Thursday, March 19, 2009

Seeking Chicken Salvage Recipes- Crunchy, or Not.


I have a dead chicken.  Not- as a consequence of the dog.

When I went out to turn the birds loose for the day (they're closed in the coop at night, totally free all day) - the coop looked fine; all the birds were inside, including the little banty hen who is a slippery as a weasel- and one of the Buff Orpington roosters was - dead.

99.99% probability - he was murdered by the other, single remaining, Orp rooster.  Now I'm wondering if the disappearance of the 3rd Orp rooster, last week, was not due to the eagles hanging around- but to rooster harassment. 

Sigh.  Well, vast relief it's not the dog; who is still behaving beautifully.  And I can feel the relief from the hens, who were definitely over-exercised.

The carcass is not ripped up, or anything, but the corpse was cold when I got there.

So.  Now what?

The bird is 9 months old.  But was harassed- and left to lie undrawn for quite some time.  And, surprise, the other birds in the coop wound up walking over it, and pooping a little on it.

Can I pluck it, or should I skin it?  (Of course I intend to eat him!)  Is he going to taste a little rank?  From being kicked around and undrawn so long?

Any experience in chicken salvaging out there?  

I'm leaning toward a pot-pie, at the moment.  This will be the first bird we've eaten out of our experiment.  Most of the muscle mass will be from commercial feed; but they've been truly free range since they were 7 weeks old.  They ate, to my astonishment, a lot of apples; mostly Roxbury Russet (the coop is under one) and Golden Russet, which is the next line in the orchard.  For a month and a half setting the birds loose for the day included stepping on and crushing about a dozen groundfall apples for them- which they would attack immediately. Could be interesting.

Any suggestions?

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oh, yeah, and the computer is restored.  And, of course, Beelar, who has been Sys Admin for his grad school engineering department, tells me "huh, I've never known one to do that before..." - which is standard operating around here.  Whatever we break- no one has never broken it that way, before.  I could give you a list.

10 comments:

Nettle said...

The problem with an undrawn bird is that you get the internal organs sitting next to the meat and decomposing - you've got the gasses and the undigested food and all that - warm and just sitting in the body cavity. If it's been cold out and you're sure it's only been out a few hours, it might be ok. I'd recommend skinning it rather than plucking (since the others have been walking and pooping on it, the skin is probably icky by now anyway and it's so much easier to skin than to pluck.)Clean it RIGHT AWAY. Sooner the better. You should be able to tell by visual and nose inspection if it's OK to eat.

I'd be inclined to stew it. But that's probably because any of my experience with, um, found meat is of the gamy variety and stew hides a multitude of sins. If the meat looks and smells OK you can probably do whatever you would like with it.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Well, I have no practical advice. You're an intelligent person (most of the time) and have advanced degrees in Biology so you know the risk. And people eat roadkill all the time, or at least in some areas of the country, without knowing Time of Death.

If it's stone cold and stiff as a, well, rooster, there might be something festering in there. Or not. As Nettle suggested, sniffing it is one way of testing it, but I'd be stewing the crap out of it if I were you. But, then again, if I were you, I'd be too apprehensive about eating it.

I suppose if we see no more posts from you, we'll know it was from death by rooster.

Anonymous said...

Why keep more than one rooster together? Has this ever worked for yo or do you know anyone it has worked for? As chicks it works but after a year at most it doesn't. Maybe depending on breed?

I am genuinely interested as we are getting new chicks this spring and are planning on keeping two separate flocks so we can keep separate bloodlines, insure against loss of rooster and keep everyone happy. We mix chickens and muscovy ducks together which that cuts down on overwintering space. One drake and one rooster get along with each other and their girls.

This seems to me to be a classic mistake sort of like "we wanted to homestead but didn't know anything and now we're moving back to town, or I know it's never worked before but lets see if it will work for me...".
EJ

Knit2dye4 said...

Greenpa,
I know you are probably busy, and this comment is TOTALLY off topic. BUT, I am going to ask a favor anyway. I know you have been living off grid for a long time, and we have only been doing it for a year. I talked at some length about our current dilemma with utilities on my blog: http://lifeonthelastfrontier.blogspot.com/2009/03/utilities-dilemma.html. One person commented that you would be a good person to weigh in. Would you be willing to? I just gave you the address, instead of pasting the whole long thing here. Thanks,
Lori

Fresh and Feisty said...

I have cooked a rooster before. Definitely skin it. I ended up putting it in the crockpot with enchilada sauce and letting it cook on low all day. We then pulled the bones out and made burritos out of it. It was wonderful! Enjoy.

Shadow said...

Hey EJ,

One reason to keep more than one rooster is if you have a large flock of chickens. We used to keep about 25 hens & 2 roosters (still plenty of action for the boys). Why 2? Because roosters do more than mount hens, they watch guard over them from hawks & other predators. If one rooster dies it's nice to have a back-up around. And oddly, our roosters always had some hierarchy set up so there weren't fights (or maybe 12-13 hens is all a rooster can service each day before he starts feeling too tired to fight).

Greenpa just needed more hens to even the odds a bit. But 2 roosters can work if the flock of hens is large enough.

One other note - we kept 25 hens b/c the hatchery sent the chickens in packs of 50 - and the other 23 roosters were in the freezer. Yummm.

Susan Och said...

I don't eat chickens that I find dead in the barn. There are more chicken diseases than I can keep track of, and I do try to keep track. Some of these can be transmitted to humans, and not just by eating. Do you really need another bout of flu? Get out some rubber gloves before you cut into this bird.

I'm not sure that the other rooster killed it. Usually they just beat up on each other until one starts acting like a hen. A weasel will kill birds and suck their blood, leaving the carcass intact and seemingly unmolested.

Anne said...

Don't know much about the safety of eating a dead rooster, but I used to make something called "Supreme of Old Hen", a recipe I got from an older Joy of Cooking. That was its nickname in the book, afraid I don't know what it's real name is/was. Anyway, it involved a lot of wine and sour cream, and was supposed to be particularly good for tough old birds ;-)

Cheap Like Me said...

Well, I'm with the others who said they wouldn't eat it. Maaayyybe feed it to the dog on the (perhaps faulty) information I had that they can eat garbage, etc., and suffer less than we do because they have much shorter intestinal tracts that harbor less bad bacteria and junk.

But if I DID cook it, I would go for Ethiopian doro wat - stewed to bits and with a nice hot spicy sauce to mask any weirdness.

Good luck ...

tickmeister said...

I wouldn't eat it myself, you don't really know what killed it, maybe plague or something. Dress it, grind it up, cook it, and feed it to the dog. He's got to have something to eat and Ol' Roy is getting a little pricey. And I second all comments about 1 rooster per dozen hens.