity, scrape out the lungs and clean it all the way out to the neck, making sure everything is gone. When complete, it looks like this!
When you have it done, put it in some ice water for 30 minutes or so, and then bag it up in the fridge for about 48 hours as the chicken needs to sit before you freeze it or eat it...
Thanks Farmer Anna for a great summer and enjoy the chicken!!