(This is Rebekah - below)
(This is Vivian - above)
(This is me - above and that is the finished product in the top right corner)
(These are the roosters we butchered. Rhode Island Reds)
We did it!!!! We actually butchered 26 roosters. George and Vivian did most of the work, but Rebekah and I were helping the whole way through. I know now that I never want to butcher chickens again. BUT, I am happy to know I could if I had to. It was even more disgusting than I thought it would be. I am so glad George killed them all. I just couldn't do that. For the most part Rebekah and I plucked. I singed the skin with a blow torch to get the pin feathers off. My husband even helped, even though he said he was going to go out somewhere while we were doing it. Larry went to the barn to get 4 birds at a time as we needed them. That saved us a lot of time running back and forth. I was very grateful to him for that. Vivian gutted them. I thought that gutting would be the worst part, but I got brave and cleaned the last one, and do you know what? It wasn't bad at all! In fact, I wish I had been doing that instead of plucking. It's not slimy and gross in there like I thought it would be. It was, for the most part, dry and warm. I liked the warmth after having my hands in the cold water as I put the cleaned roosters in it.
We started at 6am sharp and finished at 10am. I spent another 5 hours cleaning the skin more and putting them in bags and finally, in the freezer. I didn't know what the brown spots were all over the skin. I finally looked it up on the Internet and found out that with dark feathered birds there will be a "ink" left in the skin, but disappears when it is cooked. And it supposedly doesn't change the taste. I spent 45 mins on 1 bird trying to get it all off. I wasn't so picky after I found out what it was.
All the birds weighed between 2.5 - 3.25 lbs, with the drumsticks removed. My family likes Shake-and -bake drumsticks, so that is why we took them off. I was happy with their size. I was aiming for 3-4lbs and including drumsticks and that's what we got.
All in all it was a huge learning experience raising roosters for meat. I will let you all know how the meat tastes - in about 6 months when I can hopefully bring myself to eat them!