The Definitive Chicken Thread

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greendoc's picture
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The Definitive Chicken Thread

First let me say, I have been raising backyard chickens for close to ten years, and consider my flock to be family members.   But I wanted to point out a health risk many people may not realize.  IF you have a backyard flock that comingles with wild birds carrying H5N1 it is possible they could become infected. Wild geese, duck and quail are reservoirs for H5N1 in other countries, and could so be here.  Humans handling/eating infected birds have died.   We let our chickens free range in the yard (with the wild quail ) and poo happens.  And kids (and humans) step in poo and track in the house.  Kids play on the floor and eat without washing their hands.  Live virus is spread through oral -fecal contact.  You get the picture.

If H5N1 makes here (which probably eventually happen) I am prepared to kill my flock (humanly) so as to minimize any chance of my family or neighbors contracting avian flu.   Of course, I hope it never comes to this, but I think it pays to be informed about the possibility.  Part of being a caretaker for animals is to responsibly handle them so as not to be a public health risk.  

Anyway, raising backyard poutlry  is very rewarding, this thread promises to be entertaining.

Read more here:  http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/gen-info/avian-flu-humans.htm

http://www.kingcounty.gov/healthServices/health/ehs/avianflu/meateggs.aspx

In areas of the world with avian flu outbreaks, has anyone gotten infected from poultry meat or eggs?

Yes.
A large percentage of the confirmed human cases in Southeast Asia and
other countries with outbreaks are believed to have become infected
during the slaughtering or subsequent handling of diseased or dead
birds prior to cooking. In these countries, poultry is often raised in
backyard settings and either eaten by the family or sold in live bird
markets. The practices of home slaughtering, defeathering, butchering,
and preparation of the meat for consumption expose people to
potentially contaminated parts of poultry. A few people may also have
gotten infected from consuming uncooked duck blood pudding, which is a
delicacy in parts of Asia.

The
H5N1 avian influenza virus spreads to virtually all parts of an
infected bird, including blood, meat and bones. It can survive in
contaminated raw poultry meat and therefore can be spread through the
marketing and distribution of contaminated food products, such as fresh
or frozen meat. In general avian flu viruses can survive for fairly
long periods if it is maintained under moist conditions and at low
temperatures.

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

Free range vs. Caged up what are the pros and cons??  Seems like you can get fatter more tender chickens if they do not move as much, and this topic has created quite an uproar in California.

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

you get fatter and more tender humans if you keep them caged up too. well i am not so sure about the tender part ........i can sometimes drift to hyperbole.

pros less bugs,no or less feed , lower cholesterol, better distribution of poop which limits the occurrence of histoplasmosis happier chickens and happier dogs and varmints that eat them. 

ever see a chicken eat a baby copperhead? it's very satisfying 

just having had easter get some auracanas they lay colored easter eggs the kids will love them

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

I guess a good compromise is a chicken tractor...they get some exercise and access to bugs, fresh grass, etc. but are not roaming all over creation burning calories and making tough muscle.  

http://home.centurytel.net/thecitychicken/tractors.html

Chickens are great vegetation clearers too. When we bought our 1/2 acre, the north fence line had a ten foot wide belt of well established ivy all along its 100 foot length.  We set up our chicken run there, a ten by twenty foot affair, and moved it every year along the fence row until they cleared it all!  I have never seen it re-sprout, and now we have native hazels, rosemary, manzanita, CA fuschia,  salvias and artichokes growing on what was once an ivy monoculture.  It would of taken alot of labor on my part to clear all that...

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

I had hens a few years ago in a couple portable coops with runs underneath; I moved them around every day or every few days before they would totally destroy the grass.  I started liking eggs again once we had truly fresh ones.

I would like to get chickens again but am cautious about the committment since at least once a month I'm away all weekend and sometimes am not home in the morning or evening during the week to tend to the chickens.  One solution might be to get neighbors to help occasionally in return for eggs.  Does anyone have any good solutions from experience? 

Also, what do you think about the economics?  I haven't run the numbers but I suspect it costs more money to buy the feed etc. to raise your own chickens than to go the store to buy eggs or meat.  Of course I'm comparing apples to oranges; the quality of store-bought is not the same and not as fun as raising your own either.  But the goal is also more sustainability in a post peak oil worls.  Now say oil shortages arrive, feed may become more scarce or expensive (from Agway etc), and I have limited room and time in my yard to grow a big crop of corn or something for feed.  Or will feed be relatively cheaper compared to larger price increases in food in stores?

