I Just killed and processed my first chicken...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by OffSpring, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. OffSpring

    OffSpring In the Brooder

    Sep 13, 2007
    United Kingdom
    Hi everyone,

    I just wanted to share the whole process with ya' all as it may help some other people who are going through the same process someday...

    I had a cockerel from this years hatch and where I live unfortunately I can't keep cockerels, due to the amount of complaining from relocating city dwellers!

    Anyway after a few weeks of learning to crow he finally made it and it was time to make a decision.

    Either I would have to give him away (as cockerels aren’t in demand in our area and don't fetch any money).

    Or our family could benefit from him in some way by eating a good, well looked after, free range bird!

    We chose the second option!

    Before the killing I felt so guilty as he was such a good looking, proud, gentle, well behaved cockerel and the whole family has spent hours with him every day, he totally trusted us 100%...

    I couldn't kill him and look at him at the same time, I felt like I was a cold blooded murderer!

    Silly I know but I put a plastic bag around his head (so I couldn't see it) and it made the whole job a lot easier for me.

    I then immediately twisted it's neck and pulled (a method told to me by an experienced friend).

    There was no flapping or noise whatsoever, then after about 5-10 seconds there was a single flap.

    I checked that he was dead and he certainly was! But I wanted to be doublely sure and also start the rest of the processing so I chopped off his head.

    From this point onwards, things got much easier for me...

    I hung him over a bucket to collect the blood. The strange thing was, there wasn't any. Or at least not as much as I was expecting! I imagined blood gushing out for a few minutes, but there was only a few drops.

    I already had a pot of water on the go and I dunked the bird in the pot for about 30 seconds and repeated it a couple of times as I went around plucking the bird.

    The feathers came out surprisingly easily with just the slightest of pulling and they didn't tear the skin at all. Also the smell was not as bad as I was expecting (apparently the smell of the wet feathers is enough to make some people gag), I can tell you my wet dogs smell much worse!!

    Then I cut the feet off, I just felt where the join was from the scaly leg to the fleshy part and made a cut all around. I then bent the foot and the bone came straight out of the socket, I then made a final cut to remove the foot.

    The hardest part I thought would be the gutting. Mainly because I didn't know what to do and couldn't find much useful help with pictures on it on the net.

    But actually it was really simple...

    Firstly I cut the neck bone down a bit lower to the carcass, then I cut the tail/rear off leaving a small hole at either end of the bird. And basically I just pulled everything out! - it was all attached and really easy... Nothing broke inside which was nice.

    It was the first time I had seen the inside of an animal (we haven't been allowed to dissect animals in schools here for many, many years), which I think is a real shame! If they did so, I might have made a completely different career choice, like a vet or doctor etc. Seriously though, I learnt so much about the inside of a body while doing this, it was like being back at school...

    After I was sure all the internal organs was out, I thoroughly washed it inside and out and put it in a freezer bag ready for Christmas!

    In all the process took about 45 minutes to 1 hour from free range to oven ready.

    But now that I have processed the bird I do feel a great sense of achievement which I wasn't expecting.

    Similar to the feeling you get when you light your own fire for the first time with just natural materials, like getting back to nature!

    I would love to hear your comments, questions or suggestions... Especially if anyone has any hints or tips on roasting!

    EDIT: Sorry I forgot to mention that our cockerel was a copper maran!
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2007
  2. Chatychick

    Chatychick Songster

    Jul 9, 2007
    Blue Mound, Kansas
    Yep Offspring the first 1 is the hardest...sounds like you did a good job and I know what you mean...we did 8 roo's about 3 weeks ago...DH did the chopping and I did the feathers and gutting...not to hard and got thru in about 2 hrs..after DH got thru he helped with the other jobs...yep had to many roo's in the henhouse for my taste, so only choice. Yep they taste better than the store bought type too...Good job...
  3. Barnyard Dawg

    Barnyard Dawg Songster

    Feb 7, 2007
    Northern California
    One of the reasons my wife cuts the chickens throat and then bleeds it is she believes it is very important to bleed the chicken and remove as much blood as possible.
  4. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    I just killed and processed my first chicken!

    The exclamation point was eerie to me. While admittedly I am a vegetarian and could never kill a chicken, I would think it would at least to a degree be a somber reverant thing - especially since he was so sweet and trusting - rather than a thing warranting an exclamation point. It's none of my business really but since you asked for comment......
    Sorry. Be well.
  5. OffSpring

    OffSpring In the Brooder

    Sep 13, 2007
    United Kingdom
    There is no need to appologise...

    I put exclamation points at the end of sentances quite often without even thinking! - lol [​IMG]

    My intention wasn't to disrespect the subject...

    I'm not a vegetarian, but I don't eat chicken because I am allergic to it! (there I go again with the exclamation mark!) [​IMG]

    That is why he will be saved until Christmas when the family comes over, I just hope there is enough meat on him...!
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2007
  6. Kay

    Kay Hatching

    May 11, 2007
    Fort Mill, SC, USA
    I am so impressed! The one thing I have dreaded about this whole undertaking (we are currently building our first coop in preparation for the installation of a first flock in the early Spring) is the possibility of needing to slaughter a rooster. We also live in a neighborhood which would not accept a rooster, nor do I want my grandchildren to have to fear the more aggressive behaviors I hear are usually associated with the keeping of a rooster. Nevertheless, I do want to be a responsible keeper of hens and would hate to think that there is a part of this that I could not or would not be able to do.

    For now, though, we are planning on hens only, with the expectation that they will die of old age or some malady! Bravo to you for the courage to do the difficult task and for sharing the experience and process. Kay
  7. linebacker

    linebacker Songster

    Nov 6, 2007
    North West Tennessee
    Great Job!
    Guess I'm a !!!!!! junkie too![​IMG]
  8. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Hi Offspring, Thank you for your kind response. Be well. JJ
  9. Arklady

    Arklady Songster

    Jan 30, 2007
    I am going to get some meat birds this spring they are younger and more tender. I just want to get a couple of answers here. I heard they needed to be left to age in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. I don't remember where I heard this but I am just checking... Does that apply to the meat birds as well?? Also did you feed them different before their end?

    If anyone out there reads this and knows please pass on the info!

  10. paganfish

    paganfish Songster

    Sep 15, 2007
    Fleming, Colorado
    YAY! Offspring! That's awesome! I love how you describe the whole process. It sounded very dignified to me.

    I read somewhere that it makes it a lot easier to say "thank you" to the bird, after the butchering. I don't know if this is true but, heck...I'll try anything once! [​IMG]

    I haven't, yet, had reason to process any of my birds but when the time comes I hope to do it in the manner you did. I would have to chop their head though...no neck wringing for this Mexican! :eek:

    Here's why...:|

    Last year, I ran into a pheasant and after looking at her to make sure she was dead-she was not-knowing full well, I'd have to put an end to her misery. I couldn't take her with me since I was out in the middle of nowhere and on my way to work and she was trying to get up but couldn't. Dilemma! :mad:

    I had to twist her little neck and the feeling was not pleasant. I can't describe but suffice it to say...I won't be doing that with my birds. It was very quick though...and yes, I did weep like a baby. LOL! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2007

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