Bartering with Mavis – 30 Pounds of FREE Chicken

A few weeks ago, my friend Ramona made some last minute plans to travel out of state to visit her relatives.  The only problem was, she had placed a large order of chicken.

The chicken was due to arrive when she was going to be out of town. So when Ramona offered to give me 20 pounds of her chicken in exchange for picking it up, trimming the fat, packaging the meat, and then storing it in my freezer until she go back into town, I was like… Seriously?

“Of course, I’ll help you out, because we all know Mavis would never say no to 20 pounds of FREE chicken.” 

But then a funny thing happened.  When I went to pick up the chicken, I wasn’t just picking up 1 large box of chicken, but apparently 2 boxes of chicken.  For a total of 80 POUNDS of CHICKEN.

Hole.Lee.Crap.  I had not planned on picking up, processing, and storing 80 pounds of chicken.  40 pounds yes, but 80?  What that right? So I quickly called Ramona to make sure Mr. Chicken Man had the order right.  I even made him triple check as he looked at me with a totally blank “C’mon lady, people are waiting in line, just take the freakin’ chicken” bewildered look on his face.


So to make a long story short.  I never want to process chicken again.  Maybe I should re-think this whole Pilgrim thing after all.


P.S.  Ramona totally upped the ante {and NO I didn’t ask her to} and gave me 30 pounds of chicken.  Which I think was VERY generous. Hmmm.  I think I came away with a good deal this time. What do YOU think?

This chicken came from Zaycon Foods.  If you would like find out when they will be in your area next, head on over HERE to check them out.

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  1. Anne says

    I hope that my daughter doesn’t see this post. She came over and helped my process a 40-lb. order and I only gave her 10 lbs. of the chicken. You did great!

  2. Heidi says

    Mavis, Mavis, Mavis you have definitely scored again! You are a very nice friend even if she did give you 30lbs of chicken. How long did it take you to process 80lbs of chicken & is it stored in just freezer bags or something else as well?

  3. Ashley says

    A) I think that 20lbs of chicken is pretty good pay….
    B) Ewwww! I can handle trimming my 1-2lbs worth for a meal, I think 80lbs would either make me sick, or make me waaaaaay too slimey

    Betcha that 20lbs lasts you a long time, you won’t want to touch it now, lol!

  4. Sarah says

    I hated the processing of the chicken. I would rather pay the butcher an extra $0.80 a pound and get it when I want it….not wait for a truck in some city somewhere in the middle of the week.

  5. Cassie @ The Thrifty Couple says

    We too got 80 lbs. of chicken and we cook half and freeze and then just freeze the second half. The cooked ones help with the last minute dinner emergencies.

  6. Sam says

    wow, free chicken, but 80# of processing, wowza! But since I am a momma -math-head……let’s us do the math together, Mavis…..the barter was 20# for a #40 order, right? That’s 50percent, awesome….lol….you see where I am going next haha. 50 percent of #80…., um, so not #30, lol. On another note, I got some passed on “gleaning” of a huge red papaya, 6 tomatoes, 4 yellow peppers, 2 lemons and a can of water chestnuts today. I am making some salsa tonight!

  7. Carol Ann says

    I would totally do that. But then again we raise our own meat chickens and turkeys. I think the first time you do that kind of volume of meat repackaging you hit processing overload and think,”I’ll never do THAT again.” But when it’s all finished and a few days have passed and you see how full your freezer is a sense of accomplishment sets in that makes you willing to do it again. Food independance ROCKS!

  8. Tera says

    We got some last year and split it with my mom, mother-in-law, sister and grandma. My husband and I processed 4 boxes. It was SO much work!!! You got an awesome deal though!!!

  9. Jen J says

    For 30 lbs of free chicken? I would totally do it! I was so sad that I missed the chicken in my area. They sold out before I could place my order. I won’t wait again.

  10. Heather says

    Ohmygawd! Been there, done that, got a tshirt with chicken juices to prove it!

    I placed a my first chicken order about a year ago when I called my Mr. Single Guy who has a freezer just dying to get used. I made a deal that i would buy the chicken, 80lbs, pick it up myself, but use his house and little freezer-shrinkwrapper thingy and shove it all in the freezer and he can help himself to it as often as he wanted (he is single, doesn’t cook, eats out often, so I knew I was ahead). Needless to say, after the first 20 lbs I was so ticked off at the little machine not working properly, grossed out by the process of the slimy breasts and pissed off at myself for buying 80lbs…that I just wanted to cry! Fast forward to now, we have been dining on it all year long and I kick myself for being so dang upset! If I had to do it all over again to get free chicken myself I would! (Seems like she owes you BIG TIME!)

