First butchering this!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by centavo71, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. centavo71

    centavo71 In the Brooder

    Aug 20, 2009
    Northern Alberta
    We are doing our first ever butchering on Saturday and I am starting to get anxious about it! Can you give me a list of the things I will need to have - I am guessing that there is a list somewhere on here...could you link me up? [​IMG]

  2. DaKid

    DaKid Songster

    Aug 31, 2008
    Berkley , Ma.
  3. Egg_newton

    Egg_newton Songster

    Jun 19, 2009
    East Central Indiana
    Don't worry it's not going to be as bad as you think. I've never killed, butchered, or cleaned anything before in my life. I was pretty shook up about having to take their lives but after that it wasn't so bad. The only thing I had as far as equipment was a study non-pourous work surface, kitchen shears, a couple sharp knives, two buckets one with hot water and one with cold water for plucking. I had watched my SO do it once but other than that I was all on my own with no guidance or help. Just take your time and be careful. There is a few really good post this section with pictures that will be very helpful.
  4. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    This is a good informative video that shows an easy way to skin the chickens and also to clean them out:

    are a lot of helpful videos on YouTube to teach you about processing chickens, and a lot of really stupid ones. Look for ones with Joel Salatin, or Polyface farms, or Featherman equipment. Here's a great one with details about eviserating:

    Feel free to ask all the questions you need, we're here to help you learn this. Each time I butcher chickens I seem to learn something more to help make the next session go easier & faster.

    Do the research on all the different methods of dispatching your birds and find the one that seems best for you. I do the throat slitting & find it's easiest as long as I have a good sharp knife.

    How many "candidates" do you have? What breed(s) are they? How old are they now?
  5. ducks4you

    ducks4you Songster

    Jan 20, 2009
    East Central Illinois
    Those instructive threads are REALLY HELPFUL. If you have a 5 gallon paint bucket, that works great to scald the birds so that you CAN take the feathers off. Your boiling water can be poured straight into it. It needs to be so hot that you cannot keep your hand in it. The first bird I de-feathered was dipped in water too cool, and I thought I'd NEVER get the wing feathers off!
  6. Buster52

    Buster52 Songster

    Jan 28, 2009
    Geronimo Oklahoma
    List of things I have for a butcher...

    1. Axe
    2. Knives to process
    3. Chopping stump with two nails in it to hold the head
    4. Trash can to hold innards, skin, head, and feathers.
    5. Water hose hooked up to fresh clean water
    6. Processing table (in my case, a plywood panel sitting on two 55 gallon drums covered with 2 mil plastic drop cloth)
    7. Iced water in chest big enough to hold the chickens.
    8. Gallon freezer bags

    And not in the right order but...
    9. Wire to hold the feet together and hang the bird while bleeding out.
    10. Something to hang the wire from

    We chop, bleed out, skin, eviscerate, wash out, chill, and bag.

    Last edited: Oct 14, 2009
  7. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Don't give them access to anything to eat 12-24 hours before butchering. But do give them plenty of water to drink. This gives them time for their crops and hopefully most of their intestines to empty out.

    If possible, put them in a smaller cage/pen the night before. That way it'll be easier to grab them one at a time for butchering and they won't be as stressed if you have to chase them around the pen. It will ease your stress too. [​IMG]

    Buster's suggested list is pretty complete. It helps to have your work surface high, at least waist high, to keep your back from aching if you have to bend over all day.

    One more thing to consider is if you plan to pluck your birds. If so, you'll need a container big enough to swoosh your birds around in to wet their skin (a big stock pot or 5-gallon bucket will do), a thermometer (a meat or candy therm. will work) and a source for hot water. Some folks keep hot water handy over a nearby camp stove, gas grill, or fire pit. Others keep water boiling on the stove indoors.

    After your bird has bled out you'll need to swoosh him in scalding water, about 140 degrees for 30-60 seconds (does that sound about right?). Hold him by his legs & agitate him up & down so the water reaches down to his skin. Test him after 30 seconds to see if a wing feather comes out easily. If so, he's ready to pluck.

    Remember to let your birds "rest" in the refrigerator for 1-3 days before cooking or freezing to get their meat to relax & be tender for eating. Meanwhile, assemble your favorite chicken recipes... [​IMG]
  8. seramas

    seramas In the Brooder

    Oct 11, 2009
    The key to easy plucking is the temperature as Sunny Side Up said.

    I do several dips counting to 20 and each time they are pulled out of the scalding water I test pull on wing feathers. If they come out easily they are ready to pluck, if not re-dip them.

    Over scalding can lead to tearing of the skin.
  9. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    [​IMG] Didja do it? How did it go? [​IMG]
  10. centavo71

    centavo71 In the Brooder

    Aug 20, 2009
    Northern Alberta
    [​IMG] Sorry it has taken me this long to reply on here. I just wanted to say THANK YOU ALL for the fabulous info. The butchering went quite well and we have decided that skinning is much easier and better than plucking! We didn't get started till about 3pm but we got done in the daylight - about 30 birds.

    Feeling so blessed to have a freezer full o' birds!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: