Wow.

We try to be so super clean about the whole process. That's part of what takes us so long. Every surface that those birds will come in contact with is scrubbed in HOT water, BLEACHED and rinsed. I spend lots of time lugging buckets of hot water around. Then the whole thing is conducted like surgery.

This time, since we did only a few, we didn't fire up that nuclear plucker (aka the chicken hucker, since it will fling a chicken!) we plucked by hand. Birds were dipped, plucked on one end of the table, the carcass was then washed and set on another end of the table to be cleaned. We set the birds on big sheets of heavy paper. As each bird is cleaned and put into yet another bath, the paper it was on is folded up, taken away and a clean sheet set beneath the next bird. In the meantime I wipe the plucking area with hot, bleachy water.

Hubby takes great care and time in cleaning and takes the crop out the top part of the bird and guts out the bottom. In the event that some innards accidentally come in contact with the carcass, I encourage him with the words, "great, now we're all going to die!" But after cleaning the bird is cooled and washed two more times before it is finally bagged and frozen.

We did this last weekend and it was COLD! With my hands mostly in cold water while I washed and got the pin feathers, I'm sure I was in the beginning stages of hypothermia before we were finished. The things we do for that glorious, roasted chicken, the envy of our city friends who must eat that.....other stuff.

It is decided! Next time, they will be fed their rations the day before, but skip breakfast the following morning. This seems to me the middle of the road solution. That is....if we remember. thanks all! smile