Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Chicken Evaluation: Extra Notes

I knew it was going to be a lot of work to get the chickens from the pasture to the pot so to speak and it has been. It is one of the most satisfying thing we have done yet.
The first Buff Orpingtons have made the grade.

Some Notes of Interest:
They may be a loose feathered breed but wow do they have a lot of feathers. One thing I noticed about them was the thicker feathered area on their Butts. The Buckeye had this too. These two breeds have fluffy bottoms that amuse us when the wind blows but when your cleaning them you see just why they are so fluffy and why the cold has almost no impact on them.
The Buff's are very pale skinned, not white like the Australorp but a pale cream.
They have good thighs and drumsticks but the breast area on these [smaller poorer conformation birds] that we butchered is shorter in length than the Australorp and Buckeye. Still they are also younger birds by nearly a month.
They averaged 4 pounds dressed. In fact the 30 birds we have done have averaged 4.75 pounds.
We were very pleased about that.
We can see why the Buff Orpington is so popular, they are beautiful, vigorous birds with a wonderful disposition and great  maternal traits. They will also give you good table birds in cull roosters. They free range exceptionally well. The only drawback we have found is the young roosters when they start to reach puberty are awful, not people aggressive but all the other poultry is terrified of them including the turkeys. They will mount anything.

As to eating quality. We had a stew made with a Buckeye and it was really good. I used a 13 bean soup mix and my slow cooker with home  canned stock and tomatoes. I used my own dehydrated onions, celery, carrots and turnips. Then I added some dehydrated mushrooms we bought at the Amish supermarket.The Chicken was exceptionally tender and had rich flavor.
I have been experimenting with broths and stocks. I learned that your not supposed to stir stock. I followed this guideline for the most part and I have some [well what I think] lovely clear stock from the Buffs. I have been canning the stock in both quarts and pints. I have also made some flavored stock with Mexican Spice I  have for a spicier stock.
The chicken itself is going into quarts and pints as well, more quarts than pints. This  mix  of jar sizes should give us options when we use it.

Yesterdays results

Now back to the sweatshop....Ralph made a tactical error yesterday and lit the woodstove while I was canning......we had windows and doors open and it was still hot in here!

God Bless everyone and remember to learn new things and get your pantry filled with your own home grown goodness. It is good for you on so many levels aside from healthier food.

PS: if you notice in the photo I have an All American Canner. Ralph bought it for me when we were in Virginia. We bought the small one [910- 7 pints,4 quarts] for a number of reasons and I love it. However it is way too small to do this amount of canning and Ralph ordered the 930 [19 pints- 13 quarts] yesterday.


  1. Fiona, your stock looks wonderful! What bounty! I have an All American Canner on my wish list 'though my present canner isn't bad. I have noticed the 'fluffy butts' on my Orpingtons - and you're right. It's only cute until you have to pluck them!

  2. Thank you for your comment, I am glad I wasn't just hallucinating about the feathers! If you do save up for an All American, I would recommend the 921...it is probably the most all around useful size. Ralph figured the 930 working with the 910 would be better for our current situation. Oh and more thanks about the stock compliment. It tastes lovely too!

  3. Your stock is beautiful! How long do you simmer it? For chickens that will be canned, we just skin them. This is our first year with the Buffs, too, and we are really impressed with them. Our cold weather has not stopped them and they are outside when the others won't brave the snow.

    1. It is very basic stock, celery, carrots and onions simmered for 5 hours, gently stirred once to shift the top bones to the bottom. I used wing tips, deboned thighs and the carcasses. It tastes very good to me and I look forward to using it.

  4. Gorgeous! That picture - the whole post - is truly inspiring.

    1. Thank you...I hope that I can encourage people!

  5. You have been busy! I love seeing all those jars of stock and broth - one can never have enough! I have a 4 quart canner too, which I hardly ever use. It needs a new gasket though, so maybe I should get on just in case.

  6. I have done a lot of canning with the 910 and I would certainly recommend it as a great canner for a single person or someone who does not do large amounts of canning at one time. I learned a lot about pressure canning with it! It is sad people do not can more of their own broth...it makes such a huge difference in flavor and salt levels to make your own.