Canning chickens for the pantry
By Samantha Biggers
Backwoods Home Magazine
For the past three years my husband and I have raised Cornish Cross broilers in chicken tractors on our farm in western North Carolina. This past year we began canning them. In an average summer we process about 100 broilers so that we don’t have to go to the grocery store for chicken. This also gives us some excess to sell. Pastured chickens grown without antibiotics go for up to $3.50 per pound for whole birds in our area. You can pay for your costs and make a profit if you raise enough to sell some. In many states you can process at least 1,000 per year and sell them without inspection, but it is a good idea to check your state’s laws before selling any.
Boneless canned chicken is so nice to have for quick meals. Rather than buying expensive convenience food you can create your own meals at home. Since the chicken is already cooked, it is ready for immediate use in quick soups, sandwiches, and chicken pot pies. Canning your own chicken broth helps to yield the most calories out of your efforts. Good chicken broth at the store is expensive and oftentimes full of salt. Canning your own allows you to adjust the level of sodium to your dietary needs.
With the economy the way it is, many people are thinking about the rising cost of food and storing a little extra in case of hard times. By raising and canning chickens on a pasture or your lawn, you can store a lot of calories without having to worry about refrigeration. In addition, you can be assured of the quality of what you are eating without having to pay as much for it as conventional meat at the store. We yield about nine pints of deboned chicken for every six birds. You can fit a lot in a pint jar. So using our results, if you canned 50 broilers you would have about 72 pints of canned chicken and a bunch of chicken broth.