Butchering day was a great success! Everything went without a hitch, I didn’t have to help, they got done before the heat of the day and I was able to shoot a bit of video & images to show you our chicken butchering set-up.
These birds were the best looking and best tasting!!! ones we’ve done so far! I’m not exaggerating when I say that the subtle depth of flavor and perfect tender texture made this the best chicken I believe I’ve ever eaten! It was neither stringy or tough as our meat birds in the past have been nor mushy like a supermarket bird. I was somewhat concerned that, as an active bird, the meat would be very tough as a result of not living a sedentary life. I know that “they” say you’re chickens and hogs should have little to no exercise to prevent tough meat. How happy I am to see that is not the case!
It was grilled using Tammy’s new recipe, so I cannot entirely credit the bird having never sampled another bird grilled using that exact method, but our homegrown birds in years past required all day in a crockpot to be brought to an edible stage so I think that alone speaks volumes.
Our Chicken Butchering Set-Up
(I apologize for the vertical video. Oops. Can’t go back and reshoot it now, can I?)
To see our recommended chicken butchering supplies see this post HERE.
Freedom Ranger Cost Analysis
Cost of 50 Chicks: $106.00
Cost of 1,050 lbs. Feed: $313.81
Original Flock: 50 birds
Losses: 19 Birds (3 leg issues @ 3 weeks, 14 predator attacks, & 2 infections @ harvest)
Harvested Meat: 171 lbs. 8 oz.
Average Weight Per Bird: 5 lbs. 5 oz.
Average Price Per Bird: $13.54
Average Price Per Pound: $2..45/lb.
Cost of Local, Ranged Broiler: $3.25/lb.
With the 3 week old White Mountain Broiler chicks in the brooder ready to hit the pasture any day and almost half of their short life already expired, I’ll be back in about a month to tell you all about how they stack up to their Freedom Ranging cousins.
(Update: See that post here. And the results of our side-by-side taste test here.)
Dee Johnson says
Great video, thanks! I love the chicken plucker, table and cooler. We had some roosters and hens given to us a while ago. We bought more hens and butchered the roosters (all but one, who is blind and has become our pet, lol). We want to raise and butcher our own meat chickens. I’ll have to show this video to my husband. I’m sure he’ll love the table and cooler. We want to build a chicken plucker and he might be able to build a table similar to what you have as well. Make sure your husband saves the feet next time, lol. I saved mine and put them in the freezer for when I make bone broth. The first two roosters we roasted (hubby couldn’t wait, lol) and they were very stringy and dry. The other two we cooled in the fridge for a couple of days before we froze them, so hopefully when I cook them in the crockpot they will be more tender. I found your site through Pinterest, looking for a good recipe for my roosters (old hen in parsley sauce recipe). We have 8 children and a new grand baby (so I enjoyed seeing and hearing your kids in the video). It’s great that you let your kids watch and help in the butchering process, we do too. We live in a rural town, but are both from the city, so this is pretty new to us (hubby grew up outside the city and hated farming and raising chickens, lol). Love your blog and will be following you. God bless!
Jennifer Lightfoot Fountain says
I’m so impressed! And terrified! 🙂 I’m guessing the cost to have them processed would eliminate the cost savings, hmm?
That’s always been my thought on it. Until this year (so far) we’ve had fairly high losses for one reason or another and I couldn’t think to add another $50+ to the expenses. Rumor was that there was a local guy who would do it for a buck a bird too. Why someone would do that job for that cheap, I can’t fathom. Must have been a real whiz at it or valued his labor at less than minimum wage. :/
Wow! This was so incredible! The video was exactly what I have been looking for. We are planning to get chickens next year and are trying to learn as much as possible. I loved seeing the entire process. Thank you!
You’re welcome! 🙂 I’m glad you found it helpful!!
Hi, I just watched your video and while I am so grateful for it and showing the whole process, I found myself wishing that your son was a little more loving with the bird as he takes it to the killing cone. I have chickens and … I don’t know. People tend to get comfortable and when they do, sometimes they can get a little rough. Don’t hate me for being critical.
We’ve been thinking about raising meat birds and this was an excellent video for those considering the same. It gave me a very good understanding of what’s involved and the time required to process each bird. The key learning for me was that if one wants to raise meat birds, it doesn’t make sense to do just a dozen birds primarily because there’s a lot of work involved in the set up. Thanks very much.
Real glad it was helpful! 🙂
The Soft Landing Sisters says
Really amazing setup! We have to have one of the plucking machines.Thanks for sharing
Thanks! 🙂 We do love that plucker! On butchering day this year, we had the opportunity to notice that our neighbor was butchering a few from his flock as we were doing ours. We were outpacing him 7 to 1. It’s no surprise then that during his next go around he asked if he could borrow it then, is it? 😉
Wow, I have plucked a chicken before. By hand and I’m pretty sure it was without scalding it. It was 30 years ago though so I’m not sure. So yeah your plucking machine looks like black magic to me 😀
Thanks for the video!
One year we butchered chickens the same day as our Amish neighbor and watched as we did chicken after chicken after chicken after chicken after chicken while he plucked just one by hand… guess who asked to borrow the plucker next time 😉 It’s a pretty awesome tool!