Processing broilers for small scale farmers

Consumers often wonder why some chickens taste better than other, well it all goes back as to how the chicken was processed. Having been in the poultry industry since I was 10, I noticed a number of steps farmers should take in order to get tastier birds that will definitely return their customers.

Step 1
Do not feed the birds for about 8 to 12 hours before slaughtering. Allow the chickens to have plenty of water as usual. This allows the intestines to empty the partly digested food and will also give a better appearance to the ready to cook chicken.

Step 2
Catch and handle birds carefully. If they collide with equipment as they run around, they may bruise themselves and spoil the meat. Catch them at dawn or dusk before they become active.

Step 3
Take the chickens to your slaughtering area. Please do not slaughter chickens in the chicken house. Hang the chicken in a chicken slaughtering cone. Quickly make a slit on the veins just below the earlobes and leave blood to drip for two minutes. NB: PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE THE HEAD AS THIS WILL MAKE IT EASIER FOR YOU WHEN REMOVING THE FEATHERS.
A well designed slaughtering cone available at Passion Poultry stops the chicken from fluttering after you have made a slit in the veins below the earlobes. It also stops the blood from splashing all over, on walls, people and other equipment, saving you a lot of cleaning time.

Step 4
Allow the blood to drip for two minutes. The Passion Poultry Slaughtering device also comes with a stand and drip container for your convenience.

Step 5
Submerge the chicken in a bucket of cold water in order to bring the tempearature of the bird down i.e. cool the bird down. After this submerge in pot of hot water at 52 degrees Celsius to 60 degrees Celsius. This is called Scalding and it enables the feathers to be removed easily and quickly.

Step 6
Hang the scalded chicken from a hook or rope and remove the feathers. You can also place the chicken on the table and remove the feathers. This is called Plucking. A plucking machine can be used to do this whereby you simply throw the bird inside the plucking machine. If you are hand plucking, you start with the feathers on the wings and tail because those are the hardest ones.

Step 7
Place the plucked chicken on a clean table and cut off the feet.

Step 8
Cut the skin along the back of the neck from top to bottom and cut the neck out. Use finger to loosen the crop from the neck.

Step 9
With a sharp pointed knife, cut the skin around the vent making a big hole big enough to get your hand inside and pull out the intestines.

Step 10
Wash the chicken well, then cool it down under running water or in iced water for a few hours before allowing it to drip dry for 15 minutes.

Step 11
Press the wings and legs against the body of the chicken and wrap it up in a clean and attractive packaging.
NB: From my personal experience if you place the packaged chicken in ice cold water for 10 minutes, it takes less time for the birds to freeze.
1. Weigh it and sell it or put it in a deep freezer.

Step Ahead Book 2: New Certificate in Agriculture F. Maran.
Compiled by Evangelista Chekera
For Passion Poultry