Jen & Pete’s Backyard Birds

We observed Jen Hashley & Pete Lowy operate their mobile chicken processing unit.

We spent time with Jen Hashley & Pete Lowy observing their mobile chicken processing project. With the help of local volunteers, they humanely slaughtered and packaged about 400 chickens. Jen and Pete raised all of the birds in a free-range environment.

Pete Lowy gently and humanely slaughtered each of the birds himself. He electrically stunned each chicken prior to cutting their necks to bleed them out, rending them insensible and unable to feel the pain of the cut. He assured that they were completely dead before he put them in the scalding tank.

Pete took time to explain the differences between the Red Chickens and the Cornish White Chickens. The Red Chickens are leaner and weigh less, and their meat is has a more distinctive flavor that some people prefer.

Theses white chickens are bred to have large breasts to produce the white meat that most people prefer. They grow very quickly and will usually be slaughtered by the time they are 8-9 weeks old.

The volunteers (all personally taught by Jen Hashley in the techniques that morning), delighted in the opportunity to learn how to prepare chickens from slaughter, to de-feathering, through evisceration, to the package.

Jen is incredibly knowledgeable about local small-scale farming issues. She is happy to share what she knows in order to help create a more vibrant infrastructure that supports the processing of local meats.