This blog is about our travels in our solar powered "Airstream" and living off grid, in our passive solar home, near Bancroft, Ontario, Canada.

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Friday, 26 August 2016


Yesterday was a busy day getting our birds into the freezer.

We set up three work stations early in the morning and got started when Annie and Marvin arrived.

Mary worked under the shade of the canopy, cleaning the birds and putting them on ice. She had an excellent work station thanks to the double sink and plastic counter top. She disinfected the counter after each bird was done and I kept her knives sharpened throughout the day.

Marvin looked after the plucking. He brought his propane burner so we had lots of hot water and the feathers were relatively easy to remove. If you are thinking of doing your own chickens it is critical that the water be kept at the right temperature so the feathers are easily removed but not so hot that the meat starts to cook. We found success if we kept the temperature between 155*F and 160*F and simply dunked the bird for 3 seconds until the wing feathers were easy to pull out. (Best to experiment and see what works best for you.)

It took us 6 hours to do 20 birds this way. We were all glad to see the last bird go into the freezer and get everything cleaned up and put away. We will do this again on Monday when Durl and Linda come over to help us with the last 20 birds.

Next year we plan to keep the birds for 10 - 11 weeks. We were surprised that our birds yesterday averaged 3 lbs. and think another couple of week would give us birds in the 4-5 lbs range. The feed we used produced clean healthy birds free of disease or other health issues. We will do the same in the future but have a bag of ready mix feed available for those days when we are away from home for more than 24 hours.

In conclusion, meat birds are an easy backyard animal to keep, giving you excellent food  with minimum work.  With an automatic water system, several food bins and a secure coop, they can look after themselves for 2 or 3 days. Our birds had plenty of room for movement, dry wood chips to sleep on and sunshine to sit in if they so desired. They were well cared for and ate an excellent diet of fermented soy, wheat, rye, milo and corn along with greens from our garden and any bugs they could catch.

In a few weeks our layers will arrive giving us fresh eggs throughout the winter. I will do a post on them once they are settled and delivering eggs every day.

Thanks for stopping by and have a safe trip.

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