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Chicken Feet in My Soup – SICK!

chicken feet

nourishing brothI finally decided it was time to pull up my big girl panties and get those chicken feet into my stock.

First, get your copy of “The Broth Bible” here, Nourishing Broth, by Sally Fallon Morell and Kaayla Daniel!

So I bought the chicken feet at the farm a few weeks ago and somehow hadn’t gotten myself fired up to pull them out of the freezer yet. But how can I say I’m a Weston A. Price Real Foodie if I can’t wrestle a few dead feet into some water? I was totally grossed out, as you can tell from the picture above, but I did it! Well, I had help from none other than my ex-vegetarian and super awesome friend, Sonia, who is always game for any of my blogging shenanigans. She thought it was sick, too, but who wouldn’t, look at these pictures, especially the last one, ewwwww! The best part about it, though, was thinking about what my family would say if they knew. LOL! I love this, though: Kent saw them in the pan and said matter-of-factly, “Oh, you threw the chicken feet in, huh?” I had planned on telling the kids and then posting about their reactions but thankfully my brain kicked in before I did something so dumb. It’s highly likely that they would never have come near any of my soups again.

Liquid Gold I tell ya!

Bone broth 530 grey-0755Chicken feet make amazing chicken broth, though, nice and gelled, and after I added a few spices and herbs, it tasted like nourishing liquid gold. I took my friend some who had been in the hospital with an ulcer and bowel issues, and of course didn’t tell her what had been in her soup, but it felt great knowing all the minerals and soothing goodness that she was getting! (Read about all the amazing benefits of bone broth.)

Now put on your big girl or big boy pants and look at these pictures!

Here’s one of Sonia, who grabbed some safety glasses we had on the counter and tried to get one of the feet to come out of the bag. She thought it would be a good picture, but they were all frozen together:IMG_2255See how she’s trying to get them into the pot without touching them? (I was glad to be the one taking pictures…)

IMG_2256And here’s the ultimate sicko shot:

IMG_2254You can thank me if you want, because I had another picture of how everything looked after I strained all the broth out, and it was SO disgusting that I decided to not even post it. Yeah, I’m pretty thoughtful like that.


  1. Ha! This is great! I grew up Ina household that loved chicken feet, so it’s not too very gross for me. But the bitty fingernails still creep me out a little, though! 😉

  2. Hahaha! Now I’m finally brave enough to start drafting my post about how I make the best broth EVAH with chicken feet…and chicken heads. I have pics from last year. The best part? Everyone eats it because it is just the best, AND they don’t have to help pick the meat bwahahaha!!

  3. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who finds this gross. I think I may screw up my courage and track down some feet, though. Thanks for showing me that one can do it, be grossed out, and survive! :)

  4. I see your feet and raise you some after cooking pictures and extreme foot closeups – check this out:

    My MIL now refuses to eat my soup, but my family loves it and our kittens love it, too. (I have a friend who gives me a lot of feet, as she doens’t use them.) I have to say the last time I made this (just this week, also for a sick friend, although I told her what was in the broth and said it was good for what ails her) I cooked the chicken bones with meat separately from the feet and then combined them near the end of cooking. Previously, I’ve had problems with the toenails falling off and getting mixed in with the meat. I ended up with two of them in my soup from one batch I made. Luckily, I was the only one who found them, but it was a little gross.

    • Laurie, yes your pics are sick, too! And the deal with the toenails in your soup…ok, I can’t even let my brain GO there…can you say, “fine mesh strainer”??? I thought mine was fine enough, but I may go take another look!

      Amanda, you made me go check my subscriber stats just out of curiosity so I can see if it falls considerably! :)

      • Kelly, The toenails only came off when I simmered the broth overnight, and they just got mixed in with the meat because they were of a similar color. I see some folks mention just eating them, but these were pretty chewy – not a yummy. I made broth the other day and only cooked it for around 5 hours and the feet were still intact.

        • You can trim off the toenails using either a cleaver and cutting board(watch your fingers) or a good pair of shears.

