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Raising Meat Birds? Only if someone else does the plucking — Wild About Chickens
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Raising Meat Birds? Only if someone else does the plucking

by Annie Janauer on March 21, 2009

in Funny Animal Stories, Pests, Uncategorized, What we eat, backyard farm, chickens, mini farm

My husband and I have been enjoying our chickens and their eggs so much that we have been thinking about raising a few birds for meat. I personally love to eat chicken. Fried chicken, roast chicken, stewed chicken, chicken soup, chicken pot pie, chicken and dumplings…..There is only one problem with this. There is no way I will ever happily pluck a chicken again.
When I was a teen our father moved us up to the country from Brooklyn. My parents bought a two acre piece of property (the same piece I live on now) and along with some other very cool but kooky projects, started farming. One day our father brought home about 30 really old hens. His objective was to put those birds in the freezer for the winter. None of us had ever worked with chickens before and we were in for an adventure (misadventure might be a better word).
Dad and the boys were outside the house chopping the heads off of the chickens. (My sister and I did not watch this process but I am told it was amazing in a morbidly fascinating way). Anyway when the birds stopped doing what chickens with their heads cut off do, the bodies were brought into the kitchen where Mischele (my sister) and I were waiting. We had a large pot of boiling water on the stove and a huge cardboard box for the feathers. Sitting on a stool next to the pot and in front of the box we were ready for work. Just dip the bird and pluck the feathers. Sounds simple right? We were ready. Holding our first birds by the feet (trying not to think about the fact that there were no heads), we dipped the birds in the boiling water, swung the bodies over the box, grabbed a handful of feathers on the breast of the birds and yanked. The feathers came out easily but out of the space where the feathers were, came a rush of creepy crawly tiny red bugs. Yikes! We both dropped our birds into the box and jumped off of our stools.

A really animated argument ensued. “I am not plucking any more chickens”… “YOU WILL PLUCK THOSE CHICKENS”!… “NO I WONT”…. “YES YOU WILL NOW SIT RIGHT BACK DOWN THERE AND GET BACK TO WORK!”
Horrified but subdued Mischele and I went back to work dipping and plucking and trying really hard to ignore the creepy crawly stuff in the fluff. Dip…Pluck… Dip…Pluck until finally all of the birds were done. (My Head still itches when I think about this)
Well if we had to suffer through that process at least we should enjoy a nice roast chicken dinner after right? So our mother cleaned and dressed two of the freshly plucked chickens and put them in the oven. I was relishing the smells coming from the kitchen I think because I wanted revenge.
In the kitchen waiting in anticipation for the birds to come out of the oven I was standing behind my mother as she pulled the pan out. Something was terribly wrong. Both birds had the legs and wings sticking straight out from their bodies like two day old road kill. Argh! Mom tentatively poked the bird’s wing. It did not give. Then she pulled on it and the entire bird moved in response. Cutting it with a knife proved to be impossible. The things were like hard rubber. I wanted to gloat at my father for making us pluck those birds in the first place but the gloating did not last long because he had a solution. All the birds came back out of the freezer and went into soup pots with lots of onions, carrots, celery, and spices. They simmered most of the night and then put into wide mouth canning jars and pressure canned. We ate those birds all winter long as chicken soup and stew and pot pie. With each chicken meal I thought about the creepy crawly bugs and the stiff as a board roast birds.
So now many many years later I am repeating some of what my father wanted to do. I am growing food on my two acres any way I can and am even about to raise meat birds but there is no way I am going to kill and pluck those birds myself. For $2.00/bird there is a local butcher who will do it for me. Birds will go off in cages and come back ready to cook or freeze and all winter long we will be eating Fried chicken, roast chicken, stewed chicken, chicken soup, chicken pot pie, chicken and dumplings…..Yum I hope!

{ 1 trackback }

Ripples
03.28.09 at 6:47 pm

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike A44646 03.22.09 at 2:06 am

What were the Bugs? Did you ever figure that out?

Annie Janauer 03.22.09 at 4:51 pm

Some sort of flea?? I think

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