Blood, Guts, Gore, and Brownies: Processing Grass-Fed Chickens

My husband and I were up until 3am last Wednesday night, processing 32 massively oversized grass-fed chickens.

Unfortunately, the chicks don’t hatch out of their shells, neatly plastic-wrapped in packages of white meat for me.

chicks in pen

This spring, our family has been redefining backyard chicken-keeping, by putting them in the front yard. I think it is the only relatively flat piece of land on the near property.

chickens in sunset

The movable pen allows the chickens to graze on grass, which means their meat has a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids than chickens who don’t graze. I’d also like to hope it makes their short lives happier.

chickens ready to process 2

My husband wanted me to post pictures of the actual processing of the chickens! Sorry to disappoint, but these gruesome shots were all I could handle:

chicken feet

He did have an impressive setup, with everything necessary to process them right.

chicken processing

“Gut-level” honesty (haha): I get very squeamish about the realities of raising grass-fed chickens. But it is nice to know how our poultry lived, what they were fed, and how they were processed.

Toward the end of the outdoor work, I managed to slice myself with a new knife while removing it from the packaging.

I’m standing there in the dark, starry night, trying to think better thoughts than the first ones that came to mind… All I could think of was the traditional remedy of the chicken-axe wielding women of my childhood church:

I have vivid memories of laughing, exhausted women in blood-spattered clothes, pulling out the 9×13 of brownies to celebrate another year’s worth of poultry in the freezer.

After all that work, they managed to make room for chocolate and chatting.

brownie with raspberry sauce

And this, I believe, is the little-known secret of keeping the sustainable lifestyle sustainable!

At least one of those women has switched to gluten-free, and so has my husband. For them, instead of traditional brownies, I tested an avocado and coconut flour version, with raspberry sauce for extra sweetness.

You’ll have to join our next chicken-processing party to try them!! 😉

9 Responses to “Blood, Guts, Gore, and Brownies: Processing Grass-Fed Chickens”
  1. david wolfe says:

    the real test comes with th eating i think they will be GREAT injewish chicken soup

  2. david wolfe says:

    the truth is when ever we eat meat something had to die and somebody had to get bloody
    god bless the good news are many too the chicks are happier the food is better and the work can be shared and distributed

  3. Judy says:

    Oh my! What memories! And what stories we could tell, huh?!! You girls started carrying the beheaded chickens when you were hardly tall enough to keep their necks from dragging on the ground. And first job? getting the lining out of the gizzards! And when John had flowers delivered to Debra Myers — yellow ones, “because you’ve probably already seen enough red today.” But the brownies are definitely the best memory! Fun post, Debbie.

  4. Shelly says:

    I wasn’t a part of the original butcher-babes, but joined in with our home-version of moveable chicken pens and butchering with the kids along the way. What memories and family building times- still the topic of many family stories and jokes!!! The final product is so good tasting and wholesome. Love pulling farm produce from the freezer.
    Blessings on you-

    • mulberrytreehouse says:

      Butcher babes!!! 🙂
      Michael gets ideas from Joel Salatin, which probably explains why his process is similar to yours!

  5. Reva says:

    Love this – love having been a part of all that life – love having passed it on to the next generation.

  6. Reva says:

    P.S. – would like to try those GF brownies!