So I've done several cockerels lately and feel like (actually, I KNOW) that I'm wasting an awful lot of meat. I hang the bird by the feet with a cord hanging from a nail in a tree. I use loppers to kill & dehead, then let them drip out. Then I carry the bird to my work table and cut the skin at the breast and try to tear it off. This is where I run into trouble. I'm not too strong and today's cockerel was 23 weeks old, wow was that connective tissue strong! So I tear a little, then use a knife or shears to cut the connective tissue. They're so fluffy and feathers are everywhere. I can't get a good grip, so I just get a hunk of skin and feathers away from the carcass and then cut this chunk off and move on to the next section. I must be terribly slow, because I'll see the flesh starting to dry out so I decide to hurry and cut off the leg sections as I get them skinned. The skin's on so tight that I can't get it off the wings and back, so I end up using my shears to cut along the sides and get the breast clear, then toss the rest into the waste bucket. I'm wasting the wings and lots of side and back meat. Should I just go ahead and pluck first? At least then I could see what I'm doing. So far I haven't cut into any guts that would cause a problem (other than the crop) but I just hate to be so wasteful. I'm concerned about the warmth of the innards while I'm struggling with the skin and taking so long. I'm not too concerned about the liver, etc, for food at this point--I just want to get the meat cleaned, detached and cooling more quickly.