From field to table...
Chicken processing day changed during the summer of 2015. Ralph and Cindy who had processed our birds for years retired. We made the investment in our own large plucker and applied the processed we'd observed for years. We improvised a killing cone as we had yet to have one fabricated. We set up a large pot on a propane burner to scald prior to adding 2-3 birds at a time into the plucker. The purchase from a restaurant auction two stainless steel counters and sinks with running water for evisceration worked perfectly. The teamwork of our family successfully processed almost a hundred chickens in just a few hours.
After processing we transfer the chickens into cold clean water and keep changing the chilled water into the evening to bring the temperature down. Lots of ice is added the birds chill over night to complete rigor. Early the next morning the chickens are prepared for packaging. Each bird is patted dry, small missed feathers removed and it shrink packaged and labeled. The Freedom Rangers dress between 4 and 7 pounds with long drumsticks and ample breast meat. As we only process the chicken on the farm Vermont law allows it to be sold directly from the farm. A sign is placed at the roadside to let passers by know fresh chicken is available. Once you have tasted our full-flavored chicken you will find it very different to eat supermarket chicken.
Knowing many love the idea of a backyard flock but are not set up to raise day old chicks we will raise a batch of pullets each spring and sell them so you can have fresh eggs from your backyard coop without brooding them for weeks. Just as we have an eclectic mix of laying hens free-ranging around the farm we will offer a number of chicken breeds. For the summer of 2016 we will have Buff Orpingtons, Welsummers, Dominiques, Speckled Sussex and Black Australorps. Pullets are available for $15. each.