Sunday, June 14, 2015
Our first year of raising chickens and ducks for protein was a learning experience, and we did not realize just how much until we began to raise this years batch. We kept last year's fowl well into early fall because they just did not seem be growing as expected. When they did go for processing and we got them back they were very thin and tough. With the exception of I'd say two, they have spent the rest of the time in our freezer, with us not quite knowing what to do with them.
That is where this year comes in. All of our birds are huge and growing very fast. In fact we will call for a processing appointment on our ducks in about two weeks! I would say it was a problem with the breed, we changed hatcheries and went a different route on the chickens this year getting Red Rangers, but we kept with Pekin ducks so now I believe it was just the quality of stock coming from the hatchery. From day one the chicks were aggressive eaters and foragers.
With a very wet start to summer, and rain in the forecast for most of this weekend, we got some tasks done when we could outside, but mostly focused inside and clearing out the freezer. B had the great idea to try pressure cooking the chickens to see if that made them more tender, and then pressure canning the meat for future. That, did the trick! We ended up with 6 1/2 quarts of beautiful shredded chicken, and 7 quarts of a rich stock, all canned and ready to make easy meals on busy nights.