 

 

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

Thank you for starting this!  Right now the only barn animals we have are two cats and a dog.

Cat

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

Woodman,

In a perfect world, you would not be buying any feed. You need space and planning for this, so I don't know if that is an option for you. For me, I have a by-product from crushing canola seed for biodiesel that is very nutritious and the chickens really seem to dig it. Also, in the garden they do a good job of fending for themselves when the bugs are out and things are growing. One aside - the scratch you buy from the store is medicated, and I think you need to spend the first 20 weeks or so with the medicated stuff, or so the experts say. I haven't looked closely into why, and if this can be avoided with a good environment. My assumption is yes, it is unnecessary in the proper environment.

I have a small flock that is really just a tester to make sure I am ready. I put up a 12 x 12 coop, and I can leave them for a time if necessary as long as they are in the coop. Mostly, I'm just trying to get it all figured out before it becomes a necessity, so I really appreciate this thread! I figure once I get all the skills in place and infrastructure / feeding worked out, I will minimize the flock until I need it again for sustenance. Overall, I have really enjoyed the experience and would encourage anyone who has the space to give it a try. The egg is one of nature's most perfect food in the sense it provides all the necessary amino acids and building blocks of human life. As long as you stay active, the fat isn't too terrible, and may become vital in the future!

Best,

Rog

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

I love my Aracana hen- she raised 25 other birds for me and now they outsize her by 5 LBs but she's still boss. I bought her with a few other birds when I found out I had a food alergy to eggs and someone suggested I try free-range and sure enough it worked.

We started raising our own bird feed by growing sunflowers, millet, some corn, oats, thistle and amaranth (and a few other seedy things).  We just cut it down in the fall and toss the dried plants and all into the coop. They do all the work & are busy hunting down all the good parts. The left-overs are good bedding.

Nothing is better than chicken poo for the garden. So if you free-range, tractor or coop them - try to make as much use of it as possible. Just don't use fresh stuff to grow leafy greens as the plants take up bacteria into their leaves, but not the fruits.

EGP

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

EGP! I was just sifting through the Oil Shock II comments to find your planting recipe for chicken feed. I wanted to cut and paste it here and ask you a bit more about it, but you beat me to it! LOL

You've answered most of my questions in this post above. Did you let the plants dry first before tossing them into the coop? If so, did you hang them somewhere and for how long? What sort of beans did you plant?

General questions for all, how long do you think the chicken poop needs to compost or sit until it's not pathenogenic? Our girls wandered the gardens through the winter, now we've got them tractored, and I've got greens growing in beds they scratched through about two months ago. Is that enough time for me to safely eat the greens?

 Also, the bird flu post was interesting. I'm wondering, if one keeps chickens only for eggs, what's the risk of transmission from bird to human? If the birds are not being slaughtered and not being eaten, do they post a threat?

On the topic of medicated feed, you can find it unmedicated, just check the different feed stores. The store we buy from doesn't sell medicated feed at all, and our birds have been fine. I have to think that healthy, humane living conditions and fresh food keep birds healthier than any low-dose antibiotic!

And if anyone hasn't found the chicken forums at backyardchickens.com, they're a wealth of resources. I logged on at 3:30 am Saturday to ask what to do for my pullet who'd just been attacked by a fox, and got two answers within minutes. (She's been healing up amazingly well. We're all very happy, since the loss of a second pullet hit the kids and I especially hard.)

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

Any ideas on a nesting basket made of wire?  Wanted something I can hose off easily, and then just replace the straw.  wondering if anyone else has gone in this direction.

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

plantguy90 wrote:
Any ideas on a nesting basket made of wire?  Wanted something I can hose off easily, and then just replace the straw.  wondering if anyone else has gone in this direction.

We thought about milk crates, but determined they would collect crap rather than make it easier to clean, plus the chickens can put thier foot thru the holes.

We went with 1/4" ply with kilz sprayed on. You can still hose it down if you liberally apply the kilz.

