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A Feathered Farewell Farm Fiasco: Preparing to Butcher our Chickens

Howdy there, friends! Gather ’round the virtual campfire as we regale you with the epic tale of our upcoming Chicken Butchering Extravaganza! Grab your popcorn (chicken) and prepare for a poultry adventure like no other, all guided by the sage wisdom of the legendary master of chicken processing, Joel Salatin.

That’s right… we are getting ready to process our pasture raised chickens – for the very first time – this Saturday (EEK!).

As the big day approaches, our excitement is rivaled only by our nervousness. We’ve watched Joel’s video on chicken butchering more times than we’d like to admit (you may want to finish reading my post before watching for yourself).

We may not be butchering pros, but with determination and a sprinkle of family charm, we’re ready to cluck our way to victory! The whole family will be partaking in preparing our chickens for freezer camp. We’ve got our roles down to a clucking science…

Picture this: a flock of clueless cluckers, blissfully unaware of their impending farewell fiesta. Little do they know they’re in for a day of chicken karaoke, feathered fashion shows, and perhaps a pageant to crown the “Miss Cluckity-Cluck” of the day (all of which will make more sense after you watch the butchering video). Our chickens might think we’ve gone completely cuckoo, but we know it’ll be a featherific celebration they won’t soon forget (well, actually, they will).

First up will be our Chicken Retrieval Squad – our expert chicken catchers, Charleigh & Bryant. Think of it as a chicken-themed episode of “Dancing with the Farm Stars.” These cluckers may be nimble, but Charleigh & Bryant are determined to give them a run for their feed!

But it’s not just about the chicken-catching championship; there’s also the heartfelt aspect of our grand adventure. We’ve raised these cluckers from tiny fluffballs, and as we prepare to bid them farewell, there’s a mix of pride and sadness in our hearts. They’ve been more than just chickens; they’ve been our quirky companions. Saying goodbye isn’t easy. They’ll always hold a special place in our hearts (well, except for the one mean rooster. I actually won’t miss him at all, and I imagine he’s going to taste the best).

After the kiddos gather up the birds, Brent – our resident chicken whisperer – will be in charge of the final farewell for our cluckers. Armed with a kill cone and sharp knife, he’ll ensure a humane and respectful send-off.

Next up, Brayden will be handling the scalding and feather plucker machine duties. Think of him as our clucker spa manager, making sure our feathered friends are squeaky clean and ready for their grand exit.

No cute photo here – Brayden doesn’t like holding the chickens! Or having his photo taken if it’s not for his snap steaks!

Now, let’s not forget the dynamic duo of Jalena (that’s me) and Mikayla, our family’s evisceration experts (pshhh)! With steady hands (at least we can hope) and a whole lot of bravery, we’ll be taking on the critical task of gutting the chickens like seasoned pros. *If you don’t know me personally, I probably should have pre-warned you that I love sarcasm, if you couldn’t already tell* As we watch Joel Salatin’s video for the umpteenth time, we can’t help but chuckle at the thought of our upcoming attempts to mimic his graceful butchering techniques. Let’s just say our cuts will probably resemble abstract art more than culinary masterpieces. But hey, they say cooking is an art, and we’re going to Picasso our way through this chicken ballet.

After all the clucking chaos, it’s time for the grand finale – the ice water bath. A refreshing dip for our freshly processed cluckers to cool off and say farewell to their feathered past.

And just like that, we’ll be one step closer to enjoying the fruits of our labor – homegrown, lovingly prepared chicken! Thanks to our teamwork and a dash of Salatin-inspired finesse, we’ll be storing our poultry in shrink wrap bags fit for a professional chef.

But this adventure isn’t just about the process; it’s about the bond we share as a homesteading family. We’ll laugh (NO, actually there will probably be more tears than laughter this first time), we’ll learn, and we’ll cherish the memories made during this cluck-tacular escapade (once our inevitable nightmares fade off and we can look back and say “remember that one time, at butchering camp?!”).

The day of the big event is drawing near, and we’re eagerly anticipating the learning opportunity and the fumbling that comes with any homesteading adventure. There might be feathers flying and chicken karaoke gone awry (and I probably won’t want to eat chicken for at least a month after this), but one thing is for sure – it’ll be a day that helps us become better homesteaders. We will be accomplishing our goal of raising and processing our own meat and being able to truly have farm-to-table meals. We will have food security and know EXACTLY where our food came from, what it was fed, that it wasn’t given hormones or any drugs (or grown in a lab), and that it was treated humanely. That’s important to us, so as much as I joked around in this post about our upcoming butchering day, we are all taking this task very seriously and will do what needs to be done in a way that honors our chickens and shows our gratitude to God for blessing us with this opportunity.

Stay tuned as we chronicle our feathered fiasco (we will be video recording all of it) and share the whimsical charm (mostly) that comes with homesteading life.

Happy homesteading, and until our next clucktastic update, may your days be filled with love, laughter, and a whole lot of clucking fun!

XOXO, Jalena Dawn

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