By Lisa Marie Stahl
Ive had a really hectic week. This week was butcher week at our colony. Were trying to get our butchering done while the weather is nice and there are good outdoor working conditions, because a portion of the work is done outside.
As Ive probably mentioned before, not only do we butcher our own meat, we also raise it.
Poultry was on the agenda this week. On Monday morning, bright and early, we started butchering our chickens.
This project starts by chopping their heads off. Once theyre brought to the slaughterhouse, they are put in a kettle of hot water. The kettle has a special crank which rotates the chickens for several minutes.
Then they are put into a machine called a plucker which removes the feathers.
After this, theyre transferred to a table where the older men and women gut them out and clean out the insides. When the cleaning process is finished, theyre put in large tubs of ice water so all the body heat can go out.
The next day, we cut them up, package them, and freeze them.
On Wednesday, we butchered our geese. This is one job which requires a lot of physical labor, and also speed.
Geese are steamed to remove their feathers, unlike chickens which are put into hot water. We have a special steamer which we use for both ducks and geese.
After theyre steamed for about three and a half minutes, we pluck all their feathers. Now this job requires speed because one set of geese have to be finished by the time the next set is ready. Also, its too hard to try removing the feathers if the goose cools off after being steamed, so you have to be fast.
The rest of the butchering process with the geese is the same as the chicken. Theyre gutted and put into ice water so all the body heat can escape.
On Thursday, we cut them up and packaged them, also.
Our ducks were butchered about a month ago. Their lifecycle isnt as long as of a goose. Ducks dont get as big as geese, either (thank goodness).
Though ducks and geese come from the same family, Id rather pick to work with the ducks. Since theyre smaller and have fewer feathers, they arent as hard to work with and the whole butchering project goes so much faster.
Butcher week passes with squawks and feathers
Published: Friday, October 15th, 1999
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