Then 200 more chickens fell in our collective lap, all ready to be processed within the same week. And so we did what any suddenly chicken overwhelmed farmers would do: assembled a team of farm veterans for some marathon processing events.
The kill floor
The group processed three batches of approximately 70 chickens each during the week. The first round took the five of us six hours - about as much time with your hand inside a chicken as is enjoyable. After all that practice, the Big Man and I, just the two of us, were streamlined enough to do the last batch of 65 in a 3 hour Saturday session, with another 2 lazy hours the next day to weigh, label and bag.
As for the experience. As with any process that involves dispatching life, it is strenuous and messy in both the physical and spiritual sense. Chickens, however, are comparatively easy. They are not cute. They are not anything close to intelligent. They are unpleasant to work with and enjoy pecking at the hands that feed them.