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How can I use the whole chicken?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 32
Location: Central VA
bike chicken urban
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This year we bought 10 chickens, one died and we were left with 9. Of those remaining 9, five are roosters, and we will be butchering four of them this weekend.

I've never killed and butchered a chicken before, but I'm fairly confident I can do it competently (I will be killing and butchering the first chicken before proceeding with the remaining three just in case I mess up or run out of time). The concern I have is that I do not wish to waste anything! These guys have been very kind to me over the last 5ish months and I want their remains to be used by my family as efficiently as possible. My wife and I have both agreed that this is very important to us and we're both willing to try eating parts of the chicken we have never had before.

I'm not really sure what to do with the organs or the feet, but I am sure I will find a recipe to use. But what else can I use? Can the intestines be eaten? Head? What do you guys use the bones for once they have been used in a stock? How about the feathers? I'm thinking that all the refuse I can't find another use for will go into David The Good style "melon pit" but I view that as a last resort.

I figured you guys probably have a similar mindset with regard to animal life and ensuring that you use the whole animal to the best of your ability and in the most efficient and honoring manner, plus I figured you guys might have better and more unique ideas than a typical Google search or Homestead blogger.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4339
Location: Anjou ,France
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Ok this my own personal take on this their are  specific recipes out there for most bits of chicken
Like the feet ( Chinese ) and the neck ( French ) but for myself there are far too much faff and bother as there are only two of us and one chicken at a time
So I ditch the head and feet and the alimentry tract retaining the heart lungs and liver plus I detach the neck .
I roast the bird with stuffing ( sage and onion ) two meals take the white meat left and make a curry( two meals ) then boil the left over carcass take off any meat left for chicken casserole two meals and stock left bits of meal after picking over the bones plus chopped up liver heart etc goes to make a soup  so that's another two meals
Making eight meals
 
Ian Pringle
Posts: 32
Location: Central VA
bike chicken urban
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David Livingston wrote:Ok this my own personal take on this their are  specific recipes out there for most bits of chicken
Like the feet ( Chinese ) and the neck ( French ) but for myself there are far too much faff and bother as there are only two of us and one chicken at a time
So I ditch the head and feet and the alimentry tract retaining the heart lungs and liver plus I detach the neck .
I roast the bird with stuffing ( sage and onion ) two meals take the white meat left and make a curry( two meals ) then boil the left over carcass take off any meat left for chicken casserole two meals and stock left bits of meal after picking over the bones plus chopped up liver heart etc goes to make a soup  so that's another two meals
Making eight meals



You should try adding the feet to the stock pot! If there was only a single part of the chicken I could make stock with it would be the feet! I know people eat the feet, but I think they taste bad. However, they are AMAZING in a stock. Rapid boil for five minutes and then throw into a pot of cold water until they are cool enough to handle. Then peel them (remove the skin) and cut off the talons (to reveal the marrow). Back into a pot and boil down. Makes such a luxurious stock because there is so much marrow and gelatine in the feet.

I will definitely see how many meals we can make. These guys are on the small side (layer breeds not broiler) but I think we can probably nab like three or four meals.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1267
Location: RRV of da Nort
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We usually cook out the entire bird (no feet, no head, no entrails) and sometimes give it a dash of grilling for effect and flavor.  I've not tried making traditional sausage patties with raw chicken, but really like the "chicken-apple sausage" combination.  May try making a version of the recipe below with pre-cooked chicken and just using gluten (like seitan) for the binding attribute.

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/249951/chicken-apple-sausage/
 
pollinator
Posts: 8137
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Pet food is made from worse things. Are there any pets that could be fed undesirable parts?

Probably the easiest thing to feed them to would be carnivorous fish. No disease vectors and some of them swallow things whole, so you wouldn't have to process very much. This option would be great if you're dealing with carcasses on a regular basis. They also make a great spot to dump slugs and snails from the garden and any other unwanted creature.
 
Posts: 89
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Definitely agree about using the whole bird. We will be butchering nearly 50 for the first time in two weeks. Previously we have skinned the feet and used them for broth - definitely LOVE doing this, way thicker better broth and so healthy! Organs like the gizzard and heart are delicious sauteed on high with a but of fat and salt! Head can also go to stock pot. Although you can eat combs, they are a lot of work to skin. Entrails and blood add valuable nutrients to soil. After you cook and eat the organs (learn to identify which ones you want to eat and how to prep them), put the skeleton, feet, and head in a crockpot on low for 2 days with carrot, onion, celery, and whatever herbs you like. Then have the most amazing broth ever! Bones and feathers and the leftover blood and entrails then add bone meal, blood meal, and feather meal to your compost bin so you don't have to buy those inputs anymore!
 
pollinator
Posts: 520
Location: Missouri Ozarks
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We always put neck, liver, and heart back into the body cavity.  Nearly every bird we cook is roasted whole, with those bits inside; afterwards, it all goes into the stockpot.  We're at least using those bits indirectly, that way.

We run the bones through the stockpot at least twice, until they're falling apart.  You can crush them with very little finger pressure.  At some point, though, the stock starts to develop a sort of metallic twang.  Then the bones are thrown out the back door, and the dog finishes them off.

Gizzards are good when braised.  Shred 'em and make tacos.

Hearts and gizzards work well in confit, too.  You could throw the necks in there also, but it's fiddly picking the meat off from around the vertebrae.