Rog

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

HI Sue,

 We do not slaughter our chickens, just bury them when they shuffle off this mortal coil. But it is my understading several people in Asia have died from just visiting poultry markets, presumably through fecal-oral transmission, not handling raw meat. That is, you step in infected poo, not even realizing it even, takeoff your shoes later, get some on your hands, eat something.  Same way hepatitis A is transmitted.  So even if you are only eating eggs, if your birds become ill, they could be infectious to you. Also if your birds get sick and die, you need to handle them to bury them. Granted, bird flu may never get here, and just peter out.  But with small children visiting our yard often, I would not want the responsibility of exposing them to potential harm, if it ever did make here. 

 I have had great success with the forums at backyard chicken too....what incredibly helpful people!  I also think owning copies of Raising Chickens and The Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow a good idea...who knows where the internet might be in the future.  

http://www.amazon.com/Chicken-Health-Handbook-Gail-Damerow/dp/0882666118...

 Woodman...as for the economics, if you just look at cost of feed/your time...then buying eggs cheaper...even organic eggs.  But I look at the bigger picture (which you mention): the satisfaction of interacting with an animal, the pest control, the compostable straw/bedding/poo that goes back into the soil, the joy of collecting eggs and eating the perfect soft boiled eggie with just picked asparagus dunked in the yolk.  yum!  No real vet bills to speak of (we have had zero...but use our books and the occasional advice from above forums and the chicken guy at the feed store.) 

 But still keeping chickens is cheaper than keeping a cat or dog with more benefits to boot.

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

I think avian flu risk is the same as any of the other chicken-human concerns like salmonella, listeria etc.  If you keep a clean coop, feed your animals well and appropriately (i.e. natural food they would normally eat), and keep the water fresh the animals have a relatively low risk of contracting anything nasty. Healthy domestic animals could be exposed to avian flu from wild birds without automatically being at risk, and so can humans.  Basic hygiene and food handling principles would save a lot of problems... including getting a little more exposure to the nasties so our immune systems are stronger! Geez, with all the antibacterial this and that on the market today (including that medicated chicken feed) it's no wonder than we and our animals are getting sick more frequently and much more drastically. Wash your hands, clean shit up and handle/cook food properly. Hot water and ordinary soap does wonders, you don't have to disinfect every single thing in the universe!!

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

Super thread, glad it got started. We keep ours in the lower half of the greenhouse and the upper half where the garden beds are are enclosed with chicken wire doors, they have a free range (fanced area with a roof) that they can go outside in and we also have a tractor that we move around the front yard.

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Front page chicken news

Here in Lancaster PA chickens have made the front page of the paper. A local non profit, DIG IT!, that does organic gardening with kids in the city bought 20 chicks a year ago. The board of health finally cited them last week for violating the  law prohibiting chickens in the city. They had to run the chickens out of town or face heavy fines. The story moves on to a few days later with the Director of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce taking the chickens to his farm.He and his wife now will provide the feed, gather the eggs for the Dig It! program and are allowing the kids visitation rights anytime!

This episode has also ignited a move to reverse the anti- chicken law!

My contribution is this somewhat silly song:

CHICKEN IN THE SKY
A song by Jerry Lee Miller, 2009

There's a chicken in the sky
My friend, my friend.
There's a chicken in the sky, my friend.
They say chickens do not fly,
But there's a chicken in the sky!
We must be getting closer to the end, to the end!
We must be getting closer to the end!

CHORUS
Share your eggs with a neighbor.
Share your greens beans , too.
Teach a child organic living.
It's the local thing to do!

V2
There are eggs  a'dropping down,
Sweet pie, sweet pie.
Eggs are dropping down from the sky.
All o'er this Red Rose town
Those eggs are dropping down.
We must be getting closer to good bye, to good bye!
We must be getting closer to good bye!

CHORUS
Share your eggs with a neighbor.
Share your greens beans , too.
Teach a child organic living.
It's the local thing to do!

BRIDGE
Put down your remote
& Put on your overalls.
We'd better save those chickens
Before the last egg falls.
We'd better save those chickens
Before the last egg falls

V3
There's a sound of 'Peep! Peep! Peep!'
My dear, my dear.
They're singing us the story of the year.
We're in trouble very deep.
What we sow is what we'll reap.
The time of Chicken Little's gettin' near, gettin' near!
The time of Chicken Little's gettin' near!

