Tag Archives: raising chickens

Homemade Chicken Soup

I love cooking a whole chicken in the oven, it takes longer but it’s juicer and then you can make soup afterwards! Pulling a whole chicken out of the oven and carving it up, makes dinner feel like an occasion, it’s a great one for company. Especially if you can tell them a few months ago the chicken was running around your yard, it’s something I can do for the first time.
I know at least four people who were vomiting for at least 24 hours last week. One of them was my partner who didn’t leave the couch for a whole day; he¬†was begging for gingerale and chicken noodle soup when I got home from work. Lucky for him I’ve been keeping homemade chicken broth in the freezer.
Ever wonder why chicken noodle soup is what a lot of people want when they are feeling ill? I learned some of the energetics of food, when you consider the energy that is in your food as it grows and you are what you eat. Chickens are light, move quickly, and have a lot of bounce in their step. You want some of that energy when you’re feeling sick.
Chicken Soup
Broth:
After having a whole roasted chicken for dinner, put the carcass, bones, skin, and any meat you’re not going to eat into a slow cooker (or croc pot). Add enough water to cover the carcass, set it to cook over night for as long as the longest setting allows. Mine will cook for 10 hours. You will have the best chicken broth in the morning full of good healthy fat and nutrients. Once finished, with a slotted spoon remove all the bones.
Now you have concentrated chicken broth, if you are not going to make soup right away, put it into containers and freeze it until you want chicken soup.
Chicken Soup:
You can have whatever you like in chicken soup, if you want onions, I would saute them in a little olive oil before adding the broth. For plain chicken noodle soup, put the broth in a pot (frozen or not) add equal amount of water. Once the soup comes to a boil (if it’s frozen everything is melted) add your noodles of choice. I like egg noodles in chicken soup. Add salt and pepper, once the noodles are cooked it’s ready to enjoy.
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My First Backyard Chicken Butcher

I killed, cleaned and ate my first chicken from my backyard, in total it took about an hour. It was much better not having to do it alone, my brother Anthony and I watched a few How To videos on You Tube. We had been talking about it for a couple of weeks, it had to be done as soon as possible.

We had 11 chickens and 5 of them were Roosters. I’m brand new at raising backyard chickens, my best friend wanted to hatch chicks with her kids so we agreed on 2 dozen eggs, knowing they would not all hatch. They brought us 13 chicks at 4 weeks old. We lost 2 the first day, that’s a long story.

Last week a couple of the roosters ganged up on one and killed a rooster. That’s when we really thought it was time to deal with the roosters. The hen’s are old enough to lay eggs and they haven’t started yet, I think it’s because of the mean roosters, they pick on them too.

We prepared ourselves to butcher the roosters. We picked an area out of the way and set up a table, ran the hose, found a big pot, and Anthony made a cone out of metal and tape and drilled it to a tree. It seemed the easiest way we saw in the videos to slit the throat and let the blood drain.

We were chasing chickens in every direction in the back yard, it was the meanest chicken I really wanted to get. Cornered him and caught him, he gave up really easily. He laid on ground when there was no where else to go and once I grabbed his feet and carried him upside down to the site the struggle was over, he was calm.

The cone wasn’t really the right size, his head didn’t come out the end like it was supposed to. Anthony loosened the cone until the head stuck out. We both said thank you for the sacrifice. Anthony cut the throat, from the front. Once the cut was made the body jolted around with enough force to bust through the tape holding the cone together, but it wasn’t that secure since we were adjusting the size. Anthony picked it up and just held it over the a bucket, he asked me to cut the head off the rest of the way.

My heart was beating really hard. We had done it, now we had to prepare it to eat. It was also our dinner plan.

I boiled the pot of water on the stove, it was still too hot. 145 degrees F is what we wanted, to not burn ourselves while pulling the feathers. We added water from the hose until the temperature was right. Dunked the whole body for 10 seconds, shook the water off gently, dunked it again for another few seconds, started pulling the feathers. They came out real easy, there is just a lot of them. When you think about eating it, there is more desire to do a good job and really clean it up.

The actual butchering was the hardest part. Disconnecting the feed sack was a real challenge, everything feels slimy inside and we didn’t really know what we were feeling for to loosen it up and disconnect. The videos made it look really easy. We made all the right cuts, until it came to the rear end, the very first slice cut the poop tube. The thing the video said not to do. We just cut more around it and reached further down to pull it out, without contamination. I reached in and pulled all the guts and organs out, Anthony said he couldn’t fit his hand in, I could just get my hand in and it was tight and the body was warm. I scrapped and pulled the best that I could, identifying the organs as they were coming out.

We tuned on the BBQ and cut it into pieces, figuring it would be best to cook it in pieces so we can get inside and see how we did. I did pretty well at getting the insides out, but not perfect there were still some unidentifiable guts inside, but all the organs had been removed.

We ate our BBQ chicken with roasted potatoes from our garden and a salad with greens all from the garden.

I never appreciated a meal more. The chicken was amazing and I felt good about doing this myself. This chicken lived its best life, and followed its natural course. I thought about some of the people who told me they could never actually kill and butcher a chicken, but they eat meat. That doesn’t seem fair. I feel like I just earned my right to eat good well taken care of chicken.

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