Tilly's Tiny Family Farm

August to December 2014

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August 27, 2014

~Copied from my blog for this chicken page~

To start off the day, after running errands and taking kids to appointments, hubbie and I rearranged the fencing for the chicken coop. We like to move it around every week or so as the grass gets mowed down by chickens. It started raining more often so the spot we moved them to has recovered somewhat. Next year we plan on fencing most of the back yard so they will have ample room to forage and yet be safe from the highway.

Once the coop fencing was secure and we let the chickens loose upon the poor unsuspecting grass, we had to plan out our next task. Butchering the chickens in the movable tractor. Now there were only 5 chickens in the one we had plans for, but alas 2 chickens have repeatedly gotten loose somehow and head straight for my tomatoes... so they got added to the list even though they are a little smaller than I'd like. Me being raised in town and my husband being raised on a farm, he is obviously more experienced with the whole butchering thing. I've read book upon book upon book about chickens. Only 1 of those books told me how to actually butcher one.

(Warning for those who are squeamish...I go into a little more detail than some might like) My hubbie beheaded them as humanely and quickly as possible. I now understand the term "like a chicken with its head cut off" and am very surprised it wasn't worse than I had imagined. I am also surprised at myself for not being more squeamish and emotional. These birds were part of a flock that I have called my babies quite frequently. I guess having them raid what few tomatoes I have this year has taken that emotional guilt away in a major way. You don't mess with momma's tomatoes! er... yeah.

We figured since the kids were so young that it would be better to have them play on the swing set and in the sandbox away from the tiny massacre going on in our back yard. But low and behold... they all wandered over.....while some of the chickens were still....moving. We look at each other and think oh now....they are now going to be mortified for life and never eat another chicken again. My little girl started scrunching up her face as she does when shes about to cry...for the record the kids are 7, 5, and almost 4.

We think there is going to be a full out melt down.

"Mom! Daddy cut the chicken's face off!"

I proceed to explain where chicken noodle soup comes from (her favorite right now) and how the chicken being killed means we can have barbeque chicken and all kinds of goodies. The scrunching of the face stops. She stands in front of the large coop and holds out her hands widely.

"Is daddy going to cut all the chickenses faces off mom!?" she says almost excited.

Hubbie and I look at each other and we tell her no, not all of them since we will be getting eggs and more baby chickens from most of the leftover ones. She just nods as we notice our youngest grabbing a big stick. He goes over to the dead chickens and walks right up to the one currently....moving. He roars at it like a dinosaur and then whacks it (he doesn't hit too hard). It stops. One other one moves a bit more and roars at that one... then whacks it with the stick. At this point we're wondering if we should wrangle him back to the swing set or laugh. It doesn't feel right to laugh because it is a poor dead creature that we plan on adding to the freezer, but somehow that feeling is there.

We set up our outside station with hose and pots and "garbage" bucket. He skins them, which removes the feathers neatly and doesn't require any boiling and plucking. One of the chickens still had its "voice box" working so when you moved it a certain way it cackled a little bit as air went through it. My youngest appears fast as lightening next to dad and roars at it. He then proceeds to whack the chicken. He nods his head as if he has done dad this great favor and walks on his merry way back to the sandbox.

I get the job of gutting them out. I have never done this before so the hubbie shows me how to get the first one mostly done. I have to keep asking how to do certain parts until I have the routine down. After the sought after parts are rinsed and cleaned they are packaged up, marked, and frozen. Except the 3 we roasted tonight for supper. I think slow roasting it a bit longer would tenderize the meat a little more, but I have to say it is the best chicken I have ever had.... and not just because it was eating my tomatoes.

For obvious reasons I did not take any photos to post, but it was an interesting experience. I can officially say that everything, except the butter, was grown on our tiny farm. It is a step in the right direction towards being mostly self sustainable food wise.

Now that I have scarred some of you for life or made you laugh if you found my youngest amusing, its off to bed for me as soon as the chicken stock has cooled so I can freeze it. So enjoy your night and toodles my lovelies!

September 28, 2014

Update pictures of Mr. Soup!

October 8, 2014

Our first eggs! The two brown ones on the bottom right, compared to a store bought white one on the left. Not too much smaller and they had almost the same length. Not fertilized and had small perfect bubbles when candled. So proud of my ladies!


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