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We've been given a dozen old layers from our organic egg supplier. he's getting in some new girls but cant bring himself to butcher up his old pals, so he's offered them to us. (yay!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"> ) Dh is going to kill them and then i get the lovely job of cleaning them. Right now the plan is for him to go to the farm, kill them there and then bring them home for me to deal with.<br><br>
i've gotten a basic idea of what should be done from a couple of sites on the web and from books that i've read in the past--i'm going on memory from the books though!<br><br><b>any tips or hints from mama's who've btdt?</b><br><br>
oh, and do i HAVE to pluck feathers? or can i just remove the skin? we're not big chicken skin eaters anyways... And if i HAVE to pluck, what on earth should i do with the feathers from 12 chickens? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/innocent.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shy">
 

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When I worked overseas, my job was to teach the local folks how to raise chickens. Started out w/500. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yikes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="EEK!"><br><br>
But, don't remember now, of course. There are tricks to make it much easier to remove the feathers. Something to do w/hot water.<br>
They just wrung their necks--very quick.<br><br>
I would suggest you call & visit your local 4H office--Cooperative Extension. They should have lots of handouts & books.
 

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eek! We're about to face this ourselves with our backyard chickens.<br><br>
Here are the links that I've been looking at:<br>
Step-by-step with pics: <a href="http://ianrpubs.unl.edu/foods/heg144.htm" target="_blank">http://ianrpubs.unl.edu/foods/heg144.htm</a><br>
Mother Earth News: <a href="http://www.motherearthnews.com/index.php?page=arc&id=4283" target="_blank">http://www.motherearthnews.com/index...ge=arc&id=4283</a><br>
BB with huge list of links: <a href="http://pub228.ezboard.com/fbackyardchickensfrm18" target="_blank">http://pub228.ezboard.com/fbackyardchickensfrm18</a><br>
No scalding, but they don't save the carcass or innards: <a href="http://www.gatewaytovermont.com/thefarm/slaughter.htm" target="_blank">http://www.gatewaytovermont.com/thefarm/slaughter.htm</a><br><br>
I have heard that old layers are generally tougher than the regular meat birds, and that they are best for stew-type dishes. I think you can just skin them instead of plucking. I plan on burying the offal in the backyard garden. Another tip I heard is that an outdoor turkey deep-fryer (one of those propane thingies) works great for scalding if you are doing lots of birds at a time (though if you are not plucking I don't think you need to scald).<br><br>
Good luck! I am interested in hearing how it goes.
 

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I'd recommend skinning instead of plucking. Much quicker and easier. The only reason you'd need the skin would be to keep the meat from drying out too much if you cooked them using some method where that might be a problem, like roasting them whole.
 
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