First Time Culling and Processing

U_Stormcrow

Songster
Jun 7, 2020
503
923
176
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Processed my first 8 days ago. Wrote about it here.

A SHARP knife is my only recommend. Not Sharp, or merely sharp, but SHARP. Its a courtesy, respect for the bird, and will make your life 200% easier when it comes to butchering after you have dispatched the bird.

Like @Compost King, all the guts in one scoop, carefully separate the bits I want (heart, liver, gizzard) from the rest, then a final cut to remove the whole internal mess from the carcass of the bird.

OK, I was mistaken. I have a second recommend. To the extent you can, get your processing set up ready, laid out, and tested with a dry run before you get started. I had an outdoor propane cooker for heating water and a BIG pot (5 gal), a hanging scale for measuring (and also to position the bird for draining), a plastic bucket for blood, feathers, guts (with a little water at the bottom so the blood would be easier to clean later), and a folding plastic table as work surface, with cutting boards, baggies for storage, knife, poultry sheers, sanitizing wipes - and a hose with a thumb switch for rinsing up and rinsing things down.

You don't want to be half way thru butchering the bird, then realize you left the bags inside for storing bits, or that you don't have enough surface area to work.
 

horscraz

In the Brooder
Sep 17, 2020
21
15
27
North Central, WY
How many do you have? What are your plans already? If you have only a few then opinions will change. I am now 100% on the skinning in lieu of plucking train. So much faster and easier. I also prefer to sit and hold the bird on my lap/ in between my legs with an apron to cut the throat. This allows you to hold them tight and prevent flapping and noise, etc. Have a bucket right underneath you if you do it that way. I find it to be much calmer and easier on the bird. What part of the visceral part exactly?

Unfortunately, the majority of our pullets this spring turn out to be cockerels. Ugg. I never culled or processed before. Tips and tricks would be appreciated especially the visceral part.

Sorry for not replying sooner. Its been a hectic week in Wyoming. We have 4 roosters to cull. I am not sure of their exact ages but we purchased the chicks this spring. There are 2 RIR and 2 Welsummer we think. I have posted pics.

I am not sure if it is worth it to process or not.
 

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Cinnamon Roll

Chirping
Aug 14, 2020
66
102
68
Cheyenne, WY
If you use the skinning method it goes pretty fast and you can just do one at a time. If you decide it wasn’t worth the trouble then you can do something else with your other roosters.

I raise dual purpose birds so mine aren’t usually ready at the same time, which works better for me. I like to wait until they are roosting in the evening and then take care of the one or two roosters then. I use the broomstick method so I take them out of the coop and dispatch them by the light of my headlamp, then I do all the processing in my garage.

My roosters are usually on the skinny side since they are not full grown but the flavor is great.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
Feb 2, 2009
25,961
16,338
797
Southeast Louisiana
Not sure what you consider spring in Wyoming, probably a little different from what I'd consider spring. :oops: But yeah, probably 4 to 5 months old. I typically butcher my dual purpose cockerels just over 5 months of age. To me it is well worth it. At that age they are probably too old to fry or grill. You are not going to get a bird as big as you'd buy from the store. The breasts will be smaller for sure and you should get more dark meat than white. I don't know how many people you are feeding but you can get a good meal out of one of those boys.

We all have our favorite ways to cook them. I like to cut them into serving pieces, coat them with herbs, and cook them in the oven in a baking dish with a tight lid for about 2-1/2 to 3 hours at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. I use oregano and basil, sometimes a little parsley or thyme. If you want you can flavor with garlic and/or onion. When it is done, carefully remove it with a slotted spoon. It should be fall-off-the-bone tender and you should have maybe a half of a cup of the best chicken broth you have ever tasted.

I save the rest of the carcass to make broth so I get a lot more out of a cockerel than just a meal. With four carcasses like that I'd probably get over a dozen quarts of broth. But that does take some time to process and you sound busy.

Learning to butcher them is a learning curve. I don't know how much experience you have butchering any other animal or even cutting up a chicken from the store. Until you get into it it can be pretty intimidating but like a lot of other things once you start you figure out you can do it. I suggest you try one and see how it goes. Then decide what you want to do with those outer three.
 

horscraz

In the Brooder
Sep 17, 2020
21
15
27
North Central, WY
Not sure what you consider spring in Wyoming, probably a little different from what I'd consider spring. :oops: But yeah, probably 4 to 5 months old. I typically butcher my dual purpose cockerels just over 5 months of age. To me it is well worth it. At that age they are probably too old to fry or grill. You are not going to get a bird as big as you'd buy from the store. The breasts will be smaller for sure and you should get more dark meat than white. I don't know how many people you are feeding but you can get a good meal out of one of those boys.

We all have our favorite ways to cook them. I like to cut them into serving pieces, coat them with herbs, and cook them in the oven in a baking dish with a tight lid for about 2-1/2 to 3 hours at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. I use oregano and basil, sometimes a little parsley or thyme. If you want you can flavor with garlic and/or onion. When it is done, carefully remove it with a slotted spoon. It should be fall-off-the-bone tender and you should have maybe a half of a cup of the best chicken broth you have ever tasted.

I save the rest of the carcass to make broth so I get a lot more out of a cockerel than just a meal. With four carcasses like that I'd probably get over a dozen quarts of broth. But that does take some time to process and you sound busy.

Learning to butcher them is a learning curve. I don't know how much experience you have butchering any other animal or even cutting up a chicken from the store. Until you get into it it can be pretty intimidating but like a lot of other things once you start you figure out you can do it. I suggest you try one and see how it goes. Then decide what you want to do with those outer three.
I love your comment - Wy Spring. We can have spring and winter anytime of the year. We had our first front in early September. I am thinking Mayish. I thought I wrote the dates down but my daughter picked them up for me.

We hunt and process our own venison. Its just learning how to start. I don't even care if the bird goes in my slow cooker or electric pressure cookers for the meat.
 

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