Saturday, November 23, 2013

Coq A Vin part Trois: The Dissection.

The Dissection.
I don't suspect this part will upset anyone...I mean, unless you are a vegan.
We left off with our defeathered birds.  Amazingly, even though the majority of feathers were removed, there were actually little hairs that did not come out that way.  We used an open flame to singe these little hairs.  The 2 Ameraucana's had more of these hairs than the Welsummer.  I do not know if the hairs differ between breeds, but that is what we noticed.  Just a quick wave over the flame did the trick.  We started using a little torch but it went out and we couldn't get it to fire back up, so we used the turkey fryer and it worked just fine.  I did notice the skin shrinking up with the heat.  It's important to move it around quickly so as not to cook it.

The first part of the dissection involved cutting a small hole just under the belly.  We felt for the bone there and cut under it.  This was just a start, I had to make it a bit bigger after I heard the next instructions.

Another thing we worked on was the neck.  We made afew cuts to the next skin and peeled it off a bit leaving the neck meat behind.  We also got the crop out.  Lila's was small compared to the 2 babies...they must have gorged themselves after the others went to bed!  Their crops were HUGE!  All the food they eat gets stored in the crop until it's ready to move down the digestive tract.  We had to push the corn up the tubes to contain it into the sack.  Still in shock about what was happening, it was a little awkward for me.  Joe was calm and cool and handled this stuff like a champ.  Next I think we pulled out the wind pipe. 
As you can see below, we made cuts at each of the legs to widen our workable space.  Afew times during working with the bird we actually had to 'break' bones at the joints.  It was weird.  This is what the cavity looked liked before we scooped out the innards.  Those 2 red pieces are the liver.

We removed the heart first by reaching all the way to the front of the cavity and feeling it, grabbing ahold and pulling it out.  The 3 hearts below.  Lila's was bigger than the younger birds.

After the hearts were removed.  We gently scooped out the remaining guts.  It took some time to work them all up in one big pile.  I was not as good as Joe was at it.  The lungs in my bird were still attached to the breast and he managed to scoop his up right away.  When I went back to remove the lungs after, I realized that had I just pushed my fingers into each rib space, they would have come out.  I was afraid to really grab down there because I knew there were some things you just do not want to rupture. 
After the guts were brought to the front, we delicately found and removed the liver followed by the gizzard.  The gizzard was fun to play with.  We had to be careful we did not puncture the green little sack of the gallbladder.  That would sour the meat.  We both did a good job avoiding that fate.  The gizzard was an awesome little organ to check out.  It was hard and full of corn, but it was more mashed up that what was in the crop.  We had to gently slice into the side of it little by little until we say the start of the white sack.  Then the whole outer 'meat' peeled off to reveal a little white sack of the corn.  The sack gets tossed and the outer meat is a delicacy for the children (says Mrs. Hoover).  My children would be gagging!  :) 
Once all the usable organs were removed (my gift to Mrs Hoover!), we continued to cut up Lila into pieces.  The 2 young birds we kept whole because they will be much more tender.  Lila will have to be cooked long and slow so he tenders up.  The babies should be fairly tender, but not as much as store bought meat.  We are thinking of thawing one out for Thanksgiving this week and smoking it. 

Clean up was very simple as we did not make a huge mess!  All the feathers went right into the trash can and we were throwing parts away as we make cuts.  I did notice our favorite canibal....the murderer Rosa (see prior post about the demise of Phoenix, our month old chick....) was quick to clean up any bloody morsel that was left in the grass.....chickens will eat anything, by the way.  Don't let those 'my chickens are vegetarian' advertising slogans fool you!

So....what happens next?  Well....I asked Joe if he thought we could process 10 in a day.   To my delight....his reply was....I'm up for 5.  So our next project is to research meat bird breeds, grow time and plan our housing out for spring chicks!  I do believe we are starting a two family co-op and I just LOVE IT!  The kids are looking forward to raising more chicks.  This time, they will have food names.  Fettucine, Picatta, get the picture. 

No, the girls didn't seem to acknowledge the missing boys.  In fact, it was business as usual.  Sid Vicious, the surviving young rooster, is a bit wishy washy on his duties.  He seemed to start to take control of the girls, but quickly ended up on his own letting the girls scatter about the yard.  I hear him making some calls here and there...he's good at warning calls, but has not clucked to get the girls to follow him.  He's in fact being bossed by the girls.  They peck him, and he runs scared.  He sleeps in the nest box most nights, afraid to roost with them.  I see him perched high up on a ledge above the coop scared.  He does crow here and there, but he's not as vocal as Lila.  Some mornings he's quiet, and the next he's making a little ruckous.  I like the crows, so the sooner he finds his manhood, the happier I will be.  :)  He's young.  Hoping he just hasn't hit all out puberty yet and will get over his fear of the women.  I will cheer the day he mounts a hen.  :)

9 birds of all most mature statue really did a number on the food supply!  We were going through lots of feed.  Not sure if it was the hungery teenage roosters, or the fact that we had 9 birds.  Immediately, I noticed that food and water supplies are lasting long without those three.  We will get through the winter with our 5 girlies and re-evaluate adding a hen or 2.  Thinking we should add 2 so they have a buddy.  Those girls are ruthless!  haha  Right now, we are still motling so only getting an egg or 2 per day from the Barred Rocks.  They seem to not be hit as hard by the molt.  The Easter Eggers and the Welsummer have been out of the count for weeks.  Hope they make their way back to egg laying soon!

Sorry my screen shot is so small.  Here is the crew just before we started dissecting!

Peace out cluckers!