Processing

PROCESSING SCHEDULED FOR September 28!


All processing MUST be scheduled in advance. If you have 20 or more birds to butcher, contact Kristin to schedule a date that works for you. Smaller batches of birds need to be set on already scheduled processing days. Scheduled dates are as follows:

  • September 28 - more space available
  • November 1 - some space available

Processing is typically done on Saturday and Sunday only.
We appreciate if you can stay to help process your birds.

SPECIAL NOTE FOR END OF SEASON:
The LAST weekend to butcher chickens is November 15-16, 2014. Please schedule any processing for that weekend or PRIOR.
We will be doing OUR Turkeys November 21-23, and ONLY Turkeys that weekend. Thanks for understanding!

We currently process all of our own chickens and turkeys. The word "process" incorporates a lot of activities, and is a word we use to capture it all, and to discuss it in polite conversation. We are NOT USDA inspected (we fall under their small farm exemption). Our processing takes place outside (which is why they won't license us). But we believe the fresh air, and the sun are good for the process (and for the processors). We fall under the USDA exemption for small producers.

We have been processing our birds since 2007, and are quite good at it. We do allow friends, neighbors and customers to help with the process. We also will help friends, neighbors and customers process birds they have raised themselves.

There is a fee for bird processing. If you purchase chicken or turkey from us, the cost of the processing is already built into the price. If you want to bring your birds to us, we will help you, and the fee depends on several things: If you are helping or not (you don't have to), how many birds you are bringing, and if you are helping, are you bringing a crew to help.  The quicker the whole process takes, the less it will cost. We do know that there are limited places where you can take birds to process. And if you don't know how, we can teach you or do it for you. If you have been trained, we may also be willing to rent the equipment to you, or show you how you can do small batches with gear you probably have in your kitchen.

Basic Processing Fees are as follows, all are subject to negotiation based on the specifics of the projectWe reserve the right to change pricing at any time. Please note that processing is not part of the CSA program:

Chickens:
$5.00/bird for drop off and pick up
$3.00/bird if you stay and help

Turkeys:
$10.00/bird for drop off and pick up
$6.00/bird if you stay and help

We are no longer processing water fowl of any kind.
We apologize for any inconvenience this causes, but it is too time consuming and we aren't able to take care of our own farm work and process water fowl.

So, you have some birds you want to process, it's best to call or email and set up a time with us. We typically process on Saturdays or Sundays. We do need to know in advance, because it takes 4 hours to get the scalder tank to temperature, which means we have to fire that up in the middle of the night.

If you only have a few birds, why don't we process those for you at any time? The set up and tear down of bird processing is intensive, and it doesn't make sense for us financially or otherwise to set it all up for a few birds. We have a scalder tank that takes 4 hours to heat up. That uses about a half a tank of propane, and once the water is hot, it doesn't use much propane to stay hot. So using a half a tank of gas for 10 birds that would also last me for 70 birds doesn't make as much sense. We have a lot of gear we have to set up, clean, and get ready for processing, that at the end of it, we also have to clean, and put back away. We do a lot of processing throughout the year, and we hope there is a scheduled weekend that will work for you. Or, gather up some friends or neighbors that raise birds and see if they have any they want done.

Lessons on how to process your own birds:
Free, if you can come while we are processing other birds - we can show you on our birds.

Equipment Rental:
See the "Featherman Rental" page...
Processing Tips: We've learned a few things along the way...
  • The scalder takes 4 hours to get to proper scalding temperature. This is why we won't fire it up for just a few birds. A couple of chickens can be scalded using hot water in stock pot in your kitchen without waiting 4 hours for the scalder.
  • Take feed away from your birds the night before processing. If their systems are full, it makes for very messy processing, and makes the process take longer. This allows you to...
  • Catch wily birds by throwing down a small handful of food. For those that are hard to catch, if they had their feed taken away, a small amount will entice them to take their focus off you and onto the food, and you should be able to grab them. Or...
  • Round up the birds the night before when they are sleeping and easy to catch and put them someplace more confined so you can easily catch them during processing.
  • Think about the "extras", livers, hearts, gizzards, feet, necks and other parts you might want to keep, or use to feed your dogs or cats. Consider how you want to store them, and have a clean place to collect them.
  • If you are picking up freshly processed birds, bring a cooler with ice or ice packs so they stay cold until you can get them home into your fridge or freezer.
  • What about all that stuff that comes out of the bird? We have a compost pile, and we bury all the guts in the pile and cover it with feathers, leaves, and other compost.