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PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:47 am 
Thanks for all the help. We ended up having 4 meals from our boy, and he hadn't been fattened. I just had to shut him up because of the constant crowing.
We were surprised at the colour of the meat in the drumsticks, and the taste was superb.
We had soup from the neck - not enough meat there so a bit bland.
We had a roast meal, then the next night left overs with vegies.
Last night we enjoyed a wonderful chicken and veg soup, with even a 1/2 cup full of meat left to put in with all the home grown veg. There is still some left for lunch!
One extra meal I didn't mention - the cat got the heart, liver, kidneys and testicles. The dogs wolfed down the skin.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:49 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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fabulous article, ruff. Thanks so much!!

I can remember helping with the killing and dressing of birds the year we lived on a farm (I was 8). I am really looking forward to having enough land in order to grow my own birds for consumption.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:39 am 
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Junior Champion Bird
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Ruff, thank you.

We did our first chook a couple of weeks ago - a 20 week old Barnevelder x Wyandotte. For a couple of city-bred, suburb dwelling types it was quite an occasion. We had your instructions with us and everything went fine. It turned out to be far less messy, noisy, smelly, difficult than we anticipated - although I did feel quite drained at the end of it because it was so far out of my experience.

Unfortunately we haven't been able to eat him yet because our oven was broken! It's fixed now and I'm looking forward to it - and eyeing off his scraggly Barnevelder half-brother who nobody seems to want . . .

But quite honestly, it's something we probably wouldn't have attempted without some guidance, so thank you for that.

In answer to people asking about black stubs, I was quite pedantic about mine and used the back of a bread knife to squeeze them out like you would a splinter. It wasn't hard but it took a while.

I'll let you know how he tastes.

Melanie

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3 Barnevelder hens, 1 Plymouth Rock cockerel, 1 Plymouth Rock pullet, 3 boys, 2 terrier-crosses, and one husband who just goes along with it.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:48 am 
i am really glad this is being of help. i can understand how unless you can get someone to actually demonstrate to you it would be very difficult to work out. even old books have very few and usually poor quality black and white photos which really are not the same. i have tried to, in the second stage of photos, photograph where mr ruff actually had his hands rather that just demonstrating what was what. he has been killing and dressing out animals from a young child from rabbits to horses. he called a dog ruggles once because of its coat and i have never been too sure that he wouldn't do a dog. he is an animal lover and does love dogs and never mistreats an animal.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:18 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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It was really of use to us and we'll be using it again one day. Regardless of how he ends up tasting I think it is a good skill to have - especially looking at other threads talking about the living conditions of meat chooks. A few of my neighbours with chooks are getting a bit bolder about trying too, particularly after I showed them the dressed carcass. "It looks . . . like a supermarket chook but smaller," was the most common response. I think they were expecting something far more confronting.

And I'm really happy with my kids' response. We didn't let them in the yard until the plucking was done. When they did come out they had a look and then went to play on the swings without a second thought. Now they keep asking when they're going to get to eat our chicken. I think it helped a lot that they knew from the time that these chicks hatched that at least one of them would probably get eaten. Young kids seem to be able to accept a lot as long as they know it's coming.

Anyway, thanks again to you and to Mr Ruff. Between you you've got a few more people comfortable with using their excess birds.

Melanie

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3 Barnevelder hens, 1 Plymouth Rock cockerel, 1 Plymouth Rock pullet, 3 boys, 2 terrier-crosses, and one husband who just goes along with it.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:45 pm 
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We have used birds from our own backyard for years, and the difference in taste between a supermarket bought bird and a well fed bird from your own yard is like night and day. And I congratulate Mr Ruff on a interesting and well handled series of posts.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:28 pm 
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Hatchling
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I have 7 R.I.R.s. They were 5 weeks old when I got them, 5 roosters to be dispatched and made into dinners :-)
My motto is : "Don't let fear stop you".


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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 4:17 pm 
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Hey, I just did one, with help from my hubby, who's done plenty of sheep, and could remember plucking chooks as a kid. I'm just about to do the next one by myself.

The instructions with the pics of the cuts were helpful to me, and the time to hold them in boiling water. I've post-mortemed quite a few sheep and am very familiar with anatomy, but I had assumed the feathers would be really difficult and time consuming to pull out but they were really easy, and I have been dreading that they would taste awful. But have figured that if they do the dogs can eat them.

I'm umming about the way to kill them. My husband couldn't help himself but break the next after cutting the throat - as he does with sheep. But I learnt to kill birds by breaking their necks (so you don't wreck too much when you need to post-mortem them).

Hubby said they used to cut their throats and then just let them run around. When he did this one I held its wings to stop it flapping, which I think I would find awkward to do while also cutting its throat. I was taught to hold both the legs and the ends of the wings in left hand and pull across and down with neck with right hand, however, I'm not sure I'll be able to do it with a rooster - just because its reasonably big and I'm not. Anyway, I'll have a go and figure out what's required as I go along.

