Saturday, August 16, 2014

D'uccle Breeding Program Update

 Since the last update Ive been busy selecting the chicks I'm going to keep, overall I'm looking for good combs,beards,feet,color and good body shape, so far these chicks have grown into very nice birds.  Above is my 3 color cross which I will be using to try and breed a chocolate colored Mille Fleur.
 This is one of the Mille Fleur roosters that I have chosen to keep for the future Mille breeding pen, he is good in most areas of the breed, with thickly feathered feet , thick beard, good comb and decent color.
 This Mille hen has been shaping up to look a lot like her mom Cookie Dough ,  although her foot feathering isn't as thick as I like she has good shape and a thick beard, I will pair her with a rooster that has thickly feathered feet.
 This is one of a few Porcelain chicks that hatched this year, she has a lot more blue than any of my Porcelain chicks, we will be breeding her to the Self blue Mottled below, what the color will be I'm not sure but my guess is a Self Blue Mottled with some cream lacing?.
 This is a comparison of 3rd and 4th generation Porcelains that shows the feather quality difference, the one on the left is a pure bred Porcelain with typical feather quality, the one on the right is 3/4 Porcelain 1/4 Mille Fleur with a lot of improvement in feather quality.
And this is the Self Blue surprise chick that I didn't expect, which we will be breeding to the porcelain hen above.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

From Chick to Chicken to Freezer ~ Home Poultry Processing

This year my ( Bug's ) family decided that we were going to raise about 50 meat chickens for the experience and food. Last Tuesday was the day we chose to butcher the meat chickens I raised for our family . We have a local community resource that rents out all the poultry processing equipment needed to make the job easier for the affordable fee of $20.00. Above we have the assembly line setup and a picture of the killing cones. The cones are where the chickens are placed head down, killed quickly, and bled out before the rest of the process begins. We placed the killing cones in the gravel drive-way next to the hose for easy clean up.
After the killing cones we take the birds and dunk them into the scalder ( not shown ) which is a big tank of hot water at about 150 degrees. The chickens are quickly dunked into the scalder after they are killed. This loosens the feathers for plucking. Plucking the bird's feathers is the hardest and most time-consuming task of all if you don't have a plucker. Above is the plucker. Inside the plucker are many rubber "fingers" that remove the feathers from the birds by batting the birds around in the bucket without bruising or damaging the meat. The plucker has a drain the feathers fall into and are easily collected and disposed of.

This is the family assembly line. At the far end we have the plucker , in the middle we have the gutting table where the internal organs are removed, and at the end we have the packaging table.

After the chickens are plucked and gutted they are rinsed in very cold water until clean . Here is my younger brother & sister (above) , and below my younger brother is shown with another one of my sisters . He learned how to help us prepare the chickens I raised for our family for the freezer and our chicken dinners in the coming months.

After the chickens are rinsed well we put them into freezer bags ...
...and finally they're put into the ice chest to cool down before they are put into the freezer. This is my account of my fryer project ; home- raised chicken from chick to chicken, and then to our freezer. Later on this year these chickens will feed my family.  ~By Bugs

Granny Baa note : I love seeing and knowing my grandchildren are able to raise poultry, beef and turkeys for their family food supply. Bugs and one of his sisters also hunt and have provided enough food to fill the freezer. It is also good to know they realize our meat and poultry do not magically appear in the supermarket but are the result of raising live animals who need to be treated humanely throughout the entire process, and NEVER to be taken for granted. These grandchildren also help in the vegetable garden, pick the abundant fruit growing around their home and bake pies . Really yummy pies !