Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers


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How to cook a homegrown chicken

Roast chickenNearly every chicken slaughtering and butchering tutorial I've run across ends when the guts leave the bird.  Our own chicken butchering video is guilty of this omission because we simply didn't know any better.  Although our grandparents probably knew exactly what to do when that bird reached their kitchen, I for one have spent years figuring out the best way to cook a chicken.  Here are a few tips I've compiled over the last few years of cooking my own chickens.

Wait for rigor mortis to relax before cooking your bird.  You've probably heard that good beef is aged for several days before eating, but did you know that you should age chicken meat as well?  The easiest method is to put the whole chicken in your fridge for a couple of days (after it has been plucked, deheaded, and eviscerated, of course.)  Many people who complain that their homegrown chickens are tough probably skipped this step.

Leave the skin on.  Some backyard chicken keepers like to save time by skinning the chicken rather than plucking the feathers.  However, they're missing out on real chicken flavor.  The tastiest chicken is roasted with the skin on, allowing the fat from the skin to infuse the meat.

Chicken potstickersOld chickens are best turned into sausage.  So, you want to retire that hen who has stopped laying or the rooster who picks on your biddies --- can you eat them?  The meat of an old chicken will be extremely stringy even if you stew the bird for a long time, but the flavor is phenomenal if you instead grind the meat and turn it into potstickers or sausage.  A meat grinder is perfect for the job, but I've had good luck throwing the meat into a food processor and fishing out the white tendons.

Don't throw away the bones.  If you go to the trouble of raising your own chickens, you probably realize that the entirety of the bird is precious.  Rather than throwing away the bones after you've roasted a chicken, why not turn the carcass into stock?  Homemade chicken stock is much tastier than storebought, and is quite good for you (full of calcium from the bones.)  I used to make complicated stock, but my current method involves throwing the carcass, neck, and giblets into a big pot of water and boiling for a couple of hours.  Toss this simple stock into a vegetarian dish and trick carnivores into thinking they ate meat.

White Cochin with Rhode Island Red chick, pecking at the groundStill don't throw away the bones.  Once you strain out the chicken stock, you'll be left with a good bit of meat and bones.  It's not safe to feed cooked poultry bones to your dog, and if your cat is as spoiled as mine, he probably won't eat it.  However, you can put the carcass back in the chicken pasture and give your flock a boost.  Factory farmers have given this method a bad reputation, but if you know that the bird you ate was healthy (and why else would you have eaten it?), it's perfectly safe to feed the remains to the other chickens.  Chickens are not vegetarians, and their health will improve markedly when given a bit of animal protein from time to time.

We end our chicken food cycle there, allowing anything that's left to enrich our compost pile, but we've considered grinding the bones into bone meal to perk up our laying flock.  Has anyone had experience with grinding bones?  What type of equipment did you use?

Give your broilers the best possible quality of life before slaughter by using a homemade chicken waterer.


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I pressure cook the bones for 30 min and then run through an old fashion hand grinder that has been rigged to use a motor with a belt. I feed these ground bones to my dogs in thier homemade dog food that has the chicken meat,potatoes, carrots cabbage and any other veg that are available from the garden. There is so much marrow in them.
Comment by Darlene late Friday night, February 1st, 2014






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