          Now, I challenge you to to get uncleaned and unpeeled chicken feet! Then we can talk about big girl panties!

  5. I bought chicken feet, chicken heads and a beef heart at the WAPF conference in November. There were Amish from PA selling them there. I live in the Chicago burbs, so I could take them home and put them in freezer. I showed them to my kids right away. Actually, I hid the heart from them. Organ meats aren’t their favorite. I just knew they would find the feet and heads creepy and cool at the same time. The first time I made soup with the heads it was weird. My husband walked by the pot when I was checking it and a head bubbled up to the top right then. Now I get the feet from my farmer. I only use 4 feet/pot. When the soup is done, I can squish the bones with my fingers. The toenails are very soft. I feed the leftovers to my dog.

    My mother grew up on a farm. Her parents were German immigrants. When Oma roasted a chicken, it was only because she thought it had stopped laying. She roasted the head and feet in same pan as the rest of the bird. Her favorite part was the head. That 1 chicken had to feed a family of 8.

    (I might have mentioned this in another comment on your blog.) IMHO, chicken is an artificial staple in the American diet.The low fat craze, government subsidies and factory farming made it an everyday thing to eat. It used to be a more of a luxury.

  6. Laurie, your pics are wonderful! Nothing about it looks gross to me. I’m envious of the jelly strainer. I don’t save the meat from my soup. I cook the soup slowly for 24 hours. I’m sure the meat has no flavor left in it. The dog gets it as a supplement to his raw food diet.

    • I use my jelly stainer for everything from fruit to nuts – literally – I just love it. It’s great for straining yogurt, too.

      I agree with your statement about chicken being artificially abundant in our society. Talking to my mom and other older folks, there was simply no way everyone could eat as much chicken as they do if it were humanely raised. Actually, it’s similar with most meats. One of the WPF concepts I most support is nose to tail eating. Sometimes there’s a little bit of “Fear Factor” action going on, but the more you do it the easier it gets. It’s easier to tell the health of the animal when you eat the whole critter, too. Family farmed cooks up differently than factory farmed.

  7. That brings me back to elementary school when my grandparents babysat us for a week in the fall and I took the leftover duck feet from my grandfather’s latest hunt to school for show and tell. I’m sure my teacher was just delighted 😉

  8. Too funny! I was given a bag of chicken feet when I purchased a free range chicken at the farmer’s market. The guy told me they would make a great treat for my dog! When I got home I gave my dog one of the feet. It was hilarious to see her with that foot sticking out of her mouth! It looked like she had swallowed a chicken whole. But seriously, one of my coworkers said chicken feet are delicious braised in soy sauce.

  9. It is on the disturbing side but don’t you think that the next time you cook chicken feet it will not bother you as much?

  10. We raise our own chickens and they range and scratch wherever they want. Their feet are pretty dirty. When I want to cook them, I use a toothbrush to scrub them. Then I blanch them briefly and peel them. Sometimes I can get the toenails off after this. Last year for Discovery Day at my third grader’s school the theme was birds. I taught in the Foot Room. The kids were delighted and grossed out by the chicken, duck, goose, and pigeon feet I had for them to examine!

  11. Good timing! I saw the title of the post and immediately ran downstairs to get some feet out of the freezer. I started stock last night, but I totally forgot to put in some of the feet I got at Soulard Market about a month ago. I spread mine out on a cookie sheet to freeze separately before I put them all in a ziplock to store in the freezer. That way I can pull out a few at a time. They are revolting looking though since they are so hand like. ugh.

  12. Hey, Kel,
    I can’t believe it has taken you so long to put chicken feet into your stock. As a matter of fact, I thought all along you did! Lyn told me she used them in hers a few years back, but I never got around to it. When I read this to Mike, he said, “Did you know chickens walk in their own crap??”, to which I replied, “Well, crap is organic!” LOL! Anyway, should we wash the feet before we put them in? (By the way, my daughter has been reading this comment over my shoulder and she just asked me, “Mom, are we going to put chicken feet into our stock??!” I said, “They are just part of the chicken, honey.” She proceeded to walk over to the boys and tell them we are going to be eating stock with chicken feet, and “did you know they walk around in their own poop?” My son just informed me he will not eat the stock if feet are in there. I guess it is a lesson learned to go read postings like this in the closet next time……:)
    Sue E.

