Posted 1/14/2022 14:52 (#9439877 - in reply to #9436406) Subject: RE: Caponizing a chicken
Wow, does this bring back memories. My dad owned a hatchery for about 15 years from the mid ‘50s to late ‘60s. For several years during grade school and jr. high my 4-H project was to buy 100 Cornish-Rock cross chicks, straight run (unsexed) from my dad. I would feed them for about 4 - 5 weeks. At about that age you could begin to tell the pullets from the cockrills. I would then caponize the cockrills. We had a kit that consisted of a clamp device to hold the bird on its side, an electric knife which was a handle with a ni-chrome wire loop on the end, maybe 1/4” tall by 3/16” wide and a button that heated the loop when you pressed it. There was a little set of rib-spreaders and then kind of a weird set of tweezers or forceps that was 8 - 9” long. They were triangle shaped on the end with the point of the triangle pointed towards the handle. It flared out from there and was flat across the end. The bottom half of the tweezers the triangle was about 3/4” on each side and solid around the perimeter with the center of the triangle open. The top half of the tweezers was the same shape except the end which was a nichrome wire. You put the cockrill in the clamp and used the electric knife to make a two inch incision between the first and second ribs or last and next to last depending on how you visualize it. Using the rib spreaders, spread the ribs far enough to see the testicle which is yellowish in color. Then using the tweezers place the triangle end over the nut and squeeze together the halves which completed the electric circuit and heated the ni-chrome wire at the end. This surgically detached the testicle. Then you removed the rib spreaders and turned the cockrill over and did the same procedure on the other side. The trick is getting all of the testicle and not getting the aorta which is located between the nuts. It was obvious if you got ahold of too much because it would fill with blood rapidly. I was always prepared to butcher one if that happened. It would be a pretty small fryer but that was better than wasting a bird. Most of the time I didn’t lose a bird except I lost two the first year and Dad made sure I butchered them myself. It taught me to be careful. The pullets would be fryer size at 7-8 weeks of age. There was a lady in Belle Plaine, Kansas who processed fryers on a custom basis. She did the pullets for me and then she processed the capons when they were ready. I tried to get them up to 14 - 18 lbs. live weight and they would reach that weight at about 16 weeks if I remember right. I would advertise them before Thanksgiving and always sold out. I quit doing that when the lady in Belle Plaine quit custom processing because that was even less fun than canonizing. I don’t personally know of anyone who has ever done it besides me. My dad trained me. The meat is tender and moist, better than any turkey that I’ve ever had. I don’t know how this procedure would be be viewed in today’s world but if you can find a kit it would not be terribly hard to do. I did it as a fourth grader. Be glad to answer questions if I can.
Edited to add the word not in second to last sentence.