While technically I've done a bird before it has been at least ten years since I last butchered a chicken (and I could recall nothing of the process), so I consider it my first. Today was "moving out" day for a hen who hasn't layed in eight months. We have three young (four month old) bantams to replace her and she wasn't playing nice with them at all, not laying and bullying even the other (laying) bantams. So I read up. I read all the processing posts here and gathered my equipment. Got the knives, built a cone, got everything ready. Then it was time. I had a pot of water boiling on the stove, a trash can to put feathers in and the cone hung and ready to go. She didn't fight much once she was in the cone but I quickly learned she held still a lot better if I tied her legs up. I have a neighbor who just hangs them by the feet and does it but I tied up the feet and she held still (mostly). That said, all my reading and studying didn't do much when it was time. In the videos and pictures the cut on the neck is always clean and fast and it looks like the bird dies inside a minute. I made a bad cut. I regret to say that the chicken died a lot more painfully than I intended. The second cut got one of the blood vessels and it began to bleed extremely quickly into the bucket. The second cut also resulted in a gush of blood. I was not prepared (I'm not sure that's the right word - I wasn't really aware) for how much blood there is in a chicken. It bled for quite a while. It also flopped a lot. The container held it tight and it did not escape but it scared the living daylioghts out of me when I brushed a foot and it flapped. My daughter had volunteered to help but she screamed and ran off when I cut the throat and it started croaking while blood was running off. "I didn't know the chicken was actually going to wind up dead," she said. I have a lot of education to do with her. After five minutes the blood slowed and I pulled the head back and forth to make sure it hadn't clotted. This resulted in a fresh flow of blood. The body continued to breath this whole time, but at least the eyes were not moving or responding to the flashlight I had on hand to test. I found this somewhat comforting since I took it as a sign that the bird was in fact dead. A decade ago when I did this I used a hatchet and let the birds run around in the yard. That was a lot less creepy but this way resulted in a bird with a lot less blood in it. Scalding went as planned - the water had been turned off and was at 145. Took four dips for the leading wing feathers to come out cleanly. Plucking was not hard but I understand why people use pluckers. When I had her clean of feathers there were still hundreds of translucent "hairs" sticking out that I assume are proto-feathers or something. Butchering was not bad. Had trouble locating the first leg joint. Second one came clean. I split the gizzard and had to wash the bird, sadly. I'll know better next time. Removing the lungs and entrails was not difficult - I made a cut above the vent and widened it, then worked around the cavity until the whole insides came out. We did not save "vitlins" as my grandma would call it, as my wife said that if I did, she would not cook the bird. I cut the whole tail off because I couldn't find the oil gland. Since we're making chicken and noodles I could've just skinned her but I wanted to practice. The bird is now cooling in the fridge. Meat is clean, skin is (mostly) intact. The bird was really, really fat. Huge yellow fat ridges all over her and a mound of fat in the abdomen you'd need to see to believe. The mess is cleaned up, and in a few days we'll cook up chicken and noodles. That said next time will be easier. My lessons learned: 1. Get a tight fitting cone. 2. Get a sharper knife. I have some sharp ones but it would have gone better with a sharper one. 3. Tie the legs. 4. Cut right the first time, even if you take off the head. It's only proper to kill an animal in the least cruel method possible. 5. The chicken stinks when you first dip it. The stench gets less as you get the feathers off. If you have been thinking about doing this (I have a couple more roos that will be going to freezer camp soon) you can do it. It took about an hour. I suspect a second chicken would run about thirty minutes because I know what (and how) to do it this time around. I have a few ideas for a simple plucker that I think I'm going to try out before parmesian (spare roo #1) is ready, and I'll know for sure how I want to pluck before fillet (Roo #2) is ready.