Tips on how to process birds for food

After just harvesting 25 chickens and 1 turkey… i thought I might share some thoughts I have on it.
First off, i havw been doing this since I was a kid… so 40 something years and I still do not get it right with every bird!
Second, i process for meat :meat_on_bone: not how it looks. Ill explain more in a bit.
First off, i keep my birds calm as possible.
This is IMPORTANT…
The number one way I do this is the catch them and cradle them in my arms… my birds are all friendly so this is the easy part.
Now, i turn mine upside down… this freaks them out, so here is the trick.
When you grab their legs, hold their head straight down.
Once they have the blood rush, they relax.
Next I have a setup. I have a small rope with a sinch loop. I secure both feet, then I use a razor sharp knife to slit both sides of their neck, just till the blood flows. Usually just under the jaw. I do NOT cut their wind pipe!
Once dead…
I use hot water to soak the birds about 15 seconds. Longer on more fluffy birds.
Wear good gloves… the water should be hot enough to burn you… :fire:
Plucking is a dirty job. I use more if a rubbing action than a pull. If the skin tears, i do not care. Again… i want meat.
But I try not to tear the skin.
If you soak them too long, the skin becomes very easy to tear!
Practice… it is a technique…
Ok, so on butchering…
I use a cleaver to remove the head and legs at the ankle. (Standard location, know anatomy)
What I do next may not be the norm…
I slught down the craw on both sides so I can pull down and remove the crop, tracia
Next i cut a square around the vent. This takes a bit of practice. You wnat to cut through the muscles and tendons, not the intestines!
(See photos)
From there I take hold of the birds in my right hand on the back, supporting the wings. I reach up inside with 2 fingers getting ahold of the gizzard. I pull down.
This removed the guts… i hang on to the gizzard and toss that into the sink. Next is the heart… I save that.
By this time, most everything is removed…
To get the lungs :lungs: i use my finger to traced down along the rib case towards the spine. (Chicken is still in my right hand breast up)
Hooking the lungs, i simply ease them to the center then pull down. This is tricky… other birds like a turkey are easier… quail are VERY hard, I use a spoon!
From their i use the faucet and pug the birds in, flushing the cavity using my hand to help clear anything out.
With my hens… I did 10 today… i had 7 eggs so be careful not to break them. They are perfectly fine.
So next i stretch out the legs to get them to relax. I vacuum packed all of them and then give them 15 days before eating. My birds are free range and are chewy if I do not let them sit that long!!!

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Birds beheaded and “feet” removed. Be careful… i cut myself… LOL
Next is the V cut on each side of the craw… this allows eaiser removal.
Oh! I do not feed the birds I am going to harvest for 2 day…





Next is the square cut around the vent… then to pull out the guts. I save the liver only to feed back to the chickens after I cook them.



Next is the clean out… :ok_hand: :raised_hands: easy to do…



The gizzard needs to be “pealed” i do this by cuting into one side but not too far. Just through the muscle then the white lining… the brown lining is what is removed. If you are careful, you can remove it without making a mess.

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Remember most everything is actually usable…
I feed the heads off to my catfish… LOL :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:
You can save the fat and any undeveloped eggs and eat them, use the fat in cooking.



Next is the vacuum packing… i double seal the dry end first. I have it down on how much self made bag length I need.
Here is a tip… pack the birds in legs down… makes for much easier sealing. Remember bending those legs? Make it look like a Thanksgiving turkey :turkey: and they will fit right into the bags. Save on those materials!
I also double seal the now “wet” end to make sure they stay vacuum packed…




I will vacuum pack the gizzards and hearts separately for smaller meals. Depends on how I am feeling. Lable everything and get it into the freezer!

Oh, another thing I do… i only use cold water in processing… i wnat that body to cool off as fast as possible :sunglasses:

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Do any get froze right away?

Nice write up :+1:

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Good info, thanks for sharing that. :+1:

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Thanks for the write up! We butcher our own chickens, deer, hogs and steers. Always nice to see how everyone else does theirs…

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Yep, i will freeze up right away.

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Poor belt fed will never see it coming

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3 years @1684zach

Welcome back :partying_face: :partying_face:

And as a thank you to @RogueGunnWorks for your great post we’ll be forwarding @Belt-Fed 's GOTM check to you!

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(conditions apply)

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Thanks @Robert, I don’t post a lot, but it’s definitely not been 3yrs! I read up on the forum just about every day. I’m more of a lurker, like to learn from others :grin:; kinda like the Mark Twain quote “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

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If you’re quoting Mark Twain then we need to hear more from you

Hell, beats the Ozzy I generally quote :rofl:

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you can quote any body but belt fed that is where we draw the line .

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