CHORUS

Share your eggs with a neighbor.
Share your green beans,too.
Teach a child organic living.
It's the local thing to do.

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

Actually Ready and others, the fat in an egg yolk from a free-ranging chicken is excellent for your health assuming your chickens are really foraging naturally.

Same with the fat from other animals.  Did you know that the fat from any free-ranging animal eating its natural diet is much better for you than the fat from a factory-raised animal?  It's almost like an entirely different kind of food.  It all has to do with the ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

Hello GreenDoc:

"kill my flock (humanly)"

We have an eater  left --- I just made a culling tube, I'm assuming what I read (knife/razor) and a stab to the brain is about as humane as it is going to get?  

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

Avian flu and lyme disease are two more things we can thank our Gov't for!

Look up Lyme and Plum Island for starters

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

 Hi Davos, 

Well, my husband has had to cull two chickens over the years (others have been killed by hawks and a weasel), and our 76 year old neighbor Denise, who grew up on a farm in Alberta and keeps a large flock, says breaking their necks the quickest and most humane.  I have yet to do it myself, but this blogpost below sums it up pretty well.

http://sallygardens.typepad.com/sallygardens/2008/02/my-first-chicke.html

 I wish I could find a youtube vidoe of it...the only ones I saw involve knives, cones, etc.  and look not to my liking.  I have seen rabbits killed a similar way...neck breaking that is.  If you pick up your chickens (and we do to check them over for their health and general socializing) then being picked up is not stressful. And if you are confident and quick it is over very quickly.  

http://www.frugalsquirrels.com/video/Rabbit%20Killing%20w:AD.mov

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

I guess the most humane killing method depends on whether you are just culling or whether you actually want to eat the bird. For eating birds, my Pa-Pa used a killing cone and the brain-sticker method (sharp knife through the top of the mouth) and then slit the throat to let the bird bleed out. Since his chickens were used to being handled they didn't seem to mind being dumped upside down into the cone or having the knife slid into their open mouth. The stick and death is instanteous, and brain-sticking them relaxes the muscles around the feathers so plucking is much easier. The heart continues beating for a few seconds after the stick, so slitting the throat after the bird is brain-dead allows gravity and the heart to naturally pump out the remaining blood so it doesn't stay in the meat and makes cleaning a lot less messy.

The neck-wringing method has been used for years, especially when you just want to dispatch the bird quickly. The only drawback I found is that it's much harder to pluck and bleed out doing it that way if you do want to dress out the bird for the table.

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Re: Front page chicken news

jerry_lee wrote:

My contribution is this somewhat silly song:

CHICKEN IN THE SKY
A song by Jerry Lee Miller, 2009

Jerry -

LOL - Cat and I bounced around your website today - really enjoyed it.

I took the following liberties with your song:

CHICKEN IN THE SKY
A song by Jerry Lee Miller, 2009.  Music by Dogs In A Pile.

GThere's a chickens in the sky

C                    C7My friend, my friend.

G                                            D7There's a chicken in the sky, my friend.

GThey say chickens do not fly,

                      C                    C7 But there's a chicken in the sky!

A7                             D7                 GWe must be getting closer to the end, to the end!

A7                             D7                GWe must be getting closer to the end!

CHORUS

C7                                    D7Share your eggs with a neighbor.

C7                                     D7       Share your greens beans, too.

C7                                D7   Teach a child organic living.

A7                         D7     It's the local thing to do!

V2
There are eggs  a'dropping down,
Sweet pie, sweet pie.
Eggs are dropping down from the sky.
All o'er this Red Rose town
Those eggs are dropping down.
We must be getting closer to good bye, to good bye!
We must be getting closer to good bye!

CHORUS
Share your eggs with a neighbor.
Share your greens beans , too.
Teach a child organic living.
It's the local thing to do!  BRIDGE

C7                     D7Put down your remote

   A7                 D7& Put on your overalls.

C7                                   GWe'd better save those chickens

C7                            GBefore the last egg falls.

C7                                  GWe'd better save those chickens

A7              D7         GBefore the last egg falls

V3
There's a sound of 'Peep! Peep! Peep!'
My dear, my dear.
They're singing us the story of the year.
We're in trouble very deep.
What we sow is what we'll reap.
The time of Chicken Little's gettin' near, gettin' near!
The time of Chicken Little's gettin' near!