    • Hi Sue!
      I didn’t wash mine because they looked perfectly clean and I assume my farmer washed them, but if they looked dirty I suppose I would’ve had to. ICK!
      But either way, they boil in there so long, I can’t imagine that we’d have to worry about anything that might be on there.
      Yeah, it took me a while, but truth be told, I always got some pretty gelatinous stock anyway, so wasn’t that motivated. What will be nice about this, though, is to just toss them into the “second run” of my stock, because normally that batch isn’t as good as the first run, of course.

  13. LOL!! My friend gives me chicken feet when she butchers her chickens (we are both Weston Price fans) but she waited for me to use them first. I still have a gag response to seeing them floating in the pot (my children think it is both cool and gross too). I add 2 to 3 feet per chicken used to make stock and I have never had them lose a claw nail? I usually simmer for 2 days and the meat tastes okay. My friend takes her meat off the bone after 12 hours so that it does not lose flavor and then continue to simmer the bones for 24-48 hours.

    I soak my feet in warm salt water and then scrub the dirt off with a brush before I add them to my pot. Makes a very delicious gelatin rich broth once I stop gagging (during straining).

  14. It’s been super hot here, so I haven’t made any chicken stock in quite a while, and I miss it! But I know I don’t want to eat hot soup in this weather, much less have my stove turned on for 4+ hrs. Anyone have any tips for hot weather stock-making and how to incorporate the stock into summer recipes (please no cold soup – can’t stand it!)?

    • Hi Sarah – one idea for you: use a pressure cooker. we live in the Sonoran Desert (stupid hot out here – 115F last the weekend!) and I despise heating up my tiny kitchen for any length of time. I bake bread in the early morning and try not to heat the place up after that. But my electric pressure cooker makes the most AWESOME stock ever – it uses very little electricity (because of the pressure involved) and produces almost zero heat to make my kitchen hot. :) Just an idea…

  15. My friend uses her crock pot to simmer her broths. I find that the crock pot does not add heat to my home like cooking in the oven or on the stove. I personally have not done this but she has very good broth with this method

  16. I was going say use the crockpot too. Something that adds great flavor is to grill the stock meats on the bbq grill before adding to the crockpot. I usually put it on before I go to bed and let it simmer all night. For a delicious summer soup, use the chilled chicken stock to make cucumber soup. I use stock, yogurt and cucumbers. Excellent served in a chilled mug!

  17. Kelly, you crack me up! Hey, yours are nice and cleaned and peeled already! I have two daughters who are deep into animals: one in high school who is looking toward either equine physical therapy or training for a vocation, the other who just loves dissection. I can’t make stock without the little one coming in and trying to put the skeletons back together. She LOVES playing with the feet before or after cooking!

    When I made heart the other day, my “dissector” came in and tried to figure out (by running water through) which direction the blood flowed. Kinda creeped me out just a little, but hey, that’s homeschooling!

  18. I have eaten chicken all my life. Not alone made into broth, but fried. My parents as well as my grandparents raised chickens and they never wasted anything they didn’t have to. My grandmother would kill the chicken then clean the head, but when she scaled the chicken, she also included the feet, so we picked the chicken and cleaned the feet at the same time while they were hot. We always enjoyed when Grandma killed chickens, as we got to eat the feet, heads, hearts, livers and best of all the gizzards. My grandchilren were visiting with my parents and they were cooking some chicken feet and they helped eat them. From then on, when my granddaughter came to visit them or me, she wanted to know if we could have chicken feet. She liked putting the toes in her mouth and eating the meat, then spitting out a whole bunch of the bones at one time. I have not alone eaten them boiled, but, fried. When we had them in soup, we never took them out, as they boil up into small pieces and we all liked to chew on the bones to get the morrow out of them.