  11. Tara says

    Your not crazy! I just picked up 22 FREE roosters off Craigslist last weekend and are slowly working our way through butchering, plucking, freezing and canning! Will be trying another store for “chicken scraps” this week as well.

  12. Mary Ann says

    Wow, that’s a great score!

    I just picked up 80 pounds on the 18th and processed 60 pounds of it to freeze (10 went to my mom and 10 to an employee). I used a Foodsaver and it almost crapped out on me it had to work so hard!

  13. Destini says

    Totally an awesome deal. I got 40 lbs this week. The processing did not bug me but me and my 8 year old daughter set up an assembly line. I trimmed and rinsed and she used those new ziploc portion bags and wrapped each one then put them in gallon bags. Took about 1 hour. But i had to pay for my 40 lbs.:)

  14. Sophie says

    I think that is a score! If you have the time, then it is worth it not to have to put out the money when you need it. This should help your grocery budget last longer! I only got one box and thankfully my hubby always trims and preps it for me. I just had to divide it into my Foodsaver bags and pop it in the freezer!

  15. MiZchele says


    I feel your pain! I too processed 80 lbs of chicken last year by myself. I was so traumatized by it that I have been purchasing the Foster Farms chicken from Costco every since we ran out. Yuck! not my kind of job.

  16. Leanna says

    You got an awesome deal!!! I just processed my own 120 pounds so I am totally feeling your pain. My hands hurt but I have chicken for nearly a year. Wahoo.

  17. says

    I placed my order super late last Tuesday – was going to skip this time until I realized I had opened the LAST gallon bag of chicken tenders – yikes! Usually I have split a 40# box with a coworker but didn’t this year. Also, all of the nearby towns were sold out. So I drove from Edmonds to Federal Way to pick mine up. On 3 hours of sleep because of COURSE I got called in to work the night before. But I took the opportunity to get my hair cut at the Gene Juarez beauty school and then spent about an hour once home processing my chicken. I cut about 10# into chicken tenders and flash-freeze them so that I can pull them individually. The rest this time I just trimmed and cut into 1/2 breasts, putting 2 to a ziploc and then a bunch of ziplocs into a gallon ziploc. Ended up with 3 FULL ziplocs of 1/2 breast baggies and 2 FULL ziplocs of tenders. I have just my fridge freezer and a little chest freezer – both pretty darned full. I have one bag of 1/2 breasts in the fridge that is coming to work with me tomorrow—-gonna try to barter or sell it cuz I don’t have ANY freezer space left!

  18. Robin Welch says

    Mavis help a girl out I feel like the last left over sandwich at the picnic….can you please explain where all of you are placing chicken orders? how much is it per pound? is this factory or farm raised? organic or nonorganic? I’ve never heard of ordering mass quantities /boxes of chicken but if the price is right I’d be all over it.

    • Susie says

      Robin, it’s from Zaycon Foods and they have “events”, where you pre-order a case (40 lbs) or two (or more if you’re cooking for an army, I guess) and then pick them up from a refrigerated truck at a set time & place. Mine was in a nearby town’s church parking lot on a Wed evening, 7:30-8:00. You drive into line, pull up when it’s your turn & they load it it your trunk.

      It’s antibiotic-free, no chems or additives. The box is lined with heavy plastic & the breasts are full breasts still connected. Never frozen. A video I saw on Good Morning America stated that the meat was on the farm one day, in your trunk the next. Doesn’t get much fresher than that.

      As for the “processing”, my 40 lb. box took me about an hour with kitchen scissors to cut the breasts into halves & trim up. I made sure to put all those “trimmings” into my chicken stock bag I keep in my freezer with the veggie bits.

      Go to their website and register. They’ll let you know when the next “chicken event” is in your area. I’m also waiting to find out about the next ground beef event. After seeing Jamie Oliver educate us about “pink slime” in factory-produced ground beef, I want to know my stuff is pure!

