Harvested my first bird today...an 'extra' rooster...it went pretty well, thanks to all the stories I have read here. So Thank You to all who have shared their experiences, I learned so many tips and tricks that came back to me both before and during the harvest. I had been dreading many aspects of the butchering for months and am relieved to have it over and successful. Things are always hard until you know how and have done them. I've cleaned many a fish but no other animal in my 55 years - tho I've cut up quite a few chickens from the store and that came in handy. It wasn't perfect, but my homemade killing cone and one slice jugular opening worked perfect....which was of utmost importance to me. Tried to skin to save/stretch the hackle and saddle but that didn't go so well, I knew it might not but wanted to try. I ended up taking the breasts, legs/thighs, upper wing and neck without gutting, now that's a neat trick/tip! It'll make a nice pot of chicken and noodles and at least I didn't waste the whole bird. Next time I will scald, pluck and gut. But my planning, having gear ready and the words/pics from many experienced people was very helpful. The experience taught me which knives I want to use.....I want a scalpel with disposable blades and some real poultry shears...my plastic handled kitchen shears just didn't cut it, almost literally. I'm not looking at doing a bunch of meaties(yet...lol), just wanted to responsibly/efficiently harvest any bird in my small flock that wasn't useful for making eggs...I didn't want to be the person whining for someone to take this rooster or older 'pet' hen....it was a big chicken keeping goal that I am beyond proud to have accomplished. It's not only a physical skill but an emotional hurdle of mindset to make food.