Monday, February 20, 2012

Roosters for tea

We hope to sell more eggs, and as a byproduct of this (as we want to hatch all of our layers here under broody mother hens) there will always be baby roosters. Conventional hatcheries employ specialist chicken sexers to sort the baby boys from girls upon hatching and dispatch the male chicks straight away. I've seen a horrendous video of how this was done in one factory farm, but I don't know how it's done here in Australian farms.

Anyhow, to our surplus boys.

This year I realised I could tell male from female chicks early. This gave us the chance to harvest the male birds before they became too chewy. Our first spring clutch this year had a poor hatch, only 5 chicks, but among them were only 2 boys. Yesterday they met their end. It was heart wrenching, it always is, a little bit gory, a little bit fascinating for the kids to watch the gutting of the birds and identify all of the organs and their functions, and ultimately delicious. As I write, the bones of the birds we roasted last night are in the stock pot for soup, and some tasty scraps of flesh I gleaned from the frames will be cooked in a little of the stock with carrots, spuds and herbs, and used to make pies for lunch.

I got a little carried away with instagram, recording and sharing our day. So here is a little photo log of a tasty rooster cull. Please don't judge me by my photography, it's all snapped with my phone in the middle of a busy afternoon!

Very mixed feelings about preparing dinner. Local, tasty & sad.

Mise en pluck. I experimented with dry plucking versus scalding.
The dry plucked bird had more supple skin, easier to loosen and slip herb butter underneath,
but some disconcerting, black feather stumps remained. 
Feet & gizzards to make stock for gravy. Hearts (yum!) & livers for buttery, sagey entree.

Mexican tarragon, Spanish thyme to flavour Dutch Barnevelder teen rooster.
Very cosmopolitan dinner.

And there's these from the garden....
Apart from butter, bread and salt, dinner is all from here!

Except for this....!

Rooster liver & crispy sage.

And the rest of him... Peace can return to the chook run.
We'll be at Farm Gate Market this Sunday, the 26th of February, and at MoMa on Saturday the 3rd of March.


  1. Hi Paul,

    From these wonderful people via Garagistes. Thanks for reading.