Last year one of my friends raised chickens to order so I got some beautiful, heritage chickens from them. This year they moved into town and couldn’t raise meat chickens so I talked my Dad into getting some :)
The cute little fuzz balls came in early June, I love that McMurray Hatchery throws in an extra chick for fun… this little guy has some great personality among all the other chickens. Because my Dad didn’t have a good spot to house the chickens for a long time we went with the Jumbo Cornish X Rocks since this hybrid grows so fast.
They have been hanging out in the bottom of my parent’s greenhouse. One of the other nice things about this breed is you can butcher them when they are smaller to get a “Cornish Game Hen.”
My Mom likes the small size for making dinner for two so we butchered 6 of the birds when they were 4 weeks old. Here’s the set up we used:
Besides the beautiful birds I kept the tasty offal (heart, liver, gizzard & feet). I kept all the giblets separated into type so I actually have enough of one item to make something with. With the feet I submerged each one in hot water (just before a simmer) for 1 minute, cooled them for a second in cold water, peeled off the dark yellow skin & pinched off the outer nail.
Then I froze them on a cookie sheet so they stay separate and I can easily grab a couple to throw into my stock after I roast a chicken. The feet add a lot of gelatin, calcium and nutrients to stock so why wouldn’t I keep them? :)
With my Dad and I working together it went really smoothly and I could keep everything super clean. Their cold well water made for easy cooling after scalding & plucking the birds. Next weekend we’ll do another 6 birds so by the end of processing we’ll have small, medium & large birds in the freezer. Yum!