    On making bone broth, I like to get chicken breasts that still have the bone-in, as I de-bone them myself and keep the bones until I have the amount I want to boil, then add chunked onion, celery, and carrots in with the bones, then pick the bones out when done. I take the broth with the veggies in it and put it all in the blender and puree them and put them back in the pot for my homemade chicken and noodles or whatever I am going to make with the broth. I can’t even find them here in Northern California or Southern Oregon anymore, as I live in town and don’t raise chickens.

  19. I also just started using chicken feet in my broth. When I first got them I divided them up into small freezer bags and then put them in the freezer. They do kind of look like little hands, don’t they? Now chicken heads? That never occurred to me. I’m not sure I can handle that! Not to change the subject but I also could NOT handle a pig head like Ann Marie did.

  20. I’m actually really intrigued to try this and don’t find it gross at all. I’ve seen them at local meat markets and I wanted to buy some. Maybe I’ll ask my farmer if I can have chicken feet next time I order from him. :) But not much grosses me out!!

  21. I got some chicken feet a while back and I love putting them in my broth. There really is a huge difference between broth made with and without feet.

    I just put in 2-3 feet per each batch of broth. I froze the feet first spread out on a sheet pan, then bagged them into 2-3 foot portions so I didn’t have to wrestle with too many frozen together.

    • Very wise. How I wish I had done that. But that would’ve meant i would have had to look at them and touch them more than once. ;o)

  22. Your expression in the first pic is priceless! :-) I’ve been wanting to get my hands on some chicken feet. For now, I’m getting all of my grass fed/pastured meats at one little stand at the little farmer’s market, but I’m hoping to branch out and buy in bulk direct from a farmer soon. In fact, there are several exclusively poultry farms around here. I’m planning to ask about leaf lard this weekend, too.

  23. Congratulations, Kelly, I’m proud of you. I still don’t see what the big deal is, though. Chicken feet aren’t “gross” or “disgusting” to me, they’re useful to both the chickens while they’re alive and to us once they’re dead, they’re both utilitarian and nourishing. Since I have my own chickens now, I feel nothing but a sense of reverence and gratitude for the lives of the chickens that nourish me. I’m working hard to protect our chickens and their eggs from predators and disease, and in return we get the eggs and maybe someday we’ll stew the chickens. Nothing about them is gross to me. I even pick up their poop daily to keep the litter in the coop clean as long as possible (works for me) and put it in one of several compost piles. It’s all part of the cycles of nature. Enjoy your awesome stock!

  24. HA! I laughed so loud when I saw the title of this post – “SICK!” is exactly what my husband said when I bought a bag of chicken feet at the farmer’s market a few months ago. :-) That’s right, a few months ago. They are in my freezer and I have yet to put on my big-girl panties and use them. I am officially inspired – you ladies and your chicken-foot soups are awesome. After this, maybe I will get up the courage to cook the beef heart that’s been in my freezer for 3 months…

  25. Oh, ladies, relax.

    Not only have I cooked chicken feet, I CANNED them. I have mason jars in my cupboard with the chicken feet broth AND the chicken feet in it.

    It was really a moment of exhaustion. I figured I could strain out the chicken feet when I opened the broth. I canned it like chicken meat, which is much longer than broth. I’ll feed some to the dogs first… if they die from food poisoning, well, I’ll know not to do that NEXT time!

  26. Good for you for trying something new. But you really missed the grossest part – cleaning the feet. They look almost antiseptic in your picture!

  27. I’ve been away from the computer a few hours and now that I’m back to catch up on comments, you guys have grossed me out, cracked me up, and inspired me, especially your comments Jeanmarie, so cool. :) I love all you fellow weirdo Real Foodie friends!

  28. We raise hens and also meat birds each year. I think I have a gallon ziploc full of big, gray turkey feet in the freezer. From a year or two ago. I haven’t gotten those big-girl panties on. They DO walk around in their own poop, and especially the Meat Mutants (cornish cross broilers) can just be very yucky. I can’t yet bring myself to even save those…

    I do sometimes supplement stock with some organic beef gelatin (powdered stuff)… Have you used this, and do you suppose it has the same benefits?

