This blog post is all about processing chickens. We plan to add meat chickens to our farm and were curious to see what kind of methods and equipment other small flock farmers are using to process their chickens. There really is no way around it….getting our healthy, pasture raised chickens to the dinner table involves dispatching them quickly and humanely, and is the last (and very important) step in producing a high quality product that you will come to us for again and again. (I won’t go into all the factory farming and mass-production slaughtering issues here. There are plenty of videos out there for you to Google. Suffice it to say that chickens raised on our farm and processed with compassion by our own hands will ensure a very high quality product for our friends’ dinner tables.)
Back in the beginning of February, Farmer Bob and I went to a hands-on poultry processing workshop at Goat Daddy’s Farm near Columbia, South Carolina. It was a cold day…the best kind of day for a class like this. Josh and Jason, the farmers, raise Black Austrolorp chickens, which are a dual purpose bird. That means that the hens are good egg layers and the roosters are good meat birds.
Here are Jason and Josh. Their farm has been inspected by the state (as ours has been) and they currently sell whole chickens they have processed to the public every Sunday afternoon. They did a demo first, and were entertaining as well as informative. We were happy to see that they stressed cleanliness in processing.
Here is Josh with one of his chickens, all dressed and ready to go into the ice water to quick-chill.
Here’s Josh and his mom, Pam, who is a good friend of mine. She’s a fellow beekeeper and quilter, so we have a lot of fun together.
We dispatched the chickens quickly, using cones to hold them, and they were relaxed and their passing was peaceful and painless. There is a world of difference between the life these chickens had and the chickens that are factory farmed and mass processed by the thousands. I’m sure you’ve seen some of the videos coming out of those places.
Here’s the contact information for Goat Daddy’s farm. Even if you don’t want to do a workshop there, it’s a great place to visit.
803-394-8891 / 803-605-3286
144 Tomahawk Trail
Elgin, SC 29045
Hours: Every Sunday – Noon till 4pm