The 2 roosters I'm doing today are minorca crosses, so not really meaty and they are now 6 months old. I'm going to roast one tonight in an oven bag and see how it ends up. Might need to stew up the other depending on what its like.

thanks for the helpful instructions.

cheeps


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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 5:08 pm 
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Well, just did the second one alone. I'll have to use the tomahawk next time as I was not quite strong enough to break its neck with one arm pulled up and the the other down, so promptly used the knife to cut throat, but don't like that either because of all the feathers to get through (and blunts the knife). For me, I think the tomahawk will be much quicker for the bird.

I also found I didn't hang the bird from a post or tree, it was just as easy to hold its legs and the ends of its wings, while I sat in a garden chair and rested my elbows on my thighs and hung bird out in between my legs. This stopped any flapping easily and was only 2 or 3 minutes. Of course tying them up would allow you to dispatch more while waiting.

So success all round, thanks again.
cheeps


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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 6:08 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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We hung ours from the clothes line. My husband tied the legs and threw the rope over the line but kept it slack while he held the bird on the block. Then, once the deed was done he pulled the rope to string up the carcass and let it drain into an old baby bath. For whatever reason there was very little movement and very little blood so it worked well.

I kept the bird suspended but loosened the rope to do the first bit of the dunking and also while I removed the first chunks of feathers. It was very handy being able to drop or raise it as required.

We've eaten him now and although there was very little meat, what we had was delicious. The kids loved it. We'll definitely do it again, but I'm thinking about bringing in an Indian Game hen to make little chickies for good eating!

Melanie

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3 Barnevelder hens, 1 Plymouth Rock cockerel, 1 Plymouth Rock pullet, 3 boys, 2 terrier-crosses, and one husband who just goes along with it.


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PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 11:35 pm 
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Great educational post!! Thanks. :claps:

I've only got chooks this week (4 x Australorps and 4 x Orpingtons)...hens. I really want to get a couple of cockerels to breed with these to raise some meat birds so having this info as a resource is excellent...I have heaps to learn.

I recently saw a method for dispatching chooks on an SBS show "Gourmet Farmer" which seemed relatively stress free in comparison to using a chopping block...it's what I intend trying when I get round to it. It involves making a device out of some PVC pipe to contain the chook while you kill it. The device should look roughly like the diagram below and can be mounted on a fence post. The top portion is large diameter PVC pipe (maybe 250mm OD). The top portion is joined to the bottom portion by a cone which you can make from anything strong enough and gaffer tape it on. The narrow bit of the cone joins to a small diameter PVC pipe which the chooks head and neck stick out of. You stick the chook in upside down, making sure to feed the head through, grasp the head and neck and slice with a sharp knife. You might want to make the neck piece smaller diameter than indicated in the not-to-scale diagram below...but you can get the idea I think. It contains all the flailing within the tube and you can leave it in there to bleed it.

Dan

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PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 12:28 am 
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Snug.Dan,

It is called a killing cone or funnel. You can buy them as well from http://www.multiquip.com.au (http://www.multiquip.com.au/searchdb.ph ... 0Equipment) or even easier, if you can get your hands on a couple of those big witches hats they use on roadworks. I think bunnings sell them as well.

J

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PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 12:37 am 
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Thanks J. I've got some PVC pipe & I reckon I can get a witches hat from the local tip shop (good tip!). Multiquip seems a bit pricey...

Dan


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PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 6:21 pm 
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aussihen got her hands on some of those tapered deep buckets that florists use, and cut a hole on the side at the bottom. Absolutely perfect. We participated in a processing "workshop" at her place and experimented with the culling pliers I got from WA, plus Mr aussihen's jugular-cutting method; compared skinning vs. plucking; and yanked guts from the middle of quite a lot of birds and got a lot less scared of it all.

I can't say I'm enamoured of the methods that permit blood to spray around, simply because of the vermin risk around us - that is, hanging and cutting/chopping without containment. The cones contain the post-death movement VERY well and keep everything in once place.

Using a pillowcase or bottom of a chook feed bag works similarly well - it particularly contains the wing movement.

The method used on Gourmet Farmer, with the huge machete thing (same as in Ruff's pictures) seemed very quick and efficient, and I wouldn't mind giving it a go, if I can get my hands on one of those choppers. Th'Bloke has been using smaller hatchets/meat cleavers and it's taking more than one blow to do the deed, which I dislike.

As noted above, plucking is EASY. Hot water, swish swish, cold water, out immediately, then just pull. I did have hassles with the outer wing feathers of a slightly older rooster and decided to cut the wingtips off instead (thereby depriving myself of the crunchy wings). Mostly, however, it's dead easy :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:46 am 
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Hatchling
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I had to kill our last non-laying old chook prior to a move and used the neck break with rake handle technique in your article. It was extremely quick, apparently painless and non-bloody. Great for folk who are not so strong . Thank you for that info.


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