The good news is that I got to try my "chicken-skinning" skills today. I've killed, gutted, and skinned many a deer in my day, but never had skinned or cut up a chicken. Followed this man's directions: http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/grim79.html from memory, because I didn't have the article in front of me. I had the carcass cleaned in 15 minutes, and then took another 2 minutes to fish the heart, liver, and gizzard out of the body cavity. So, from hang-up to soup-pot was just 20 minutes. That practice will come in handy next week when I process my "tester" hens, which have not laid eggs in 2 months now (the testers were hens I bought at a hispanic flea market, sold to me as "good fighters". I figured it would be helpful if I got "tough, street-wise" birds, since I was a newbie!). The bad news is that the bird I processed was one of 20 Cornish Xs I received on 9/27. So, I"m down to 19 Cornish and 9 Black Broilers. I have no idea why the Cornish died, but he did it inside of a 20 minute window, after I added new water, but before I brought their food out. None of the birds seemed to be ill or laboring in their breathing, so this was a surprise. I cooked him and fed him to the dogs, so the meat didn't go to waste. Skinning is DEFinitely the way to go, unless you just have to have the skin. He peeled slicker than anything I've ever peeled before. Even with no preparation whatsoever, it was over practically before it started. The biggest tip I can give anyone who might be considering processing their own birds is: SHARP KNIFE! And if you think it's sharp, make it sharper! Sharper is safer and faster. I also used my Felco #2 pruninc shears, in place of poultry shears, which (IMO) always rust way too fast to be of use.