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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:00 am 
in todays modern western society this topic is often regarded with disgust, revolution, horror not to mention the belief that chooks have the same feelings as humans. today in out society billions of chickens are slaughtered a year to provide a cheap source of protien. for most in out western society it is one of favourite fast foods.

due to the need of mass production of poultry we have lost the true flavour of a chicken. this comes from killing very young fast growing birds (6 to 8 weeks), the type of feed and living conditions and the vearieties of the birds of the birds involved. not too long ago killing chickens in the backyard was a common occurance, where the chicken was a treat restricted to special occasions like christmas and easter. today most australians look upon it with revoultion and disgust, horrified at what they percieve as brutality and hygiene issues and anything else they can see rather than look at the reality of the situation..if you eat meat an animal is going to die be it a lamb, a pig and calf, a fish or any other meat you plan to eat.

also today there is a growing resurgence, the want to seek out old lost skills to enrich our lives. keeping and eating our own poultry is one of them. more to this is the knowledge that we grew our own food, we control what we are feeding ourselves and our children. we want to know what it is to be involved in all parts of our food production and take pride in it.

this is just the introduction to the topic, i will be doing it bit by bit due to time constraints and uploading a lot of photos (and just incase i loose the whole lot in the wrong click of a key). it will be put in as a sticky so please don't add comments ....open another post for that. i will be doing it to the best of my ability with the help of my partner who has been doing these things since a child, having grown up on the land and in the bush....me i was just a doctors daughter brought up in town and sent to boarding school...this was not the part of my education that was considered important but i did learn to gut my own fish as a child , with no help at all :lol:

so for those who are disgusted by this, are revolted by blood or do not wish to see any photos...go no further!!we have tried to reduce the amount of blood seen in photos but blood is life and it swishes around in your body and mine. it is not just butchers who see lots of it so do health workers, rescue workers and so on. it is something that we get used to for the continuation of life.

k


Last edited by ruff on Wed Mar 31, 2010 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:27 pm 
ok here is my DISCLAIMER.

i am doing this sticky for the interest of all, helps some start off or to find some more information.

however there are:

1) legal issues

2) animal rights issues

3) health issues involved with killing you own birds

and

4)i will add more here as i think of them

i will be brief on explaining these.

legal issues involve not moving the meat off your property. it is illeagal to feed it to your relations off property, chook club get togethers or anything like that. it is only to be consumed on the property it is killed on unless it has been taken to a proper lisenced butchery.....this is not for me to tell you and it is your responsibility to find out. perhaps someone with the proper legal qualifications can put a sticky up on the subject.

i realy shouldn't have to describe the animals rights issues as they are bombarded at us through the media every day. perhaps human rights issues too in killing an animal in front of a child or your neighbours. so take care and be aware of these.

there are many health issues involved in killing and preparing poultry to eat. there are many diseases associated with improper killing, preparing and cooking of poultry (bought stuff too). rupturing the intestines causes bacteria to enter the meat of the bird, e. coli is one. another baddie is salmonella.

killing and butchering a bird is best done outside, not in the kitchen. it should be done in cool weather and it is very important to keep the carcass cool to prevent the growth of bacteria. cooking meat well does not always prevent illness as some bacteria produce highly toxic toxins that are not destroyed by heat.

we never kill a sick bird for eating.....if you notice the people who have died from bird flu killed and ate the sick birds.

be careful of the chemicals you feed or put on your birds for things like coccidiosis, worms and external parasites.....not to mention the biggest baddie......FEEDING YOUR BIRDS ANTIBIOTCS.....don't do it. you can make organisms resistant to antibiotics and these organisms can be passed to you who pass it to your own bacteria that live naturally on you....want to know more then you should resarch this very importanat issue.

so please people do research. maybe TAFE have courses in butchering you own chickens...but i doubt it. it is a skill that is being lost and it is a very usefull skill. it does not just hold for chickens but rabbits too. i mean if these skills are lost in a major recession we could be surrounded by food but starve to death because we have not a clue of how to find food. also ignorance of how how food is produced is a very dangerous thing.

k


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:13 pm 
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Looking forward to this K. Just what I have been looking for.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:32 pm 
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Discerning Duck
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Thank you for posting this will help out a lot of new members I'm sure. I'm tempted to keep some bigger birds for the table.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 5:24 pm 
i am going to get into it...i just need to ensure i have enough time to get it done without distractions.