CHORUS

Share your eggs with a neighbor.
Share your green beans,too.
Teach a child organic living.
It's the local thing to do. 

 

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Re: Front page chicken news

jerry_lee wrote:

My contribution is this somewhat silly song:

CHICKEN IN THE SKY
A song by Jerry Lee Miller, 2009

Jerry -

LOL - Cat and I bounced around your website today - really enjoyed it.

I took the following liberties with your song:

CHICKEN IN THE SKY
A song by Jerry Lee Miller, 2009.  Music by Dogs In A Pile.

G

There's a chicken in the sky

C                    C7

My friend, my friend.

G                                            D7

There's a chicken in the sky, my friend.

G

They say chickens do not fly,

                    C                    C7

But there's a chicken in the sky!

A7                          D7               G

We must be getting closer to the end, to the end!

A7                          D7               G

We must be getting closer to the end!

CHORUS

C7                                D7

Share your eggs with a neighbor.

C7                                  D7      

Share your greens beans, too.

C7                            D7  

Teach a child organic living.

A7                         D7    

It's the local thing to do!

V2
There are eggs  a'dropping down,
Sweet pie, sweet pie.
Eggs are dropping down from the sky.
All o'er this Red Rose town
Those eggs are dropping down.
We must be getting closer to good bye, to good bye!
We must be getting closer to good bye!

CHORUS
Share your eggs with a neighbor.
Share your greens beans , too.
Teach a child organic living.
It's the local thing to do!  BRIDGE

C7                     D7

Put down your remote

   A7                 D7

& Put on your overalls.

C7                                   G

We'd better save those chickens

C7                            G

Before the last egg falls.

C7                                  G

We'd better save those chickens

A7              D7         G

Before the last egg falls

V3
There's a sound of 'Peep! Peep! Peep!'
My dear, my dear.
They're singing us the story of the year.
We're in trouble very deep.
What we sow is what we'll reap.
The time of Chicken Little's gettin' near, gettin' near!
The time of Chicken Little's gettin' near!

CHORUS

Share your eggs with a neighbor.
Share your green beans,too.
Teach a child organic living.
It's the local thing to do. 

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Finding hatcheries & determining breeds

For those of you who don't have birds yet, or who want to try some new breeds, Mother Earth News has a handy search for hatcheries, as well as a directory of hatcheries and poultry breeders.

J. Henderson from Ithaca also put together a great chicken breed chart with common uses (meat, eggs, dual), egg color, egg size, laying habits, temperament, cold or heat tolerance for more than 60 breeds. The chart also contains links to various other sites that have more in-depth information and pictures of the breed.

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Dogs does the Funky Organic Chicken!

Rick

I am smiling from ear to ear!!! If I had a 3rd ear, I'd be smiling there,too!

Just a minute, now.......ok.

I had to get up and do the Chicken in The Sky dance!

...... and I just had a vison of t-shirts! 

When can I hear you do the song?

Jerry

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

Plicketycat,

 You certainly know your chickens!  That hint about featherplucking ease for the brain-stick method is good...I have never plucked a bird but imagine you want the feathers to let go as easily as possible. If the going gets tough, I think any future girls who die will go to the stew pot instead of the family pet burial plot.  I imagine with a very long slow braising they would be pretty tasty.  Did your dad save the blood to make any food?  My dad waxes poetic about his Polish grandmother's duck blood soup czarnina http://www.soupsong.com/rczarnin.html. 

And I just watched this great video of preparation of blood sausage (from pork).  http://www.factualtv.com/documentary/River-Cottage-Forever-Episode-7

But I do not think I have heard of any recipe using chicken's blood....a google search came up with a portugese blood rice recipe.

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Re: Dogs does the Funky Organic Chicken!

jerry_lee wrote:

Rick

I am smiling from ear to ear!!! If I had a 3rd ear, I'd be smiling there,too!

Just a minute, now.......ok.

I had to get up and do the Chicken in The Sky dance!

...... and I just had a vison of t-shirts! 

When can I hear you do the song?

Jerry

Jerry -

You could hear it April 24th or 25th in Lowesville.  Laughing

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Re: Front page chicken news

jerry_lee wrote:
A song by Jerry Lee Miller, 2009

I love it, JL. 