    • I haven’t used that before. I think others have, but I always try to use the real deal as much as possible.

    • EllaJac, if you blanch and skin the feet right after butchering, you remove everything that was in contact with the ground, poop, etc. I don’t think I would want to eat feet that hadn’t been skinned. (Kelly’s feet do look like they were skinned.) Even though they boil for an extended period and are probably safe, unclean feet are just not appetizing.

  29. I made the mistake of letting my 13 year old son hear about this idea of using chicken feet to make beautiful broth. We raise our own pastured poultry and take them to have them butchered. I’ve been saving the feet and terrified to do anything with them. (they are completely disgusting looking, just feet in a bag with toenails too!) I too, let them stay in the freezer for quite awhile.

    Finally, I decided to cook up some broth using a mean rooster we had in the freezer and ‘the feet’. I had a bag with 10 feet. I tried not to look and just dumped them in. I didn’t advertise that I was using the feet and I definitely tried to hide the fact. But my son has listened and read a few things from Sally Fallon and ‘knows’ too much for his own good.

    Kelly, I know just what you mean about how they look when it’s all over. SICK!!! They are all droopy and empty and the toenails! Gross.

    So, the other day I made some delicious soup (not the chicken feet broth) and my son just wouldn’t eat it. He finally told me in private that he think he found some toenails. “What? No way, I strained it.” I told him to save them to show me. When I went to examine them they were only chopped garlic cloves, but could resemble toenails.

    I think you were wise to keep this to yourself.

  30. Toenails on the chicken feet? Do the nails really add value?
    Sounds like pedicure would fix that.
    Where does one procure chicken’s feet?
    Perhaps Asian market.

  31. As a young girl I was in 4-H and took sewing lessons from a local farmers wife. During a lesson on a hot afternoon I went to the kitchen for a glass of water. Much to my surprise (and horror) there were pairs of chicken feet lined up along the sink edge. I practically went screaming out of there! So when I went to make WAP chicken stock for the first time that memory came flooding back to me! I have since overcome but everytime I see the package of chicken feet in the freezer it takes me back!

  32. Ok – so I am a little grossed out, but next time I buy chickens, I’ll ask if there are feet available and try it (my husband will have to be away on business while I make the stock, or he’ll never touch the stuff – won’t the joke be on him!)

    But I was wondering about your “second run” of stock that you plan to add the feet to. Do you strain out the veg, and then re-boil the bones? Just wondering, ’cause it sounds like a great frugal tip.

    • Sara,
      I just strain out the stock, throw in more bones (or feet), add another splash of raw AC vinegar, maybe a few more veggies if I have them, and fill it up with water for another run. I got GREAT gelatinous stock from the feet and now have my second run with the feet going.

  33. I just purchased my first 2 pastured chickens last week and made broth for the first time. They asked if I wanted the feet and the heads. I turned down the heads. Just didn’t think I could handle the eyes looking at me out of the pot! I did use the feet but I buried them under the other stuff. However, I did not get broth that was very gelatin like. Maybe next time.

  34. Chicken feet– that is nothing next to cow tongue. How anyone can “skin” a cow tongue is beyond me. However if one wants something kinky for your phallic pleasures, then I highly recommend cow tongue. smile!!

    Actually, I have never had trouble with chicken feet. They really do add a lot of gelatin to the broth and I know I need it for my joints. The first time I ever became a chicken feet enthusiast was after we butchered our own chicken and I could see how truly clean our chicken feet were.

