butchered our first chickens on Saturday

kentucky dixie

In the Brooder
10 Years
May 21, 2009
I have pictures at home, maybe I'll get some posted if my dang computer starts acting right! Anyway, dh and I butchered nine eight week old cornish X on Saturday. Thanks to all the great information here on BYC, it was very simple and easy to do. I had an old laundry detergent jug and I cut the bottom out of it and cut the spout off to use as a killing cone. DH used zip ties to fix the garden hose to a shepherd's hook, allowing it to hang down over an old mop sink that we use to keep beverages cold when we have a party. This provided us with a nice place to wash the birds as we plucked, gutted and all that. Attached to a piece of wood that fit over the second mop sink was a piece of metal barn siding we had left over from building the barn. I sanitized two coolers and the piece of siding with bleach. We cut the birds up on the sanitized metal. On another table, we set up our camping stove and heated the dipping water to 150 degrees. Then, I stuck another shepherd's hook into the ground near my plucking area, which was a way from the butchering operation. DH made me one of the drill pluckers with a 4 inch pvc drain cap and some bungee cords and we were quite efficient after the first couple of chickens were done.

I had no problem with tearing the skin thanks to a big bucket of ice water that we cooled the birds in after dipping them in the hot water. We had no issues with finding the crop, the internal organs, or cutting out the vent thanks to the detailed directions and pictures here on BYC. The birds are currently resting in ice and will be brined this evening, going into the freezer tomorrow after 24 hours in brine.

THANK YOU to all of the posters here who helped us by telling us your experiences. We would have certainly made a mess of it if not for all the great information to be found on BYC. And, to those who are nervous about their first butchering....its not as bad as you think it will be, and in fact, there is a great sense of accomplishment when you are done.
I agree on the ice water- I did that for the first time with my birds last weekend, thanks to Frugal's thread, and I didn't tear the skin on a single one!
Congratulations on a job done very very well!

Enjoy all those delicious home-grown meals, you earned every tasty bite!
Just wanted to add that we thawed, cooked and ate our first home-grown bird yesterday. MMMMMM! It was amazing.

I've read all the "our birds taste better" stories, and I always thought "oh, its probably the same but you just know its your bird so you THINK it tastes better" but I take it all back now!

The bird was tender, juicy, the meat was moist and had a flavor I remembered from childhood when my grandparents grew almost all of our food and I just took it for granted...I knew as the bird was roasting in the oven how it would taste, because it even smelled better as it cooked. The thigh was so light colored it almost looked like breast meat, but it was so moist!

I had been thinking of giving a few of the birds away to friends and family, but now I'm thinking about jealously guarding them so that I get to enjoy every single one!
Mmmmm, you made my mouth water just reading that post. I'm glad you were so well rewarded for all your hard work & effort. I know what you mean about not wanting to share. After alllllll the time & toil it takes to get a chicken to the table, I want it to be well appreciated, not taken for granted. Share your birds only with folks who will understand its unique value. Better yet, share them with people who, after sampling their unequaled taste, will be further motivated to help you raise & process even more.

My family still doesn't get it, even after seeing all the work meat birds require. When I cook them my husband & teen son will gobble down platefulls of meat like it was complimentary mints. I prefer to de-bone it and make its goodness go further in soups, stews & chilis, not eat it alone, and not by the fist-full!

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