I’m not a chicken plucker

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A fox delivered an early Christmas present this year. On Christmas Eve we discovered a chicken – intact apart from its head and one leg – in our front garden.

Now Brixton is not exactly what you’d call a rural idyll, but clearly some brave hen-keepers thought they could thwart the gangs of urban foxes that regularly patrol the streets. On this occasion a fox won.

I have no idea what sort of hen it was, but the plumage was irresistibly beautiful. There are many videos on YouTube showing how to pluck a chicken, but they seem to involve lots of boiling water, because the aim is to get at the meat rather than save the feathers.

So I just sat on the doorstep and pulled. Some of the feathers came out very easily; others I had to twist and tug – they came away with a bit of the skin still attached to the quills, which I had to clean off afterwards. The wing feathers were the hardest to remove.

Altogether, I ended up with about half a carrier bag of feathers – a few are pictured below.

If I’d been really brave I might have cooked the chicken as well, but that was a step too far, as I didn’t know anything about where the bird came from. Also, there was a ready-plucked, beautifully stuffed goose in the house waiting to be cooked!

I don’t know what I’m going to use the feathers for yet – brooch, bracelet, belt? For now, I’ve added them to my stash.

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6 responses »

  1. Blimey! That’s a first!

    I was offered a pheasant on Christmas Eve (two in fact) but like you was not sure quite what to do with them so declined! Plus I had one neatly stuffed and ready for the oven indoors!

    But that was rural Northamptonshire – not urban Brixton!

    • Hilary – Brixton never ceases to surprise, despite the fact I’ve lived here for nearly 25 years!

      Shame mine wasn’t a pheasant. Then I could really have gone to town on “I’m not a pheasant plucker, I’m a pheasant plucker’s mate”. :-)

      Hope you enjoyed your Christmas bird anyway!

  2. Kim, yours WAS a pheasant!!! The easiest way to deal with them is split the skin down the centre on the underneath, peel apart and then remove the breast and legs without the skin. Painless unless you’re really squeamish and then you have two breasts and legs to braise with shallots/onions, cubed bacon, garlic and thyme, gorgeous!

    • Oh dear! As is pretty obvious by now, I’m no ornithological expert – but then we don’t see many chickens in Brixton, let alone pheasants! Lack of a head didn’t make identification any easier. And I thought pheasants had long tail feathers, but I suppose they could have been pulled out/damaged in transit. (Do any of these excuses sound plausible?!)

      Lord knows where the pheasant came from. I can just about conceive that some people in Brixton may rear hens, but pheasants?!

      Anyway, all together now:
      “I’m not a pheasant plucker, I’m a pheasant plucker’s wife
      And when we pluck together it’s a pheasant plucking life!”

      PS Thanks for the pheasant recipe, Nicola!

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