    For some fun reading, try Beatrix Potter’s books. I think the Sally Henny Penny one has a great description of chicken feet at gloves. It makes consuming them easier.
    AND- yes this was written after some wine at the Picnic Pops- MOTOWN yippee!!!
    PS: Wine is the only thing that helps with cow tongue! hahah Love ya

    • Hi Anne,
      Yes…cow tongue…I won’t be going there. LOL! But I don’t get how anything could gross YOU out, didn’t you butcher your own chickens once?????
      Hey, you still haven’t gotten me possible dates for dinner!!! Might have to be fall now since I’m at crunch time with the class prep…
      Love, Kel p.s. Motown & wine sounds like a blast. :)

  35. I actually cut off the first joint of each toe on the claw. This was advised by a recipe I consulted. I think it may help the gelatin get out. I use poultry shears & it is easy. It was really gross the first time I used chicken feet, but not anymore. :)

  36. I make four batches of broth every week with lots of chicken feet. We are on GAPS and broth is an essential part of the diet.

    At first, it was digusting and I couldn’t touch the chicken feet. Now, it’s not a big deal.

    I use two crockpots and let the broth cook overnight with lots of veggie scraps.

  37. I grew up eating chicken feet in soup and chicken and duck feet in dim sum, so I never thought twice about it. However, when I raised my own birds, I could NOT get those things clean and always ended up giving them to my upstairs neighbors’ dog. It felt like a crime, but I wasn’t putting those dirty nasty things in my food.

  38. I’m with Jessie…If you cut off that first joint, there’s no risk of the nail getting into your broth. I started using chicken feet a couple of months ago and couldn’t imagine making broth without it now. It makes the world of difference both in flavor and the consistency of the gel.

  39. Yep, heads are definitely grosser. I ordered some feet last time I ordered from my local chicken/pork producer and she gave me the heads, too. I stuck them in the freezer and was hoping to forget about them. But… I finally made stock and made sure to bury the feet and head at the bottom. If DH and DS knew about this, they would never eat the stock!!

  40. This post cracks me up! I use chicken feet in my stock. I have to hide that from my husand though because they gross him out. If they pop up to the top of my stock pot, I push them down so that he can’t see them!

  41. Hahahaha, my family is grossed out too. One thing I’ve been doing is throwing them into boiling water for few minutes and then cutting off the first joint of each toe, to expose more of the marrow inside. And you REALLY need your big girl panties for the next step. Take your kitchen scissors and cut up the “palm” area of the hand to expose more of the bone as well, as you kind of fold over the palm portion. What’s left is just a mangled up foot but the benefits I think are well worth it.

  42. I had read this post and several others on the value of chicken feet. Always a foodie, but new to some real food concepts and the value -I was open to the idea. Today was my lucky day, my friends asked me to help butcher some chickens! They wanted nothing to do with the feet, so I came home with a big bag of chicken feet. I also scored some chicken fat and liver. Looking forward to making a pot of stock. This is going to be good.

  43. I am a man of 76 years Old. I have 7 Sons and 5 daughters. Most of them are grand fathers and mothers. Since my child hood, My late mother used to feed us and our father Chicken feet, cooked after cliping nails and scraching the skin slightly. The gumy taste was very enjoying and then I used to chow the bones and sucking oily jouce. A friend of mine, since we were children, buys 20 live chiken at a time. After cutting the chikens throats in a way that all bloud is extracted out of the body, he will cut the feet and give them to me with heads. Then the chicken butcher will cut the nails and beaks, cleanly stuffed and in plastick bags. my wife will cook them with some vegetables and serve with other food. For me and some of my Children and Grand children it is our main dish. My problem is that my old lady has grown too old to cool me down after such a meal!

      • Thanks my lady! You are right. I am still working, learning foreign languages ( to get many friends in Paradise,when I leave this World, with good credets of love to every body). You may like to see me if you write in You Tube: The Grand Mosque of Kuwait, Khalil Habash.

  44. It doesn’t matter how dirty the chicken feet are — you soak/blanch them in boiling water and peel off the outer skin and claws – that used to be my favorite part of preparing them when I was a child — I used to love seeing how beautiful and clean and perfect the skin and claws were underneath the outer layer once it was peeled off. Then you put them in your stock and they turn into a lovely sticky gelatinous meal — very very tasty and not at all gross in my opinion.