was watching jamie olivers show on pigs last night (i don't own a TV but over nighted in cairns last night) and it was very very interesting. looked into the animal welfare side as well as the crackling and roast pork....i think it was very educational for those who are unaware of how pork gets on their plate and are unaware of what happens to it before it gets there.

k


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 5:39 pm 
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I agree. I know people react to Jamie Oliver differently but I really respect him for getting people to watch a pig being slaughtered on TV without sensationalism and with an overall sense of perspective. He's like this friendly, non-threatening face saying "you want to eat it, then you better know how it gets on your plate."

I was just as interested in his promotion of the cheaper cuts of meat for economic reasons for the farmers and the consumers. It made them very accessible.

And I'm subscribed to this thread because I have high hopes of butchering my own chooks in suburbia and I trust ruff to tell me, and show me, what I need to know.

Thank you.

Melanie

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:10 pm 
ok get some more done.

there are 2 ways i get birds prepared for killing. some i catch the night before and lock up others can be locked up for a week or more. i don't know if it makes much difference to the meat quality however the ones taken from free range are much yellower in the fat and skin (i keep yellow leg breeds).

we starve them all day but they are given water. some grains are given before killing makes it easier to locate the crop, part empty intestines reduces the chances of rupturing and spreading the contents if the intestines are full. however this is not a necessity but preferred.

my roosters are kept in separate pens unless they have always been kept together and do not bother each other. they are kept separate right up to killing as i don't want bruising also i feel they should have a pleasant a life as possible right up to the end. i tend to keep most in my training pens till they are ready to be brought outside before killing. outside they are in single cages and i make sure the right ones are killed:

Image

the most birds we do in one go is 4 this is because of the time it takes and because we do it in the evenings when it is cool. once it starts getting dark we have to set up a light. we do not kill when the nights are going to be hot unless we have no other choice.

each bird is taken out singley and the legs are tied tightly and well with baling twine. usually only 1 or2 at a time to prevent stress. enough twine is kept to allow it to be hung from the cloths line while the bird bleeds out:

Image

the big strong birds like indians and malay need to be belted with a good strong blow with a good sharp ax (or sword in this case). the birds need to be held strongly by the legs and outer feathers of the wings in one hand. the above bird is being held in place with the blade till he relaxes a little in position on the block. ...otherwise you are going to have to hit a moving object with unknown results.

Image

bantams are easier:

Image


the bird will convulse by flapping its wings and moving its legs, maintain a good strong grip to prevent this otherwise the body is damaged or wings broken etc. this lasts only for a short while. when this has pretty well ceased hang the bird on the cloths line or a tree or what ever with the neck pointing down to finish draining. then proceed to the next bird:

Image


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:32 pm 
PLUCKING

plucking is very easy. pin feathers can be a bother, especially the black ones but they are not going to hurt you if you eat them.

BOIL your water before you kill your birds so it is ready to use straight away. we boil a big pot and a jug and this is enough to pretty well fill the plastic bucket. the water is just under boiling point by the time the first bird is dipped. if the water is too hot the skin will peal, if it is too cold then the bird is not as easy to pluck...you will learn this from experience.

totally submerg the bird past the hocks...take care this is near boiling water and will burn you badly if you spill it on yourself. jiggle the bird around for about 20 seconds and ensure you do the tail and wings as well:

Image

Image

lift the bird out and allow it to drain a bit.

Image

it is good to have some sort of bench or plank to work on and something tht is a descent height. this especially necessary if you have a lot of birds to do or have a bad back. a card board box nearby to throw in the feathers and guts is helpful...a chair is good too. the feathers will be very hot so take care. work quickly:

Image

i like to pull out the flight feathers and tail first. get a good grasp of them and yank. if the water is not hot enough or the bird has not been soaked enough they are not as easy to pull out:

Image

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pluck the bird all over roughly then do the fiddly bits. sometimes different members of the team prefer to do different bits or are better at them. hosing the bench down regularly helps keep down the sticky feathers that seem to get into everything.

to clean up your bench just spray everything with the garden hose. this especially useful before you go on to the next stage to get rid of all the bits of feathers and blood lieing around:

Image


Last edited by ruff on Fri Aug 07, 2009 2:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 2:01 pm 
now for the GUTTING:

the idea of gutting is to remove all of the internal body organs from the inside cavity of the fowl. the most important thing in this process is to remove the whole gastronimical tract intact this starts from the neck to the cloaca (bum hole for the less knowledgable). normally it would have been from the mouth but we have removed the head. this is important because the intestines are full of bacteria which can contaminate the meat and make people who eat it sick. intestines are naturally full of bacteria as an aid to digestion but they are relegated to certain sections in controlled numbers, thus the reason they normally do not make us sick.

so what we are going to do is cut around the cloaca carefully to make a hole big enough to put a hand inside the body of the bird. the cutting must be careful enough not to cut the lower part of the intestine and to free up the intestine from where it is attached to the body. it is important to have a sharp smallish knife.

Image

in the following photo you can see that the lower intestine (or bowel ) is attached to the pice that has been cut. the yellow is fat. in white skinned birds and birds fed a lot of wheat this fat can be white.

Image

next we move back up to the neck area of the bird to find the crop which can be hard to find if it has no food in it. the tubes there are one for breathing (the trachea which goes to the lungs) and one for eating (the oesophagus which goes to the crop) which need to be freed up so that when you put your hand inside the bird you can move it carefully past the intestines to grasp these to remove them from the bird via the hole cut around the cloaca.

Image

here you can see the crop which is obvious from the small amount of grain you can see. the crop is not a stomach but a storage receptical where food is stored then releasd into the intestine.

Image



i am not doing a post mortem of a fowl and thus will not be telling you what is normal and abnormal. i shall show you some labeled parts so you can have some idea of what you are going to pull out of a bird. i am afraid the photo is not as good as i wanted but it was getting dark and i should have been thinking a little better in advance.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 2:29 pm 
besides the intestines you will be removing everything else from the cavity of the bird. this includes lungs, heart, liver, gizzard and testicals (if a rooster). the lungs really just look like blobs of ligter coloured material. the liver is a large red mass, the gizzard is a large roundish hard lump which is part of the digestive system and some people love to eat. when cut open it may comtain little stones as well as food which helps grind up the food for further digestion along the track. the heart is a bright red lump and the 2 testicals surprisingly are quite large and located on the back area of the bird and are white. in the hen you will find the ovaries instead (only one set of) and you may even find developing eggs. you will also find in some cases large amounts of fat....in this case it is yellow.

just having a break....


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:03 pm 
how is this going everyone, i hope i am not leaving any gaps so far and that it all makes sense.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:27 pm 
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This is exactly what I have been looking for K. Keep going, it is great. Haven't wanted to post inbetween, that is why I haven't said anything sooner.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:33 pm 
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Nifty Duck
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Same. Fantastic job. One day I hope to work up enough courage to do this.Al would have to do the deed though. I could cope with the rest.
I had a flashback whilst reading this of helping mum pluck the chickens. The smell came back and I know I was young because I refused to have anything to do with it when older. Probably about the time I started school!

Just a question, I know with red meat you leave it to hang for a bit before cooking. is it the same with poultry or can you bung them straight in the oven?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 4:47 pm 
an clean up this topic when it has finished....i just don't want any debates if you know what i mean....i will get distracted.

chicken meat needs to be set before cooking. i am no expert on this however years ago i was not cohabiting with this AH my first chook must have been cooked that day...well he was like nails...totally impossible to eat. it took mr ruff to show me what home grown meat is like. we have done home grown pig and bought pig today to me is horrible. we did a low line steer we had kept for 2 years and he was so good i have never tasted the same since. we used to keep goats, some were done at home and others were sent to the butcher and smoked, made into suasages etc. you do have to trust the butchers though...sometimes you don't get it all back, the animal might not have good treatment which reflects in the meat and also you might not get your own animal back. home grown meat has flavour.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:33 pm 
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This is really great. Thank you.

I have a couple of questions.

Firstly, in the picture of the cloaca before it's cut, would it be possible to put a computer line/box on the picture showing the cutting line you'd take around the cloaca?

Secondly, when you're actually removing the internal organs are you simply going in from the cut around the cloaca and carefully pulling things out? And is the cloaca end and the neck end that only points where the organs are attached to the rest of the carcass?

Thanks,

Melanie

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