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Re: The Chicken Soup Thickens

Earlier this week I wrote a letter to the editor of The (Lancaster,PA) Intelligencer Journal, entitled Yes To Chickens!

here it is..........

YES TO CHICKENS

The many advantages to reversing Lancaster's 'no chickens' law include: 1) It's education at it's most basic to know where food comes from. 2) Citizens who gather their own eggs, like those who grow their own vegetables, are producers  rather than consumers.
3). Eating fresh, local and organic is more healthy and tastes better.
4) It's a great way to build community! Share your surplus with a neighbor. Have an "all neighborhood raised food" block party!
5) It saves money on the grocery bill!

"Share your eggs with a neighbor.
Share your green beans,too.
Teach a child organic living.
It's the local thing to do."(from my song, 'Chickens In The Sky)

Now that chickens have made front page news in Lancaster, let's keep them there!

Jerry Lee Miller
=================

SO last night they called me to verify that I am the writer of the letter.

Then, an hour later, they call again. "Are you really the writer of he song?" they ask. "Yes" I say.

This morning it dawns on me that I should give DIAP credit for his low down, Grateful River, nifty chords. So I emailed DIAP through this site's system to ask his permission. He writes back with a 'Yes'. Then, I called the person who called me from the paper.... got her voice mail and left a message to add DIAP's name. 

I'll keep you posted.

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Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

greendoc wrote:

Plicketycat,

 You certainly know your chickens!  That hint about featherplucking ease for the brain-stick method is good...I have never plucked a bird but imagine you want the feathers to let go as easily as possible. If the going gets tough, I think any future girls who die will go to the stew pot instead of the family pet burial plot.  I imagine with a very long slow braising they would be pretty tasty.  Did your dad save the blood to make any food?  My dad waxes poetic about his Polish grandmother's duck blood soup czarnina http://www.soupsong.com/rczarnin.html. 

And I just watched this great video of preparation of blood sausage (from pork).  http://www.factualtv.com/documentary/River-Cottage-Forever-Episode-7

But I do not think I have heard of any recipe using chicken's blood....a google search came up with a portugese blood rice recipe.

Plucking can be a real messy pain. Brain-sticking and then a quick dunk in a scalding pot helps matters considerably. Even using this method, you have to use needle nose pliers to pull the pin feathers unless you use a torch to scorch/burn them off. However, if you don't want the skin on the meat or to use the feathers for anything, you can actually skin the chicken, feathers and all, like any other small game.

Don't think he made any food items from the blood, but I remember him drying and grinding the blood and bone meal to add to the garden. I'm sure you could probably use the cooked blood and raw bones to feed your pets in a pinch. Same with the tougher meat if you don't want to braise or stew it for yourself (or can't bring yourself to eat a family "friend").

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crazyhorse
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 16 2008
Posts: 56
Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

PlicketyCat wrote:
greendoc wrote:

  However, if you don't want the skin on the meat or to use the feathers for anything, you can actually skin the chicken, feathers and all, like any other small game.

I used to help my grandpa as a child and then switched roles with me doing to dressing as I got older.  He always skinned his chickens.  Not sure why, but I am guessing because it was so much easier and my grandma never make fried ckicken.  We were on the skinless kick long before it was popular. ;-)

Once you have the knack for it, skinning only takes mere minutes and then you are ready to fix the meat how you like.  I definitely recommend it (unless you need the feathers, though I suppose you could still get them from the removed skin?).

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PlicketyCat
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Joined: Feb 26 2009
Posts: 680
Re: The Definitive Chicken Thread

Crazyhorse - it's much easier to get the feathers off the whole chicken than to to try to pluck them out of the floppy skin. You could probably do it with a hide stretcher, but it would be a PITA since chicken skin is pretty fragile. 

If I were really hungry and didn't have the time to mess with plucking, I'd definitely skin the bird and get to the eating. But as a general matter of course, leaving the skin & fat on makes the cooked meat much more tender (important for old hens!) and really doesn't add that much fat (contrary to popular belief) if you remove the cooked skin before eating. Of course, if we're talking longterm survival without food abundance like we have today, it's probably best to eat the skin and fat anyway since you'll need the fat and calories for health and energy. Rendered chicken fat makes pretty good can lamps and firestarters, and can be added to lean game meats like squirrel and rabbit. Waste not want not, and all that jazz.

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