The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Saving the biggest for the last

chicken and a goat

We retired out last Red Ranger of the year today.

He happened to be the biggest of the flock at 5.7 pounds.

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

Greetings! Please forgive me for asking an off topic question. I know little about homesteading and just found your refrigerator root cellar video and wondered did it work well and if you ran into problems what were they? Were mold, fungus, bugs or critters a problem? Did you cover the doors with anything to protect when not in use? Thank you in advance.

Comment by MG Sat Nov 21 02:49:44 2015
MG --- We put together our full sumup of the project in this ebook. The short version is --- it works great during fall, winter, and spring, although we do add a little supplemental heat during the very coldest nights. No need to cover the doors with anything.
Comment by anna Sat Nov 21 10:16:05 2015
Hi - I'm working towards self-sufficiency in Manitoba. I am developing a good barnyard mix chicken that'll be a nice size and is hardy for our weather (small/no combs!). Anyway, I've only "done" about 6 chickens so far and really haven't found the best method for dispatching them. Even the sharpest knife seems to take forever to saw through their skin, and I'm careful to part the feathers. I keep getting told by the old timers to use a hatchet, but I want the bird hanging or in a cone when I kill it. What is your method? And how do you dispose of the parts you don't use? Thank you.
Comment by Becky Sat Nov 21 21:07:19 2015

Becky --- Some of this is just practice, unfortunately. I feel like it took at least a hundred birds before Mark felt like he was killing the birds perfectly every time.

That said, here's what Mark does. (I gut and he kills.) He uses a very sharp knife and swears that buying a hunting knife made all the difference. He also wears a thick glove on this non-knife hand, which makes it much safer to cut hard and fast. We agree with you that a knife against a hanging bird's throat is a good method...once you get good at it.

Lucy sits nearby as we work and I toss her the hearts and (if she's hungry enough) the livers. The rest of the insides are buried in a posthole Mark digs in the ground at the end of our butchering day. We stew up the feet and necks to make broth, then dispose of those cooked bones in the wood stove, turning them into biochar. The rest of the chicken, we eat.

I hope that helps! Learning to butcher well is definitely a skill and you'll get better over time. Good luck!

Comment by anna Sun Nov 22 07:39:13 2015

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.