Thursday, November 14, 2013

Coq au Vin

Some thoughts as I prepare for tomorrow. 

The time has come to learn how to kill, gut and prepare our birds to use as food.  Yes, the sound of this is grusome and repulsive, but knowing my birds have had a great life here compared to a factory farm makes me feel good about it.

A wonderful Old Order Mennonite woman, Rachel Hoover, who lives on a dairy farm just down our road, graciously agreed to teach me the fine art of killing and dressing chickens.  She is a mother of 7 and most of the time I run into her, she is in the barn tending to their cows.  Last night, I stopped by the farm to confirm our project details and was greeted by the gaggle of kids all smiles.  They are definitely less creepy and suspicious of 'fancy folk' as our more modern car driving plain neighbors.  Go figure!  After all was confirmed, I set out to get my head together planning what I need.

I found afew blogs/web sources on small scale chicken processing.  I will continue to review tonight so I make sure anyting we could possibly need is on hand as this will be messy.  Mrs Hoover is mainly looking for me to provide a table, boiling pot of water and an open flame for burning off feathers and fuzz after we pluck them.  I have seen other items that will help- bucket to catch blood, ice bucket, clean and soapy water buckets and trash can for feathers/guts.  I have also seen pics of what to expect in the gutting process.  I was never a great biology student, but it is kind of cool to check out guts!  Also, will be able to find out some clues on the health of our birds which will hopefully help with the other birds and future birds! 

The plan is:  The kids will help me box Lila in the morning.  We've been saving a large box just for him!  They can say their goodbyes.  Raven and Matilda (2 of the young roosters) will also be contained as they are a bugger to catch!  All 3 birds will be oven stuffer roasters by the time the kids return from school and we will be planning our pen design for some Cornish Crosses in the spring if all goes well!  We cannot keep the meat birds with the flock for various reasons.  But we have plenty of space left on the acre we pay out the butt for so here it goes!  Wish me luck!  Hope to document the process with pics, video and the steps we took.