Sunday, 12 October 2008

Chicken for dinner

My Girls have a lovely life, and I started to wonder whether I could have a couple of chickens for meat. Obviously I would go for a meat breed, and they would be kept separately from my Girls but still have a lovely free range life. Having the Eglu vacant makes this more of a possibility now.

But I'm a wuss. Would I be able to do the deed, and deal with the chicken afterwards?

Well, Alison from Hook Farm (who supplied Milly and Jasmine) was running a course on how to kill and prepare chickens, so DH and I signed up.

It was an interesting few hours. Both DH and I killed a chicken each, which I did find difficult but I'm really pleased that I now know how to do it humanely (having discovered recently that so called "humane dispatchers" are anything but!).

Then we had to pluck. DH and I shared a chicken to pluck. He did 2/3rds or so, I found it harder to do than I anticipated.

Then we put those birds away for later in the week and Alison produced some she had killed and plucked earlier for us to deal with. This is because you need to leave your dead chicken in tact for a few days before attempting to gut.

I would have been happy to take gut the bird and take it home for roasting. Or maybe to quarter it. However, the plan was to completely debone it. DH did this, I couldn't do it. I could have quartered it and deboned the quarters, but I couldn't cope with this deboning. It was, however, a really good learning exercise. The deboned chicken looked a bit like a babygro.

So, we took the "Blue Peter" chicken home and stuffed and rolled it for dinner. The chicken that I had killed we took home, left it out of the bag to cool down and dry out, then put it back in the bag in the fridge to mature. Unfortunately rigormortis set in, and we'd left the legs elongated, so we ended up putting it in our large salad box.

It was a very educational day. I haven't decided yet whether I could raise my own meat birds, I'll think about that some more after we've gutted this one later in the week.

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