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Step by step in photos: Whole bird butchering and processing at Osprey Hill Butchery

Oct 16th, 2014 | Category: Animals

Following is a step by step in photos of the butchering process recorded at Osprey Hill Farm’s sister business and new butchering unit, Osprey Hill Butchery, in Acme.

This information accompanied the poultry processing article published in our October 2014 issue.  The link to that article is available at: http://grownorthwest.com/2014/10/poultry-processing-new-butchering-options-available-to-farmers-and-home-growers-through-osprey-hill-butchery-northwest-agriculture-business-center-and-oak-meadows-farm/.osprey hill butchery web

This specific unit is 500 square feet and allows for six chickens to be processed at one time. All parts of the chicken not sold (intestines, feathers, etc.) are collected and used in the farm’s composting system. All water used during the process is also collected for later irrigation in farm fields. The chickens are raised from chicks, and on pasture to butchering weight, approximately 8-9 weeks. The whole birds are processed and moved to the freezer within a day. Future plans will allow for specific cuts such as breast and thigh, as well as fresh meat. The unit currently processes chickens and turkeys, and will be able to butcher hare and waterfowl in coming months.

Photos by Becca Schwarz Cole

 

PROCESS

On butchering day, the chickens are collected from the fields and held next to the unit. (Home-growers opting to have their chickens butchered here drop off birds shortly before butchering time.)

2 - ready for butchering web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each bird is placed upside down in a mounted cone, with an opening allowing the bird’s head through. Using a very sharp knife, the two neck arteries are quickly cut. The bird bleeds out, and is unconscious within seconds. Buckets placed below the cones collect much of the blood (later composted).

3 - arteries cut web

4 - chicken bled out web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once bled out, the birds are transferred to a rack that rotates in and out of hot water (147 degrees). This scalding process loosens the feathers for removal.

5 - scalded web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The birds are placed in a plucking machine that spins rapidly for roughly 30 seconds. It removes the feathers, collecting them on one side of the machine (to be later composted).

6- defeathering web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After being scalded and defeathered, the whole bird is ready for cleaning.

7 - defeathered web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Through a small window inside the unit, the birds are then transferred from the butchering side to the evisceration side (co-owner Geoff Martin pictured), where they will now be cleaned and processed. The intestines and organs are removed, as well as the heads and feet.

8 - hands through naked chicken web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The birds are hanged and cleaned. All removed intestines, organs and parts fall into a center trough, where they are collected and flow into a basket. The feet and other parts are sold, and the remaining parts not sold will go to compost (later step).

birds hung and cleaned web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the birds are cleaned, they are immediately placed in an ice water bath, and moved to the large walk-in cooler inside the unit. The birds receive a final cleaning for quality control, and are hung for 24 hours in the cooler. The rack in the background holds 250 birds. (Co-owner Anna Martin, pictured.)

Anna Martin, co-owner of Osprey Hill Farm and its new sister business Osprey Hill Butchery, does a final cleaning for quality control. Once the birds are butchered and cleaned, they are immediately placed in an ice water bath, and moved to the large walk-in cooler inside Osprey Hill Butchery's processing unit. The rack in the background holds 250 birds. PHOTO BY BECCA SCHWARZ COLE

 

All parts not sold (feathers, intestines, etc.) are collected during the process and then moved by tractor to the compost site on the farm. The farm has a year-long composting process. All water used during the process is also collected for later irrigation in farm fields.

 

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headed for compost osprey hill butchery web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After hanging in the cooler for 24 hours, the birds are packaged for the freezer and stored in the freezer or delivered to customers and stores.

PHOTO BY KYLER MARTIN

PHOTO BY KYLER MARTIN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Comment to “Step by step in photos: Whole bird butchering and processing at Osprey Hill Butchery”

  1. Anna Martin says:

    A big thank you to the whole team at Grow NW for having the bravery to publish a controversial topic. There’s a blossoming interest in animal husbandry, quality meat, the craft of butchering, and artistry of meat preservation. Here’s to honest dialog and shared information about honing skills that should fall into the hands of people, not factories.

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