As for other organs, we toss them in a bucket, which gets subsequently raided by the dog, the cats, chickens and ducks.  They also lap up the blood from under the kill cones.  It'd take a bit to work out the logistics, but you could also collect the blood for blood sausage.

Heads and feet are good for stock.  Leave them on the carcass when roasting for a unique presentation.  (That is just as much a "use" as eating.)  I don't think there's really a need to skin the feet; just wash them well.  (Then again, we raise heritage breeds, which move around a lot more and are much less likely to be standing around in manure than the CRX.)

Feathers could be kept for decoration or craft projects, but probably only if you're dry plucking.  Other birds will also eat feathers.  They're a good protein source.
 
Posts: 43
Location: Southeast Brazil
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To use the blood make chicken with brown gravy.
When killing the chicken put a spoon or two of vinegar on a plate and hold the plate close to the chicken neck, where you are going to cut. The blood must drip directly from chicken neck to plate or it will clot. The vinegar is to keep the blood from clot also. Then keep the blood in the fridge If possible.

Cook the chicken in a pot with seasons. Five minutes before It is ready, mix a spoon of rye flour to the blood and mix It in the pot. Delicious!

That is a tradicional recipe from my brasilian region. But I think It comes from Portugal. It is called "galinha ao molho pardo" hier.
 
Sergio Cunha
Posts: 43
Location: Southeast Brazil
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Bill Mollisson talks in a book about using the feathers as insulation. I never did It.
 
Posts: 197
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It is odd that you mention not using the chicken feet . I lived in Juneau Ak for about 7 months. The grocery store was in an area called the " valley" !, about 10 miles inland.  Wandering the meat isle?   Chicken feet, lots of chicken feet. So, being me, I had to ask " what's up with the chicken feet?? The answer was " they are a delicacy".  Not gonna lie, never at a chicken foot, but if a large store carries them? Someone is eating them. ( yes, yes, I know what chickens stand in. Lol they claim they deep fry the??
 
Posts: 41
Location: Tzununa, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, Central America
4
chicken goat
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Sorry for the late response, I hope this is still helpful for future chickens!

My husband and I regularly butcher chickens and we always save the feet and heads to use for stock. It's delicious! We also like to fry up the organs and eat them as an appetizer before the main chicken course. And one of our dogs is a fanatic for the intestines and all the parts we don't want to eat, though our other dog is completely uninterested. Maybe you have a pet who'd like it and if not, I bet there's a way to compost them.

If you're still unsure about the best way to butcher the birds, here's a video we made explaining how we do it:



Best, Colleen
Atitlan Organics
www.atitlanorganics.com
 
Posts: 106
Location: Pyrenees Mountains, South of France
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Everyone has given a lot of advice about using all the different bits in a chicken so I won't repeat what is already good advice, but there is something that we used to do in the South West of France when I was a kid, and I am still doing it now: it's using the blood.  Before I kill a chicken, I prepare in a bowl a mixture of the soft inside of a crusty bread (crumbled), garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.  I then stir in the chicken blood and fry the resulting mix like a pancake until crispy - delicious, hot off the pan!  The amount of bread depends on the amount of blood, you need to have the bread well soaked before cooking it, you can add a small drop of vinegar to somewhat retard the coagulation if you wish.  By the way, it's called "sanquette" in French and every small farmer worth their salt used to do that with maybe some small variation like adding onions, different herbs or small bits of cured ham.  
 
Posts: 39
Location: Vermont, USA (zone 4)
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To make the most delicious giblet stuffing on the face of the planet, I chop up two loaves of any good organic white bread into one inch (approx) pieces and put these into one or two disposable/recyclable foil baking pans (or non disposable if you prefer).   I stir in two large chopped onions and a package of washed & chopped organic celery. I also add a stick of organic butter cut into bits and sprinkle heavily with bell's seasoning or a mix of rosemary, oregano, sage, and black pepper.  Next I boil the chicken livers, gizzards, and hearts from several chickens, chop them into small pieces (altho I and the dogs usually snack on some along the way) and set aside in the fridge.  Then I bake the chicken and drain the juice, and add this to juice saved (in the freezer) from several previously baked chickens.  I pour the chicken juice over the bread, vegies, and giblet mixture in the pan(s) and then cover with foil and bake for an hour.  I freeze half of it.  This delicious stuffing feeds us for the week of Thanksgiving, and the frozen half is thawed to accompany baked chicken, winter squash, peas, potatoes, and cranberry sauce for Christmas and the week following.  It's the way my Grandma used to make stuffing.  (You can also add cranberries or nuts to the stuffing before baking.)

I've tried chicken feet before, but they are literally skin and bones.  They make a tasty treat when baked with grated cheese sprinkled on top, but there is not much to them.  

I save juice, chicken meat, and large bones in the freezer and use them to make chicken soup later.  Small bones, and a whole chicken carcass, will leach nutrition into a soup, but they are so small and problematic to remove that it just isn't worth the effort to me.  Once bones have been used they should go into the garbage.  It is dangerous to feed cooked bones to pets or wild animals due to a very likely probability of death due to perforated intestines.  The only way to use bones as plant fertilizer would be to grind them into a meal, but that would require equipment I do not possess.

By now I'm guessing your roosters are eaten or in the freezer.
 
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