This is embarrassing, but please bear with me as I tell this. I am highly dissapointed in our first time processing chickens for our lack of knowledge, the stupidity of not researching better, and allowing this spur of the moment butchering to occur, from the result of a chicken-angered husband, sooner than planned. Thinking back on it all, I most definately should have asked someone with experience in butchering birds (not just rabbit and squirrel). Yesterday evening was pretty eventful to start with. Dear Hubby came home from work and found all the chickens (2 banty roos, 2 RIRs, 3 buff orps, and 1 bbr) had escaped from the backyard, and so we spent a good hour or so rounding them up, putting the roos in a cardboard box. By that time, hubby was pretty mad and exclaimed that we were to start butchering and the roos would be first to go (hence the roos in a box). I put an immediate kabosh on that seeing as it was supper time and I was in the middle of making it when this all occurred. So after eating supper, since hubby was still gung-ho on it, we prepared to butcher. I got down my big canning pot and put it on the stove with water to boil. Hubby set about sharpening his hunting knives. After we had gotten everything rounded up and placed outside on the front porch, we grabbed the first roo out of the box began to bleed it out. This was not as easy as we had anticipated, after watching it done a few times on YouTube. Who knew chicken skin was so darn tough?? It took a few tries to cut a slit, poor roo, but we got it done. Scalding and removing the feathers was MUCH easier than bleeding. This part of the process I'd have to say was THE easiest part. Next we, or I should say ME, started in on gutting. For some reason hubby thought it to be my job ha ha ha. Well, it took about 20 minutes to do it with issues. First, I fumbled around the neck/breast bone area until finally finding the craw and differentiating the two tubes for eating and breathing from the rest of the neck. There was quite a bit of other tissues that I was unfamiliar with, I had expected to just see two tubes a neck that would have been that. How wrong was I? (Laugh) Next the butt area... which went pretty smoothly cutting around the vent and getting a visual of the intestines, until it came time to pull them out. From what I had seen and heard on the YouTube video, it was easy. Not so, the intestines wouldn't just fall out like in the video. I tried to gently pull them out, using gravity of course, and then I thought "Maybe I'm just not pulling hard enough?" So I pulled harder to my big surprise, this was a HUGE mistake. I ended up rupturing the intestine and all the poop came shooting out all over my hand, up and into the sleeve of my coat, and the cutting board I was using. The stench was nauseating. Gagging and bravely trying to pull what I had in my hand out of the chicken, my husband came to the rescue and took the carcass away to remove the rest of the innards while I took the cutting board inside to wash up. By the time I had come back out, he had finished with the bird and was handing it over to me to bring inside. Now after all that, I realized standing next to the kitchen counter, rinsed off bird in hand, that I didn't know what else to do. So I asked hubby if I could leave it on the counter while we finished the last roo, or if I should place it in the fridge. He tells me that the bird should be fine on the counter, that it won't be too long with the next one, since we had some experience now. Trusting him, since he had hunted and processes his own squirrel and rabbit for years, I left the bird in a dish on the counter, still thinking that I should put it in the fridge. Moving outside the dilemma soon dissapeared from my mind as my hubby now has the last roo by the feet and is off to start the whole process again, this time with a bigger knife. This go was a bit smoother than the first, but definately will be getting some better knives. Was 10 times faster wiping off the feathers and I got the bird gutted out in 9 min. with only minor difficulties getting into the rectum area (which the skin was tougher than the first roo, we are guessing b/c it was the dominant one and was usually the one going to town on the hens). All finished, I brought it inside, rinsed it out well, and immediately placed in a freezer back and thrown in the freezer. The first roo's skin had dried a bit while sitting so I rinsed it again and placed in the fridge for tonight's supper. Ah when supper time rolled around today, I took the bird out of the fridge, still stiff from rigor mortis (which I thought was odd since the ones from the store were so pliable), to rub in butter and seasonings. I rubbed butter all along the body, under the skin where I could, and dollops of butter inside the cavity. At the time, I noticed a smell but thought that maybe the smell was relative to what it ate (free range + meat fowl crumbles+odd bits of scraps) I am a complete newby to done-at-home freshly processed meats. After the bird was prepared for roasting and thrown in the oven, the awful smell intensified as it cooked. I was most definately thinking by then that something was seriously wrong. I also noticed the smell was trapped in the skin of my fingers too, which made me want to gag, and NO amount of washing has removed the smell so far. To my relief when the bird was almost done cooking the smell had dissapated from the air and all I could smell was roasting chicken, which temporarily anchored the belief of smell being relative to what they ate. Yet again another mistake. When it was done cooking, I pulled it out and let it rest while I cooked the sides. When I got back to the bird, I could smell the delicious roasted chicken smell, and faint wisps of the gross smell detected earlier. This made me hesitate, I debated on carving the bird or chucking it in the trash (remembering the smell on my fingers and the part of the prep and cooking process). Against my better judgment, I carried on, instead of carving off the originally intended leg, I peeled a piece off the breast and tried it. Tasted fine enough I thought, then when I started carving the leg off, oh once again, another HUGE mistake. As soon as I had cut off the leg which opened a much larger hole into the cavity, that horrendous smell hit me like a 10 ton bag of bricks. I immediately had my head in the kitchen sink with fork and knife in each hand unable to release them, my body issuing a steady flow of grueling dry heaves for several minutes. By that time, hubby had arrived home from work. As soon as I could, I steered him to the chicken and told him between gags to get rid of it. He of course being a welder and having hardly any sense of smell, said "I don't smell much of anything but cooked chicken" and proceeded to peel a chunk pulled from the lower breast area. Placed it in his mouth and chewed. He immediately went to the trash can to spit it out. I was too wracked with waves of dry heaving to have protested against his taste test. He placed that wasted bird into a ziplock bag and threw it in the trash. I know we had made some major mistakes. Here are my questions: 1. Should we have chucked the first bird which the poop had exploded out of while trying to remove the intestines? I've heard in the past, with deer that the meat is ruined if feces/urine explodes in the carcass, I would have thought the same for birds, but again I trusted my dear hubby. I now firmly believe that one major mistake was leaving the carcass on the kitchen counter to do the last bird, it is quite obvious that bird meat does not keep well after butchering when sitting on a kitchen counter for 15 minutes, but will ask non-the-less. 2. should we have placed the bird immediately in the fridge and not on the counter? Next, I found someone on here that had posted that they were told to put the bird in a cold bath for 5+ hours before cooking/freezing, is that something that we should have done too? 3.Will the bird I just threw in the freezer be ok, since it ended up there immediately after gutting or is it ruined too because I didn't put it in a cold bath first? Please help!! I would really love to know these things and any other helpful tidbits, before we butcher any more of our flock!