La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France at the time. We chose it while on the road, moving house the first time round, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like we did and like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, after yet another stint in Ireland, we're back in France @ Le Mas d'Ayen

Friday, August 05, 2016

A Broiler Cull

Last Tuesday these chickens (below) were more than ready to be culled. Broilers they call them. To be honest, I don't think we will get them next time. They are over bred and I feel for them. It doesn't seem natural to me (and it probably isn't) that they grow so fast and can hardly take two steps before they have to sit down again.

They were from end of May and in normal circumstances they get slaughtered for meat between the 5 and 7 week mark. Ours were about 10 weeks old.

Anyway, we had a friend, Ruud, to assist us to do the deed. No fussing with an axe, no stress for the chickens or for any of us. A quick snap with three fingers and done.
My brother got stuck in and he urged his kids to come along. They need to know where their meat (that they love eating so much) comes from. My sis-in-law wasn't too sure about all that, but they saw, got bored and played in the straw and hay that's stored in the shed, before coming back to the house and played Lego.

My hat off to my sis-in-law, as she hadn't ever done or witnessed anything like this before, but also got stuck in, plucking the chickens.

They then got brought into the kitchen where my mum showed me how to remove the guts without damaging the gallbladder.
The bile can spoil all the meat. Great care was taken to remove gallbladder from the livers too.
Livers are for our own consumption. The heart and stomach for the doggies.

The chickens got washed thoroughly, inside and out.

Some by my mum,

and some by my SIL, Joelle.

I then proceeded with taking the legs, wings and breast meat off. The volume was just too much to place them in the freezer whole.
Joelle vacuum packed and Bert placed everything in the freezer.

A huge stock pot was filled with carcasses and water and boiled till the left on meat fell off the bones.
My mum then picked all the bones into a pile for the dogs and a pile for us.
The stock has been further reduced and can be used for a myriad of dishes.

It was a whole day's work, but I love the fact that we did this as a family, together.

Patricia xxx...x


  1. That's a lot o' chickens! I'm glad, though, you didn't post pics of the whole process.

  2. Gosh that is a lot of chickens I hope you have a big freezer! That will keep you in meat for a while and at least you know what they have eaten and how they have been cared for.

  3. And that's the way so many of us have left behind. A family processing it's own meat and growing their own veg. Having real respect and appreciation for the animals. I, too, don't like those white broilers - totally engineered for quick 'turn-a-round'. Another blog buddy tried the whites, but now raise Red Rangers (free ranging, lots of eggs and good meat). Nice post. I envy you all that stock... :-D


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