For the Sanctity of Life Part 1

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On October 10 and spilling over a bit into the next day, we slaughtered and processed 32 chickens here on the farm for meat. It was a physically and spiritually intense day and you can read all about it in this post – not for the faint of stomach!

HOW WE DID IT… The first step was to round the birds up in batches and put them in the dog crate for security as they waited their turn. Then, two at a time, we hoisted them by their feet with a secure rope. Jonah did most of the actual killing. With a sharp knife, he severed the arteries and the birds bled onto sawdust on tarps. Jonah thinks the blood splattered on his ladders is kind of cool and he’ll keep it there considering it wont wash off anyway. No wonder they used to paint barns with ox blood. It is a very resilient material.

Next, we rinsed the birds with the hose and then dunked them in hot water to loosen the feathers. We found that a temp of 145-150 degrees F for about 90 seconds was best. When a tail feather slid out easily, we knew the bird was ready.

We created makeshift tables out of sawhorses, planks, and metal roofing. Easy to hose down. On one table we plucked the chickens. The first ones took about 20 minutes each but Leah got it down to 5 or 6 minutes by the time the sun was setting. Then, the bird moved to the next table for evisceration. This was certainly the grossest job and Leah did it all since no one else (ahem) could stomach it. The heads and feet were chopped off. Then, the oil gland was removed. Next, there was a fancy pull that separated the esophogus and trachea from the spine. An incision was made all around the cloaca and then I got to REACH in and pull everything out. If all went well, no organs broke and all I got to experience was hot gooiness. However, if I slipped up – yuck.

Finally, the birds were hosed off and placed in an ice water bath. After chilled, we bagged them, weighed them, and passed them on to our happy friends and customers.