That the cockerels are finally culled. I have been putting it off for as long as possible, however the past two days one of the Faverolle boys has taken to 4.30am crowing and even in the heavy coop with little height to stretch his neck he is making an almighty racket.
This year I won’t be doing the culling myself, I’ll just be helping with the plucking afterwards. If anyone is looking at culling this year’s cockerels for the table there is a helpful article on the main site about Killing a Chicken and this also gives you a guide on how to best pluck your chicken to get it table ready too. Once you have plucked your bird you will need to “Dress” it for the table. This is something I tend to pass off to someone else to do as I can’t stomach the smell when gutting! Again on the main site is a helpful article on how to Dress a Home Killed Bird.
If it is your first time culling, preparing and eating your own birds I would highly advise going on a course that shows you how to do it. Although guides such as those on our site do work the value of watching someone else do it is huge. When I first got chickens I went on a course to kill, pluck and prepare my birds not just because I wanted to grow on the cockerels for meat but also so that in an emergency and the vets wasn’t open I could put a poorly bird out of their suffering. Thankfully I haven’t had to do this as even my oap ex-barn girls are thriving but it is a useful skill to have for any poultry keeper.
After culling and preparing the bird I make sure there is space in the freezer. I find that if I pop the birds in the freezer for a few weeks it stops me thinking or poor little Faverolle boy or Buff Orpington boy. For some this isn’t a problem, but for me I can be soft at times so that time in the freezer allows me to forget the day of culling and preparing and I enjoy the bird so much more when I come to eat it.
When it comes to eating a home raised bird remember that they don’t look the same a shop bought. The breast will be small and the legs thicker so you will find a lot more dark meat especially on a home grown cockerel from a pure breed. They still make wonderful roast dinners but can also be portioned and turned into a wonderful coq-au-vin or maybe Tandoori Chicken. The left overs if you do roast could be turned into a lovely Chicken Pie or you could try searching or Recipe Pages for other delicious chicken recipes.