Saturday, June 15, 2013

Butchering Class - B Fails Chopping 101 - Aly Falls Over Laughing

July 1, 2010.  My best friend and I tackled the new experience of how to butcher farm raised meat chickens.  An experience I don't think either of us will ever forget, and thought we'd never attempt again, but yet here we are 3 years later and we both have meaties again....

For the last 10 weeks B has been raising these awful ugly smelly and totally disgusting meaties.

Horrible, disgusting little birds with fat ugly feet.

Last week I had inquired to one of the local Amish families we know about getting these birds processed for B. He said he would do it, and that he'd be home all week this week.

B asked me to find out about Wednesday because that was the best day for her.

Monday he wasn't home, Tuesday we weren't home, and then Wednesday I forgot to go until afternoon! So we took off to go talk to him, and his wife said he wasn't home, wouldn't be home until late, wouldn't be home on Thursday, and thought the birds might have to wait until next week.

I was like, no way! they cannot wait until next week!!!!!

I told E lets go home and I'll contact B and we'll figure out how to do these birds on her own - even if I have to chop off the heads myself.

He suggested we go ask another Amish family that we know - they were actually the first Amish friends we made and we used to buy hay from them.  We get there, and the wife, Ilene, was very quick to say no problem, she'd do it, bring the birds. I told her I'd help chop heads if necessary, and she said their ax wasn't that sharp, so I told her I'd have B bring her hatchet.

We talked for a bit, so it wasn't very quick on our part getting the message to B, and I told E we had to go quick because B would be needing to know what was going on.

Called B's house, found out she'd gone to talk to the other Amish family LOL But B's mom had her call us back and I was able to tell her that they weren't home and we had someone else lined up to help.

So, B picks me up and we go get the birds, hatchet, coolers, and whatever else we needed to get these birds done.

Let me tell you - those birds were HEAVY.

We get them all over there, and Ilene and her oldest son chopped the first 6 chickens while B ran down to the grocery for ice .  (There were 18 birds total) She showed us how she holds the chicken, her son chops the head, and then she holds the chicken on it's back to prevent some of the flapping around.  She said she hates the jumping and bleeding around the yard.

Her 12 year old son made it look so easy!! 

We then took the headless monsters up to the 5 gallon buckets of hot water she had waiting. We dipped them, wove them around in a circular motion in the water to make sure we got every feather wet, and then we plucked them clean into wheelbarrows. 

After plucking, we took the birds to the two tables she had set up for cleaning.  She had two huge stainless steel bowls on the table that she put more hot water in. Her boy showed us how they cut off the feet and the result looked like a store bought roasting chicken.  She then "bathed" the meaties, cleaning off any dirty spots on the skin and getting the rest of the pin feathers that had been missed.  After their bath, she cut a small amount of skin away from the neck, exposing the top parts of the breast, and took out the crop (she called it their feed sack).

She then cuts off pieces around the tail, and the tail itself, and the innards were pulled out and dropped into a slop bucket. We chose not to keep any of the gizzards, etc even though Ilene was explaining to her son that some people eat them as delicacies (not us!). 

So the first 9 chickens were plucked, and the plan was to skin the other 9.

 Ilene sent B and I down with her son to chop off more heads. B and I took turns holding the birds as her son chopped. 12 years old and he was a little pro!!

On the last 3 birds, Ilene sent Becca and I down to do the birds!

The following conversation:
Me: I'll hold the birds, you chop..
B: You want me to chop???
Me: yep, it's your hatchet - just don't chop me! 

So we begin, I hold the bird, B positions the head between the nails on the stump...she aims, she raises the hatchet, she comes down and....and....

what is this a rubber chicken?!   I'm not kidding that hatched BOUNCED back off that neck like it hit rubber!  The chicken is kicking and squawking - with a small sever in one side of it's neck!!

I'm laughing! I'm trying to hold onto to a kicking, flapping, and squawking chicken, and B takes another whack at it.....and ONLY CUTS HALF THE NECK!!!

I'm laughing even harder, chicken is flapping even harder, and I just couldn't hold the dumb bird any longer....he drops to the ground, still attached to the stump by a shred of his neck.

They say third time is the charm....

B chops it again, and succeeds in fully severing the head....except....except....Aly is no longer holding the bird and the headless chicken is now chasing B!!!!!!!!!!!!

At this point, I'm doubled over in laughter. We can hear Ilene from the top of the hill and all 7 of her children laughing. 

B is running backwards away from the headless bird, that's managed to pretty much stay right at her feet!! chasing her still.  B's screaming but I don't remember what she was saying, because my own laughter was roaring in my ears.

Poor B!! She nearly tripped over the kids' swingset, with that bird still coming for her! 

I finally rescued her from her headless attacker, while still emitting giggles and chuckles...carried the bird by it's feet (that were fat and gross) and set him off to the side.

I turned to B and said, "You hold, I'll chop."


We finished all the birds around 10:30 pm, packed them up, and took them back to B's to be soaked over night in ice water.

It was a great experience, was a lot of fun, and I think if B and I decide to do something like this again, I can definitely chop off the heads.  lol

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