Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Chicken Murderers

Jim is the tall guy in the center.
My husband Jim and 5 other people from our NH Small and Beginning Farmers group processed 50 broiler chickens for the family that had the farm fire last week (click here for that story), coming from as far as 3 hours away. They fondly referred to themselves as "The Chicken Murderers". Since there was no water or electricity at the burned out farm, the chickens were taken to a nearby farm and processed there. 

There are several mobile processing units throughout NH which consist of all the necessary slaughter equipment, cones/scalder/plucker etc., in a small trailer. Members of the group can rent it for a nominal fee, but my guess is that this time was a freebie. The one for that area arrived about 9:30 AM. The stars of the show, the chickens, arrived in a horse trailer around 10. It took a little bit to get the initial equipment set up and water starting to heat. At this time of year, COLD well water requires a LOT longer to heat. While the water heated, the equipment was set up to everyone's liking for the day and everyone visited. There were some great discussions on LGDs (livestock guardian dogs), farm processes, and products. Finally, at 2:30 everything was ready to begin the "dirty deed".

Chicken drying/packaging rack.
Things went very smoothly. Everyone picked out the tasks where they felt comfortable, learning from each other and picking up various "tricks of the trade" in chicken processing. One person brought along his neat chicken drying rack. This is very simple to make - a 2x6 board as long as you need it, sufficient number of short sections (a foot or so) of PVC pipe fastened vertically to the sides and there you go! Bags slip easily over the chickens for packaging. You can bet we'll be making one!

The dispatching/scalding/plucking steps went so smoothly that the eviscerators couldn't keep up. Luckily there were sufficient chill tanks and the weather was cool. By 5:00 the processing was done and clean up began. By 6:00 the equipment was clean, repacked in the trailer and everyone left for their long drives home. Very productive day indeed - 50 chickens were all packed in ice and awaiting pickup by the owner.

Every day we hear in the media about the horrible things happening in the world, but most people are just good folk. Farmers and homesteaders are some of the most helping, caring and compassionate folks I know, always willing to help a neighbor in need. I'm proud to be numbered among them.

BTW, if anyone would like to donate to help this family, just follow this link. Even if you aren't close enough to donate needed items, you can always send a paypal donation to their email address (listed at the link).
Photos courtesy of Lisa Richards
Please leave a comment below. I love hearing from you.


Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing how neighbors help neighbors. I really like the drying/packaging rack. I need to ask my DH to make one of those for me. Would be so handy.

Melanie said...

Hurray for the SBFNH group and this group of people! I love hearing about people helping other people! I'm sure this family was blessed! Thanks for taking pictures & posting them! :) WAY TO GO EVERYONE!

Sandy@American Way Farm said...

Melanie - Lisa Richards took the photos. SBFNH people are the best!

Violet said...

What a great story. And that drying rack is such a great idea!

Have a great weekend!

Moira said...

GREAT blog, Sandy!!

The "new girls" had me cracking up!

Roxie is beautiful!

AMAZING JOB by the SBFNH gang! 50 chickens in less than 4 hours? Incredible!

Melody said...

So good to hear that there are good people left in this world!