From Farm to Table: Butchering and Slow Cooking Homegrown Meat Birds

On Sunday we had to butcher one of our meat birds that unfortunately injured his leg and could no longer walk. The sole purpose of a Giant Cornish chicken is to be able to grow them quickly over a shorter period of time. These chickens can reach their finished weight within 12-14 weeks. Less if you prefer a smaller bird. But the downfall is they can grow too big too fast and sometimes that leads to broken bones, or other injuries, even death.

We butcher all our own birds and here’s our process:

We prefer the cone method for our birds. You hang them upside down, pull their head through the bottom and off with their head. We then let them hang out for a bit and wait for them to stop moving, reflexes and such. This makes for less mess. 

We then take them over to the scalding pot. We allow the water to reach 150F so that it makes plucking go smoother. When scalding you submerge long enough that their thick blood feathers in the wing or tail can be plucked with little to no effort. Think of checking a pineapple for ripeness. 

Now you are ready for plucking. Last year we skinned all our chickens vs plucking because hand plucking is awful and very time consuming. This year we invested in a plucker and boy has it sped things up! Here is the plucker we have:

We only just bought this plucker in June and so far we have already used it on 7 turkeys, 24 ducks and about 20 ish chickens… about 100 more to go. It made processing these birds so easy and quick! It works great! If you’ve ever had to pluck or skin a duck you’ll know what I mean. We’ve also rented it out a few times at $50 /day, tons of people are looking to rent them out and we have almost recouped half the cost so far. But it’s worth every penny regardless. 

Here are some tips we have come up with since using it to process our birds:

- Make sure you scald your birds at 150F, less will not work. It’s hard to try and scald a second time once you’ve already started plucking. You can cause damage to the skin. 

- Once in the plucker don’t leave it in there unattended. Chicken skin is thin and can rip easily. You may also need to cut their feet off if they frequently get stuck. 

- Place a bowl or shallow bucket underneath to catch the feathers. Cleaning up feathers seems to be just as hard to clean up as glitter on your carpets, I swear! 

- Pitboss smoker covers fit perfectly to cover the plucker. Good for storage and transporting. 

- Buy one and rent it out. Recoup your costs and your plucker is now free. 

- When cleaning; the drum comes apart from the base. It can be rinsed with a hose. Let the two pieces sit and dry and then wipe it down after; I find there seems to be a residue left once dried… I’m assuming it’s from the oils of the birds. Also safety first; the lip at the top of the drum is very sharp underneath. Ouch! 

Now that your chicken is feather free you’ll need to gut him, remove the neck if you prefer and the feet if you haven’t already. We don’t waste any parts of the chicken. The heads, necks, feet and organs we sell to the raw feeders dog food groups. They use everything! And will pay good money!

So what did we do with our guy. We roasted him for Sunday dinner! In the crockpot he went for 5 hours, then added some canned potatoes and carrots from our canning cupboard, garlic, butter and out favourite spices and then cooked him for another 30 minutes. YUM! 

I scooped out all the veggies, took the chicken off the bones and returned the scraps to the slow cooker. I added more carrots, half an onion and celery. Filled the crock pot 3/4 of the way full. Set it on low for 20 hours and by monday afternoon we had some flavourful chicken broth. I drained out all the liquid, put it into jars and canned it. 

And that’s it. Now we get to process about 70 more meat birds in the next couple weeks, part them out and stock up our freezers. Finally reaping the reward for the hard work that went into looking after these birds for the last 3 months. It’s exhausting but worth it in the end, works out to free chicken for us. 

Click on the images below to view our Tiktok montage:


If you’d like to know more about how we raise our meat on our homestead for free follow along. I’ll be sharing all our secrets. 

Take Care.


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