Processed my first rooster, advise please.

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by slc, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. slc

    slc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 10, 2008
    Upper Michigan
    Well I finally did it. I processed my first chicken yesterday. I did not have anyone available to tutor me so I just studied some video and did the best I could. Since I do not have access to any equipment I decided to try skinning rather than plucking. I had what I thought was an appropriate and sharp knife. It didn't go as smooth as I wanted. The cut to the neck while in the cones did not hit target, where exactly is the artery? It took a few cuts and I did not like that at all. As a result I didn't get a good bleed. Second the skin and connecting tissue are very tough (maybe because they were 1 year old roosters?) and it was taking way too long to skin. Not at all like the video. Third I never did get the "insides" to release from the spine area and ended up butchering out the breast meat and throwing the rest away (what a shame). How do you get your hand under there to pull that stuff away from the back when the membrane tissue is so strong? I couldn't get a knife in there or the guts would be nicked. Trying to cut around the vent and crop with the feathers on the skin is not fun either since it is almost impossible to see what you are doing. When it was all said and done about 45 minutes later I had two legs and some pieces of breast meat. This can't be normal.

    Can someone tell me exactly what knife to get and how to make sure its sharp enough? And any advise on how to loosen the insides so they pull out like I see on every video of the process?
     
  2. Belinda's Funny Farm

    Belinda's Funny Farm Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 9, 2010
    Texas
    Quote:I too had the same problem with my knife not being sharp enough so I switched to using a razor blade knife to make the slits. It works great but you still need to find the correct place to cut and then you won't have to cut through all the feathers. On the insides - I cut far enough up towards the breast so that I can get my whole hand in there. Then I work it towards the neck and pull from there out. What I don't get with the first pull I just go back in and bring it out one thing at a time.

    I am no expert at cleaning chickens but just butchered 5 so it is fresh in my mind as to how I did it.

    Good Luck!
     
  3. slc

    slc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 10, 2008
    Upper Michigan
    Belinda's Funny Farm :

    [ On the insides - I cut far enough up towards the breast so that I can get my whole hand in there. Then I work it towards the neck and pull from there out. What I don't get with the first pull I just go back in and bring it out one thing at a time.

    I am no expert at cleaning chickens but just butchered 5 so it is fresh in my mind as to how I did it.

    Good Luck!

    I worked it the same way. I just couldn't get it loose from the membrane at the spine. This was not a young cornishX but a big wyandotte rooster. Is there a trick when processing heritage breeds?​
     
  4. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Quote:Yay for you! Now you at least know more than you did when you started, your next session should go even better!
    Since I do not have access to any equipment I decided to try skinning rather than plucking.

    You don't need equipment to pluck a chicken, especially for just a few birds. Maybe next time you'll want to try plucking.
    ...The cut to the neck while in the cones did not hit target, where exactly is the artery?

    Try cutting just behind the jawbone, pull the neck taut and bend it a bit to the side. There's a bare spot just behind the point of the jawbone, use a good SHARP blade and make a nice deep cut. Try a utility knife blade or a fish fillet knife. When you get it right there should be a thin stream of blood.
    ...the skin and connecting tissue are very tough (maybe because they were 1 year old roosters?) and it was taking way too long to skin.

    I can't skin chickens as neatly as I've seen in the videos, don't know if it has to do with the bird's age. It's especially difficult getting it off the lower legs, wings, & back.
    I never did get the "insides" to release from the spine area...How do you get your hand under there to pull that stuff away from the back when the membrane tissue is so strong?

    I just stick my hand up inside the bird and try to get the whole gut bundle loose and moving out towards the back. I don't use a knife, just wriggle my fingers around & try to get everything loose & moving out. I pry the lungs out separately, and also the kidneys & other gunk wedged along the backbone. I sometimes run a knife over it to get it loose & blast it with a spray of water to flush it out.
    Another method is to cut the body in half along the breastbone, open it up and scoop up the insides instead of spelunking through the vent.
    Trying to cut around the vent and crop with the feathers on the skin is not fun either since it is almost impossible to see what you are doing.

    I agree, I always pluck or skin first, then cut into the body to clean it out.

    I thought this video was helpful to show how to skin and clean out a chicken: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgo6Qlaff_4
    This
    site also has lots of great info, including how to best scald for easy plucking: http://www.butcherachicken.blogspot.com/

    I
    wish you more success with your next birds, do enjoy those breast pieces & drumsticks, you worked hard for them!​
     

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