This Past Sunday Gabe and I did the unexpected and traveled to Lacona, IA to help Coyote Run Farm on a chore. The chore? Well, this may sound gruesome but we went to help butcher 100 spent laying hens. Why on Earth would we ever want to do that for? Well, FREE chicken meat! That was the deal. Come and help and in exchange we were offered a farm fresh meal and free-range chickens that we helped slaughter. I really couldn’t say no to the deal since farm fresh chickens are usually around $12 a hen. I was really surprised when Gabe agreed to go and really didn’t seem like the idea bothered him at all. I was kind of hoping he would have laughed at the suggestion but when he agreed I bit the bullet and signed us up.
I’m really glad we went. It was work but at the same time, Gabe and I now know how to process our own chickens. In the future, we would like to raise our own broilers and process them ourselves. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but they also weren’t my chickens. I had no attachment to them. It was really cool talking to Patrick, one of the owners of Coyote Run. I asked him if it was difficult to butcher his own chickens. He told me that yes, it was, but it’s part of what you have to do if you’re going to eat meat. It was harder for him to take some of his turkeys a few years back to a locker where the person culling and butchering his turkeys showed no compassion for the birds. Doing it on the farm, he said, he knows that he’s creating the best stress-free environment for the birds before culling them quickly.
I was so glad to be able to visit the farm. It was absolutely beautiful. It’s one hundred acres where they grow enough vegetables to sell at the Downtown Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning. They also have mules, cows, and of course chickens. Each animal has acres of pasture to graze on. The chickens themselves have 5 acres of pasture and will soon have more. They are also growing alfalfa and making their own hay. We were only able to tour a small piece of the farm, but from what we saw, I would definitely make sure to stop by Coyote Run on Saturday mornings and buy some farm fresh, free-range eggs and beef!
After a long day of pulling feathers and processing, we were treated to an amazing farm fresh meal prepared by Steve Logsdon, owner of Basil Prosperi’s Lucca in the East Village of Des Moines. Coyote Run grows tomatoes and other veggies, especially for this restaurant, so make sure to stop by as they support family farms and local food. The meal was amazing and to top it off we were treated to homemade ice cream made from Lois Reichert’s (Reicherdt’s Dairy Air) goat milk. Lois herself was helping process chickens! It was a fun time. We met some great people and left with 8 chickens for the deep freeze.
I think the coolest part for me was speaking to my aunts and grandmother Rora in Spain about this. When I told them they were so excited. All they could say was, “anda, estilo Andaluz!”
These are my pictures that I would I like to share 🙂 Please be aware that some of them are graphic. I totally understand that this is definitely not for everyone.
Step 1: The Cull
Step 2: Defeather
Once the chicken was culled, it was dunked in a huge pot of boiling water. The chicken was dunked in and out for about a minute and a half which made the feathers pretty much slide off.
Step 3: Gutting the chicken
You can see Lois Reichert getting rid of all the insides.
Step 4: Final Wash
Once the chicken was feathered and gutted it was cleaned out with water and then sent to a cooler to sit in ice.
That was it. It took us about 4 hours to get through 100 chickens. After they were all processed, Patrick from Coyote Run Farm gave us a tour of their farm.
The chickens are tended to so well at Coyote Run. With five acres of pasture and more on the way, these chickens are living the good life. Not only is this good for them but also for anyone eating these nourished filled eggs. If you’ve never had an egg from Coyote Run, I would suggest you give them a try. The yolks are a deep orange, firm and round. The whites are clear and thick. A sure sign of an egg filled with nutrients. These pictures will explain why these eggs are nutrient dense.
Farmers Market Produce. Coyote Run’s veggies are beautiful.