- The end-product should be useful. The children should not “be employed in making futilities such as pea and stick work, paper mats, and the like.”
- Teach the children “slowly and carefully what they are to do.”
- Emphasize the habit of best effort. “Slipshod work should not be allowed.”
- Carefully select handicrafts and life skills to challenge but not frustrate. “The children’s work should be kept well within their compass.”
(taken from Home Education, p. 315)”
It was a very educational day for children and adults alike. We began the season with 26 birds and ended up with 19. One chicken was butchered last weekend as a test run to see if this was something
we the boys were up for. It was terrible! Practically inedible it was so tough. But the process seemed like something he could handle and we didn’t want to invest anymore money in chickens that would end up in the soup pot. We thought we might find the solution to the tough meat in different ways of “dispatching” of them, but we found that when they were dipped in boiling water to loosen the feathers for plucking, they were stiffening up and even beginning to cook! We lost 2 birds because of partially cooked meat, taking our total down to 17. The remainder of the chickens had their skin removed, which eliminated the need for plucking and saved a great deal of time.
In all 17 chickens yielded 9 1/2 pounds of breast meat, 13 pounds of leg/dark meat, and 4 whole chickens came to 16 pounds.
The prices that my grocery store charges for their “all-natural” chicken are:
$6.59/lb. boneless skinless breast meat ($63.00)
$2.29/lb. dark meat ($30.45)
$ 2.00/lb. whole chicken ($32.00)
Total invested: $129.76
(This includes chicks, starter, feed, paper for under brooder, and a hanging waterer. The chicken tractor and all supplies to butcher were made from materials we already had.)
Life Skills: Priceless
Would we do it again? The jury is still out on that one. While there are 7 really great reasons to learn to butcher your own meat, Bill had his fill of all things chicken today so we had a meatless meal for supper. If we didn’t solve the tough bird problems by not boiling them and they are still tough, we will definitely not raise broilers again! It may be worth it simply for the instilling of work ethic in my sons, the knowledge of what is going into our food, and the educational aspects of raising poultry. If paying for the butchering is cost prohibitive and time doesn’t dull Bill’s memory, I imagine that this may have been a valuable one-time lesson for my children about where their food comes from.
I’m very proud of the worktable that my husband fashioned for this project. It alone was worth today simply so that my sons learn ingenuity and how to be resourceful. All materials used for the processing table were found laying around, which further decreased the cost of raising the birds.