For the last month we’ve had regular rooster crowing on the hour every hour, on the hour, beginning at 11pm. Our community is located in small valley atop a little mountain range and every animal noise is amplified and echoes, so not only were we ultra frustrated with our noisy roosters, but so were our neighbors. We only have about 15 adult hens right now and 5 roosters, so a couple needed to go! They weren’t harming the hens, but they were just starting to get competitive with each other and the hens were not happy.
We finally had the time to process the roosters, and we were pretty sure we chose the two noisiest ones. If you’re new to homesteading, the “processing” part is always difficult to learn about, but it is part of the lifestyle. We are much happier knowing that our animals lived happy, healthy lives out in open pasture.
These roosters were way too lean to use for meat, so I made a big pot of stock with both of them. Let me tell you…this was the BEST stock ever! All I did was boil the two birds with one sliced onion in a big pot of water.
The stock was golden and sparkled like diamonds in the sun. When it was refrigerated it gelled like nothing you’ve ever seen. I could hold the jar upside-down and it wouldn’t budge. It had a thick layer of rich yellow fat on the top, too. (If you’re new to real food and the benefits of thick gel and golden fat, then hang around Real Food Family a little longer, or browse my nutrition pages to begin your nourishing foods journey.)
Julia Child use to complain that the modern markets no longer carry stock birds- old hens that are no good for meat but make the best stock.
I don’t think the “stock” you find available in little cans or cardboard boxes at the market even deserves to be called stock!
So how do you get this kind of amazing stock? Well, usually people are trying to get rid of roosters on Craig’s List. (That was partially a joke.)
Just do your best to find pasture-raised chickens available near you and you might be able to find stock birds. Good chicken stock can also be made with the bones of any organic chicken. I find it the most economical to buy organic drumsticks and make a big pot of stock with 10-12 drumsticks. The key to the rich gelatin-filled stock is using a lot of bones and simmering over low heat for a long time. Make sure to add a little vinegar to the stock to pull all the minerals out of the bones and add an onion and salt for the best flavor. Here’s a stock and soup recipe for ya!