By Gwen Roland — Photographed by Preston Roland
Try this easy egg comparison test: The more beneficial carotenoids an egg contains, the darker orange its yolk will be.
Chickens are swiftly and humanely beheaded in cones nailed to trees.
After feathers are plucked, the chickens’ innards are removed, and the birds are put on ice.
Poultry processing really can be easier. If you’re dreading investing the time it will take to ready your birds for the freezer, consider buying or renting special poultry processing equipment that will speed up the time it takes. Elaine Fawcett of Aurora, Oregon, owns Featherman processing equipment and offers it for rent.
“After you’ve plucked a few by hand, you really appreciate how the equipment makes the process more efficient,” she says.
Tiffany Johnson of Vancouver, Washington, encourages renting chicken processing equipment. “Four of us processed our batch of 50 ‘colored range’ chickens in just under five hours,” she says. “After you fumble your way through a couple of birds and learn what works best for you, processing a bird really doesn’t take that long. Especially with the scalder and plucker!”
If there aren’t enough of your chickens or other poultry to justify the purchase of a chicken plucker, scalder or other poultry processing equipment, renting may be your best option. The Featherman Web site, lists people owning equipment who are willing to rent. (We found a Featherman plucker, scalders, kill cones and other poultry processing equipment in our area when we visited the site.) For those raising their own meat, processing it with friends and neighbors has the potential to be a great community-building event.
To learn more about raising chickens for meat, read "Raising Chickens for Meat: Do-It-Yourself Pastured Poultry" at Mother Earth News.