Butchering for the first time

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by rentmecheap, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. rentmecheap

    rentmecheap Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 22, 2011
    In the past I have taken my meat birds to a processor and had the deed done. This time however, due to an untimely power outage and a coldsnap, the 50 birds turned into 3. They are 12 weeks old now and the time has come, so I have decided to do things myself. I read the tutorial and printed it out, but does anyone have any advice a first timer needs to know?
  2. Captain Carrot

    Captain Carrot Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 25, 2011
    Take your time, it's better to prepare yourself rather than rush things.
    Are you going to wring the necks? if so use more force than you think you'll need to.
    Good luck, if you have any questions I've slaughtered about 50 or so chickens and ducks last year alone.
  3. Talihofarms

    Talihofarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 4, 2010
    I agree.. to take your time.

    Also make shure you have everything ready.
    Poultry sheers, sharp knife, Water at the right temp. Bucket of ice.
    Freezer bags. Disposable gloves.

    Processing the first dozen birds is a learning experiance.
    Don't get discouraged by less than perfect results.
    I think that I butchered about a dozen birds before my wife finally had one look like it came from the grocery store.

    Best of Luck
  4. rentmecheap

    rentmecheap Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 22, 2011
    The plan is to decapitate, not wring. I don't have poultry shears, planning on using garden shears. I got them all clean and sharp though.
  5. Graey

    Graey New Egg

    Jan 29, 2011
    Hey, a knife and an exacto knife is all i use, my advise is not to scald too long, ive found that like 15 sec is good even if the water has cooled down, too long and you will rip the skin when you pluck, so ya take your time... also back to the scalding, i dunk the bird 3-5 times, swoosh it around, that will suffice.
  6. tagra123

    tagra123 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 28, 2009
    Lima, Ohio
    All we use is a hatchet and very sharp paring knife for whole birds.

    Might even try to skin the first few and them move on to plucking. We don't usually eat the skin but process some with skin on for fried chicken, etc.

    The first few will take longer then you think.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  7. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    I actually only use a scalpel now - for killing, cutting off legs and neck, and opening to gut. I change blades out frequently, so I have a super, super sharp blade. The sharper the blade, the easier to make a humane cut, the less chance of the blade slipping and cutting YOU, and the easier the whole process goes. Of course, a scalpel isn't the be all end all, it's just what I have, and what I'm comfortable with, and I've got a LOAD of blades, along with the resource to get a LOT more whenever (havels.com).

    One could do the same with a good sharp paring knife. Use what is comfortable for you. If it's a cleaver, by all means, go with it!

    The biggest thing is take your time. Set aside a whole day for it, even though it's 3 birds. Keep this section of the board handy for quick reference and questions. Someone is always on that has great information, and everyone is willing to help out for even the smallest question. Most of us have butchered at least one bird, many of us have done countless numbers of them. There's a lot of different ways to get to the same product, no exact way for everyone, but with the loads of good information here, you're set to make it a good go of it.
  8. Noncentzter

    Noncentzter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 17, 2009
    Southern Oregon Coast
    Just butchered my first two birds yesterday and I had a friend come over and help. We skinned them and he did the first one to show me how it's done and then I did the other one. Skinning was easier than I thought it would be but the thing I found really interesting was how hot the birds were!
  9. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Plucking is a lot easier than you think. I dunk briefly a few times, then start plucking. The wing and tail feathers are the toughest to get, so I usually start with them. Have a trash can with a plastic bag in it to dump all the feathers in. And a pot of water to rinse your hands off, it's amazing how those feathers stick to your hands. If you get to a spot where they aren't coming off real well, then dunk the bird again.
  10. rentmecheap

    rentmecheap Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 22, 2011
    The deed is done. Took 2 and a half hours for 3 birds and they don't look as good as the ones I have done do, but they will taste good I am sure.

    I definately see the advantage of a mechanical plucker.

    Thank you chickens for your sacrifice.

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