  45. I saw your post to late!! This morning I put about two pounds of washed chicken feet in a large pot covered with cold water with a large onion, four carrots, two celery, garlic, bay leaves, salt and peppercorns. I didn’t know I had to remove the nails. What should I do? They have been cooking for two hours now. Will it still be good? Do the nails ruin the soup or will it give the broth more nutrition? Also, how long should I let this simmer?

    • Julie,

      You can let it simmer for a couple more hours (more doesn’t hurt anything), but I have no idea if you should take the nails off now or not! I’m pretty sure it’s fine, but I’ll put this up on facebook, so watch there for comments! (


  46. It’s about time, sister! ; ). As you know, the feet add so much fabulous stuff to broth.

  47. Thank you so much Kelly! I feel so much better. I don’t think I would have been able to remove the nails. I will strain the broth well when its done.
    Enjoy your day!

  48. Perfect timing! The roosters have been after the kids and are going to be dinner.

  49. I was given turkey feet last year by a farmer who suggested I make stock with them. I have a pretty strong constitution, so I thought “what the hell?”

    I have MS, and my fingers don’t work well, so my husband, who’s constitution has gotten much better since we started our dogs on raw, was charged with blanching and peeling them.

    I let them simmer for almost two days, didn’t use any veggies or anything, just the feet for this batch. Sometimes I do stock, but sometimes I do just the broth and add all the flavor when I’m making the recipe.

    I have never seen such beautiful stuff. It made that sucking noise when it came out of the jar, because of the gel.

    I am hooked on feet broth now. If you’re on the fence, just do it.

  50. As an aside, I get 11 pound bags of chicken feet that are already cleaned. Purdue sells them. I get them through a raw feeding buyers co-op, and i don’t know where they get them, but they are great for dogs AND people.

    • Jen Z –

      we just started feeding our dogs raw – would you mind sharing the info about the raw feeding co-op? Thanks!

      Sorry to hijack, Kelly! :)

      • Sorry, I just saw this.

        I am in CT. You can find a raw feeding group near you on Yahoo Groups. That’s where I get a lot of my stuff.

        I’m sure you’ve done a ton of research, but there a lot of different styles of feeding. I used to grind all my dog food, veggies, etc., but gave that up after about a month. Now I just throw them animals or animal parts out on the lawn and they have at it. They eat grass if they want vegetables. Every couple of years I have a full blood panel done. They’re not lacking anything. You just have to remember organ meats every week or so, unless you can get your hands on ground green tripe. Feed that frozen or it stinks to high heaven. I find beef kidneys in the grocery store, and those tubs of giblets are good, too. If you have a nice meat market near you, they can get you 40# boxes of stuff.

        If you know anybody that hunts or butchers game, get ALL of their scraps. Rib cages are the best; they keep their teeth so nice and clean.

        Invest in a saws-all for the kitchen if you’re going to pilfer skeletons. Your husband will eventually get annoyed with finding meat dust on his (my husband bought me one for Christmas a few years ago). I feed big food because I have big dogs.

        Invest in a freezer, because you won’t want to pass up really good deals because you don’t have anywhere to keep them.

        Stop & Shop had fryers 79 cents a pound the other week, I bought 5 cases of them.

        You can contact me through if you have any more questions.

  51. Hello All,

    I use chicken feet for my broth that I get from Polyface Farms. I cut off the tip of each toe so the nails don’t go into my stock pot. That’s the proper way to handle chicken feet. Just like its feathers, the nails have to be discarded.

    Hope this helps.

  52. Hi Kelly,

    It’s mainly for sanitary reasons, and I don’t think the nails convey any benefits in the way of nutrients. It’s all part of good food preparation and handling that is both pleasing to the eyes and the palate.

    In Asian cuisine, chicken feet is actually a prized commodity. They’re barbecued or steamed and rendered with spices. And yes, they’re NEVER served with the nails on them!


  53. I bought some chicken parts from a farmer at the market – he told me that the inspector wouldn’t let him sell the feet – couldn’t believe it!

