As another week comes to a close, I am finally getting a chance to unwind and reflect. It’s been yet another busy week around here, filled with so many blessings. Hopefully you all had an amazing Thanksgiving! We spent the day enjoying delicious food, surrounded by all of those we love. It truly was a great day, made a little bit better by the fact that I got put on call from work Wednesday night! Night shift nurses know how few and far between on call shifts are, so I savored that one!
After an amazing Thanksgiving day, we spend a good part of our Black Friday harvesting our Freedom Ranger Chickens (way more on that in a little)!! Then finally after two long night shifts of work for me, we were able to spend an amazing day today with an amazing photographer and friend. Little Miss turns the Big O.N.E. on Friday! So today we captured some amazing shots of her and got our Christmas cards pictures all done in one shot! Stay tuned for all the pictures and First Birthday Party details to come in the next few weeks!!
That basically sums up another crazy week here on our homestead. We are very new to homesteading as I have said before. My husband still works full time outside of the home as do I, so we fit as much homesteading in that we can in the little times we have. We are branching out and getting back to the basics more and more, and I must say it feels great. We will slowly add more things to our little farm, which bring tons of learning opportunities! I am always open to any words of wisdom you veteran homesteaders can send our way!
Soooo I’m a little late with the Month 2 Freedom Ranger update, as I am with everything in my life lately! We actually ended up harvesting them a little earlier than expected, due to their freaking ridiculous growth rate. So I decided to combine all of that info into one post. These little suckers, well not so little anymore, grew like weeds! We harvested all 15 of them on Friday at close to 10 weeks old.
This was our first experience killing animals we have raised for food. I’m not going to lie I was very nervous. My husband is a hunter and has shot, gutted and butchered numerous kinds of animals. So I knew he would be just fine, but this was my very first experience killing anything. We have prepared over the past few days, watching numerous videos on the actual process. Butchering them in the most humane way possible was very important to us, so we wanted to make sure we did it right. The past few days have also been spent gathering all of the supplies needed and we were as ready as we could have been!
I’m proud to say that my husband and I alone butchered all 15 of our beautiful, organic chickens in a little over 3 hours. Not too shabby for our first time. The one huge regret we have is not buying a automatic chicken plucker. That was the longest and most painstaking part of the whole process, it was so freaking tedious. Not my favorite part for sure. We also made our own “kill cones”, which worked ok. But for the next time we may just purchase some. All in all things went pretty smooth!
For our first time we kept all of the birds whole. They are currently chilling in our spare fridge for the next few days and will be vacuumed sealed and stock the freezer soon. I plan on cooking one for dinner tomorrow, which will be the real test of all of our hard work! The taste will be the real decision maker if we decide to get more in the spring. We didn’t mind caring for them and the butchering was not nearly as bad as I expected. So as long as they taste awesome, this is something that will become a staple on our homestead. Next time we raise them I plan on doing a much better job of tracking their feed and growth rate so I will have much more information for you all! This time we just kind flew by the seat of our pants!
Our children were present during the whole process, for the most part. We had them stay in the house for the first one, because we weren’t really sure what to expect. But after that and we got the hang of things they were very interested in helping with everything. My four year old son helped my husband bring down the next bird and enjoyed learning what all the internal organs were. My five year old daughter helped pluck feathers and actually ate lunch with us in the garage while we worked. So they were pretty comfortable with everything.
I’m going to rant here for a just a second because we have gotten a lot of crap from a lot of people for letting the children be so involved in this process. The whole reason we decided to start homesteading is because we want to show our children a different way of life. They now know the farmers and the fields where our fruits and vegetables come from, and that the chicken they eat for dinner is so much more than a vacuumed seal package from the grocery store.
Our children value life so much more than most adults I know. We made sure to thank each bird for giving their lives to feed our family. We feel it is very important for our children to realize that the meat we consume was once a living, breathing, beautiful creature that had to lose it’s life in order for us to eat. There is nothing crazy or wrong with them learning the value of life. Ok rant over, I’m sure my fellow homesteaders have been in this situation before and any advice on how to handle this would be awesome!
Ok back to the chickens… I was not good at documenting the butchering process this time. I was more concerned about getting the job done right our first time. Next time I plan sharing each step in our process with you all! This time we basically had a little assembly line going where the chickens went from kill cone, to hot water, to our plucking then evisceration station. Hubby did the killing and gutting, I did the scalding, plucking and packaging. I didn’t even gets weights on them after packaging, next time!! It was a pretty good little process. So for those of you looking into meat chickens as a possibility for your family I highly suggest it! We found it to be a great learning experience and a great way to stock our freezer!
So thanks to all of you who actually read this whole post… I told you it was going to be long! After this awesome week full on things to be thankful for tonight I am most thankful for my tiny family. I am so thankful I have an amazing husband by my side to guide our three monsters through this crazy life. Things are not easy at all, but together we will get through and be able to live the life we imagine! Hope you all had a great week and are motivated to start your Monday! This post does contain affiliate links. But I do not endorse any product that I do not wholeheartedly believe in or use myself.
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