Cut cleaned birds into quarters. Place into a large stock pot. Add water to cover. Cook 1 hour, or until meat is falling off the bone. Remove the birds from the pot, reserving the stock (broth) Strain reserved stock (broth) and return to the large stock pot. Cool birds, then remove and discard bones, fat, and skin. Cut the birds into bite sized pieces.
Dumplings: Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Cut in shortening until it forms small crumbs. Add enough reserved stock (broth) to bring the dough to a soft ball. Roll out dough on a floured surface to approximately 1/8 inch or 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into 1/2 inch wide strips, 1 inch or 2 inches long
Over medium high heat return the reserved stock (broth), back to a slow boil (do not boil rapidly). Gently stir the broth after adding several dumplings. Repeat until all the dumplings have been added, one at a time, to prevent sticking together. Continue stirring gently. Add the reserved bird pieces, butter, and pepper to the dumplings. Turn heat to low, cover, and bring to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes. Serve in a large soup bowl, or over mashed potatoes.
If you are unfamiliar with making pastry from scratch, you can substitute canned biscuits (roll individually with rolling pin). Or buy frozen pastry from bakery. If you use canned biscuits, let set for one-half hour and roll or flatten again to thinness desired.