  19. mamalala says

    I just did 80 pounds too. It takes so long, but I love the quality of chicken you get from Zaycon. I have it down to a system of how to do it fast. But, every time I just feel yucky after it. I think it is worth the savings to trim it yourself. Plus, I like being able to cut the chicken into different cuts of meat- tenders, chunks for stirfrys, and butterfly (for flat sandwiches)

  20. says

    It would totally be worth it to me. I, too, want to know where you are ordering all this chicken from. Do they sell breasts only? Price? I agree that you should have gotten 40 lbs instead of 30 lbs. I thawed and cooked 10 lbs of chicken breasts yesterday, and froze it in portions for a guy friend. I am still amazed at your barter! That would last me a long time. Have you ever considering canning chicken?

    • LaToya says

      It’s probably Zaycon Foods. They have food sales in different areas at different times. I went halfsies with someone on the chicken order – but the processing part, no thanks. I’ll pay the extra at Albies for the convenience factor. I did the bacon deal too and it was really good bacon. Thinking there was a fruit one we did – peaches, maybe? But look ’em up and you can see what they have coming in your area.

    • Casey says

      As far as I know its only chicken breast but they also do ham, bacon, beef all sort of stuff. Chicken this time was 1.69 a pound so much cheaper then in the store

  21. Sara says

    If that is Zycom I also got mine I processed my 80 pounds into 17 packages then I had 3 very large bags of scrap that I also froze to make broth. You did Great it took me about 1 1/2 hours to do this. I would have done it for 30 pounds of free chicken

  22. Kim H says

    Zaycon is great. I got 80 pounds just a week ago. It took 2.5 hours to trim, package and label into single breast packages. (Although I have a vacuum sealer, I use freezer paper because it is quicker and cheaper.)

    Comparing $1.67 per pound versus almost $5 that my local grocery store charges, I’ll do the labor EVERY time. As an added bonus, I got 6 quarts of delicious chicken broth and a pound of chopped chicken from the “trimmings.”

    Next time, call me and I’ll help for free chicken! Not really, I live on the other side of the country :)!

  23. kelly t says

    I processed 7 quarts in my pressure canner- bbq half- and froze the rest after splitting each breast half into 4 for easy cooking and eating. I guess I don’t mind anymore. The first time was hard though

  24. says

    I would happily do the processing for that much free chicken! But, maybe that’s because we’re trying to eat cheap out of necessity…I’m going to help my neighbor process her pumpkins & she’ll give me some of the cooked pumpkin so the boy can have homemade pumpkin pie. I’m stoked about that!

  25. Lisa says

    Sometimes we do things for our friends, just to be nice; you don’t always have to get something in return. So getting all that chicken for free was a bonus…good for you! :)

  26. Heidi says

    I will be processing our 80lb Zaycon chicken order tomorrow. I’ve never ordered before but since so many people have such positive comments about their chicken I bit the bullet and made a hefty order. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to process, wrap, freeze, etc. Also, has anyone ever pre-seasoned the chicken, made broth as you are processing, etc. Any suggestions/recipes would be helpful. I’m a bit panicked!

    Has anyone ordered the bacon or hams? If so, is it worth it? $90.+ for bacon sounds so expensive to me?

    • Susie says

      Heidi, I just put the trimmings into my chicken stock bag I always keep in the freezer, where I put my veggie trimmings. I use a pair of kitchen scissors to just snip away – much faster & easier than a knife!

      I got a great deal awhile back on Ziploc bags, so I used the XL Sandwich size and was able to get 4 trimmed breasts in most. Some of those chicken boobs were humongous though, and so a few of my bags had 2 or 3. I just used a Sharpie to write the number on the outside of the ones with 2 or 3, knowing all the rest had 4.

      I’ve never seasoned any of them ahead of time (I’ve only ordered once, but will definitely be doing it again!) but I should. I’ve done that with chicken before – just dump marinade in the bag before you freeze. I also didn’t think about cutting the breasts up in to tenders or chunks. I might do that next time too.

  27. says

    Wow! I think Ramona was generous and you were a great friend to help her out at all. I would have totally jumped at the chance to earn some free chicken!

    I checked on Zaycon foods and unfortunately, the closest drop off point for me is 1.5 hours away! Yikes!

  28. Helen in Meridian says

    Did you have to barter freezer space from your neighbors to hold those 80# before she gets back? I wonder how you find room in your freezers for all that chicken.

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