  54. I’ve graduated to using heads now in addition to the feet…but it was strange at first.

  55. At least yours look like they were already cleaned. I got some that were not cleaned and I had a heck of a time trying to get that yellow skin off. It’s pretty gross. My hubby walked into the kitchen when I was doing it and I think it was almost the last straw in my weird cooking escapades for him. Thankfully, he didn’t ask for a divorce. :)

  56. every one talks about using a strainer. When I was growing up my mother had a boiling bag. It was just a cotton bag that everything went into and then boiled in the pot. That was lifted and hung to drain for the broth. I even remember her using a (i believe) nylon curtain that had been torn to make new bags with because it was more durable. Any comments?

    • Wouldn’t you have to throw away the boiling bag? Or do they wash up well?

      We pull the vegetables out of our stock to feed our dog (he’s on a raw diet, but LOVES stock veggies), so for us, a bag wouldn’t make sense, but now I’m curious.

      • we all ways washed them with the dishes. Hot water and the occasional bleaching if you don’t mind that. It simply made it easier to make sure bones and such didn’t end up in the soup. My mom did this for pickling spices too when she just wanted the flavor and not all the little goodies. I’ve made mini versions of this to make single serve coffee packs too. They discolor but as long as they are clean, the color doesn’t matter.

  57. I make just plain chicken feet stock. Then I freeze it in small amounts to add to soups later.

  58. I LOVE using the chicken feet in broth. The only thing I do when making it is to make sure the kids know ahead of time so they can steer their friends away or let them know we aren’t doing any weird voodoo stuff with the feet. 😀 My next project is to get ahold of the pigs feet on our next hog order and start using them in dishes. I also make a dog food in the food processor with the leftover chicken bones and feet once I’m done with stock and I’m sure all those goodies are great for our dog, too. He is almost 14 and has no stiffness or joint issues — which is an interesting study in the value of a quality diet.

  59. hahaha….lots of chicken feet in Mexico. I’d have to have a friend to put them in the pot too. :-)

  60. I always use feet, necks, and back when I can get them. It’s much cheaper than using a whole chicken all the time and it’s the best for a thick gelatin. But, I agree, it does look really gross, and it’s better not to let the kids see it 😉

  61. I did it once but peeling the feet was gross and the stock wasn’t as thick As I thought. Plus I don’t have a regular source. Where do you buy them?

  62. When we were kids in Mexico, my brother would get a chicken foot, pull a tendon or something on it to move the toes, come up behind me and give me a little scratch! LOL. Recently, I put feet and heads in my stock and called the kids over to see. First I cackled like an evil witch and then asked them to peer into my witches pot. I got the “ewwws! And gross!” but that was about it and they still loved all the soups I made.

  63. I add four chicken feet and four chicken heads to my stock, I roast them first with my carcasses and I like to throw in a couple of beef knuckle bones too. The feet are not so bad looking really, just like any other part of the body, and they really add lots of gel and flavor to the stock.

    My favorite stock is with lambs feet. Yummy, and their feet are so cute, and when the stock is all done, the feet come apart and the bones are so amazingly intricate and delicate with swirling details, it’s like art work really.

    Just make a batch and you will never be grossed out again after eating such amazing goodness.

  64. Oh, this makes me laugh. For years I looked at the chicken feet in Sally Fallon’s recipe and said no freakin’ way! After all it does say “optional”. But I always felt a tinge of guilt for being such a sissy and not making the stock as healthy as I could.

    Last year I saw Amanda Freitag, on the food network, chop off the feet and hands and throw them in the pot. OK, if she can do it, I can do it. I ordered the feet from one of my farms and oh my god, it was worse than I thought. They looked like hands with the fingernails still attached!

    I put them in the bottom of the pot, under the chicken, so I wouldn’t have to look at them every time I opened it. And, oh boy it was the best stock I had ever made. I will always use them now, it makes such a huge difference. The head is never gonna make it to my pot though, those dead eyes would just send me right over the edge!

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