Jul 19, 2012

From the coop to the pot

Months ago we purchased baby chicks from the local farm store.  Shortly after that I went to buy feed and was give 6 more chicks for free.  For the last 13ish weeks we have had a dozen birds growing just out the back door.  We knew that 6 would be hens for sure, we bought them knowing.  The freebies though?  Well we've just been waiting to see how the dice fell.  Turns out it fell firmly in the rooster category.  All 6 chicks became 6 large roosters.  This is a problem for our small flock especially since it was these colorful birds that the kids choose to adopt as pets.

Monday found us with the dilemma of do we try to get rid of at least 3 of the roosters or do we stock the freezer with those 3 birds.  Hmm tough choice, okay not really.  Dean rounded up the necessary tools for the job and went to work.  I spent the time picking 1/2 gallon of peas and prepping for the incoming chickens.

In the beginning.....

At the end....

In the pot(s)...


Added to the pot....

Left over from the pot...


The end result....



(Excuse the last two crappy pictures.  It was late at night)

After the chickens were butchered (we took notes from this video series) I put them in the crock pots.  I let them cook all day.  After they were finished I shredded all the meat and put it in the freezer.  Then I added water, seasonings, vinegar and some vegetables to the drippings left in the pans.  I also added all the bones as well as the chicken feet (cleaned not dirty like the picture).  I let that cook all night long.  The next morning I poured the stock into jars and let them cool in the fridge.  During the cooling all the fat rose to the top of the jar (see picture above).  Last  night I scooped all the fat off with plans to heat it all and can it.  However my pressure canner had other ideas so now the stock is in the freezer instead.  The last picture shows just how thick this broth was once it was cooled.  I had head that adding the feet made a huge difference in the broth consistency.  They weren't kidding!  I had to scoop it out because it was not going to pour!

I would have preferred the chickens to have been hens but since that was not the case, this was a good 2nd choice.  The kids were a little troubled with it and are okay if we take a chicken dinner hiatus.  However it gave us a great opportunity to talk about the real food cycle and just where our food comes from.  The kids have always known how vegetables come to be but I don't think they fully understood meat until this week.  Even though they don't want chicken for dinner tonight they have mentioned that they think raising our own meat in the future is a good idea.  Their simple reason, "Mom this just tastes better!".  Agreed.


this post part of the barn hop, simple lives, and frugal days



Kristel from Healthy Frugalista said...

I just got home from helping (sort of) butcher chickens and brought home a bag of feet, livers and hearts they were throwing away. I'd like to raise a few meat chickens so I went to observe and see if I thought I could handle the butchering process.

Dani said...

Oh my goodness, bless your kiddos' hearts! Yes, it's good for them, and they'll get over it and want real food from their own love before you know it. Would that I could raise chickens myself, but living in town, with all their silly restrictions, I find myself quoting Joel Salatin: Everything I want to do is illegal, and yes, that means having back yard chickens. They'd be so fat and happy right now, with all the grasshoppers that have been eating my garden, too!

And those chicken bones? If you still have 'em, I'd make another batch of broth. I make repeated batches until it doesn't gel anymore. Flavor gets weaker every batch, but there's still lots of good mineral content in them!