Preparing for Freezer Camp

Our meat chickens are almost ready to go to “Freezer Camp”. I know this is not a pleasant topic but we are concerned about our food source and we would like to control what we are able to control. We also want to be prepared if we need to depend on ourselves for our food source. Jim and I have researched the most humane way to process our meat chickens. We have read many articles and watched videos to help us prepare. We thought out the lay out of each station, reviewed the process, and purchased what we did not already have on hand. Just to make sure we knew what we were doing, we thought a trial run might be in the best interest for all involved. We will post about the process when we document the Road to Freezer Camp at a later time.

We decided that since the roosters are supposed to be ready for harvest a week or so before the hens, a rooster would be the logical choice. We learned somethings during the processing of this chicken.

* Our homemade killing cone was not big enough for our chickens. We decided to make one instead of purchasing one because we are not sure we will do this process again. We will review and discuss everything later.

* The water was hotter than the recommended 150 degrees. We did not think that a couple of degrees would make that much difference……Yes it does!!! The skin was very fragile and tore when we were plucking.

* We also forgot to put dish soap in the scalding pot. Meat chickens are a lot more dirty than our laying hens. Our meat chickens have debris on their bellies.

* When making the access for the removal of the insides, I made it too big.

So while these errors were fresh, I recommended to try again to get it right. The second chicken was processed much more efficiently. After cleaning up, Jim went to collect the eggs from our laying hens and discovered one of the meat chickens was dead. We are not certain why. Once processing this chicken we discovered that there was a lot of dry feed in it’s throat. The chicken was found near the water. Did it choke or have a heart attack? Both of these are good possibilities. The meat chickens are known for having heart attacks and breaking legs when they get closer to harvest time.

We are prepared for next weekend. Jim and I will be able to direct those who choose to help us. More information on some of the articles and videos that we used for research will be included in that post.