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I'm taking my birds in to get processed the first week of December. I have 98 Freedom Rangers that will be 11 weeks old at time of processing. How much cooler will it take to bring chickens back on ice. It won't be terribly hard to keep them cold but I do want to keep everything in coolers, on ice. How much cooler volume am I looking at needing to buy to keep everything in?

I'm selling 75 from this batch and buyers are agreeing to picking up the day of processing so I don't have to have the fridge or freezer space.
 

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Whole chickens take up a lot of space. If they will be cut up they will take up much less, so that will make a difference. Most coolers are sized in Qt,s and a chicken is bigger than a Qt jar, so I would figure maybe 2 qts for each chicken and also allow for ice to take up some of the space. So what would that be, approx. 200 qts of space, plus ice??? That is my guesstimate anyway.
 

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Remember also the weight. 98 at even 2# each is just shy of 200#'s so you will want them split up enough so you can actually tote the tote's
 

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I would not use ice. Use frozen ice packs. Ice makes everything soaking wet and if you have labels on them they come off. Also the ice melts and sticks to the bird and if you're selling them, it doesn't look good. We just brought home 200 that I raised and we have to drive over 1hour to the chicken butcher shop and it was in the 80's. It works fine. We sell at a farmer's market so we care about presentation as well as taste.
 

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If you have access to 55 gallon drums, you can just fill the drums with ice and some water. The water will allow you to push the processed birds around in the ice. Try pushing a bird in just ice. Doesn't work. They will sit in the super cold water below the ice or partially in the ice. Plastic or metal will work. Just make sure it didn't previously contain chemicals or something like that. Obviously a food grade drum is best. You can just clean the drum with bleach water before and after everytime you do this. You can obviously do the same thing with coolers, but i'm just suggesting the drums because they are larger. You'll have to adjust the ratio of ice and water based on temp and time frame. In PA, in mid summer Id use probably an 80/20 ice to water so it's about half and half when I leave the processor. In the winter you may not need any ice. Just a container.
 
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