Today we killed 2 cockerels. We were tempted to just bury them because in the past we have struggled with butchering. But I decided that we would go ahead because I have to waste. These birds were only about 3 mos, amerucana roosters. After my husband killed them by chopping their heads off, I got my equipment ready. A plastic cutting board, a very sharp small knife, kitchen shears, tin snips, a small rubbermaid tote of cool water and a large stainless steel bowl of cool water. I put the chickens in the tote of water before I began for 2 reasons. Cool the body and wet the feathers. If you don't wet the feathers they fly around and firmly, really firmly adhere to your cleaned meat. To start, I used the knife to cut the skin around the "elbow" and then applied pressure to bend it backwards slightly. That exposed the joint which allowed me to easily see where the connective tissue was and I easily cut it. (a sharp knife is key! buy a slide through knife sharpener for $10 to $15 from Zellers or Walmart) I found it to be way easier to remove the wing from the elbow rather than the wing tip because it makes it easier to skin. After both wings are removed from the elbow, I then remove the feet from the knee. Bend the knee forward (to its natural position) and slice through the skin and tissue. Again, once the bones are exposed, you can easily see where to continue cutting. Never feel like you have to power through it or dull your knife trying to cut bone! Once the feet are gone, it is time to skin. I lifted the feathers and skin on the breast and pierced a hole with the knife. I sliped my fingers in the hole and then pulled the skin from the breast and rest of the body. To get the legs and wings out, I just pulled the part through the skin, kind of like I was undressing him.... hmm. I cut the back skin in half so that half of the feather and skin could be around the neck and half around its hind end. I then cut down either side of the breast along the neck to free up the crop and windpipe. Basically a V, not necessary to cut deep or far. I then cut horizontally under the breast bone. This exposed the gut contents. I reached up towards the neck. Of course it is all stuck. I used the kitchen shears, coming from the neck side to severe the windpipe and other connections. then the guts were able to be pulled out. Once pulled out I was able to cut just inside of each pelvic bone and then with the guts dangling I was able to remove the rectum, if that is what it is called in a chicken. I took my time with these cuts and was able to avoid puncturing the intestine. Never ever poke around with the pointy end of the knife. Just use your fingers to separate the area you want to cut and then slice with the blade, a tiny bit at a time. I then used tin snips to cut the neck as short as I could. The tin snips cut through the bone and then the sharp knife cuts through the skin. At this point, only the lungs were still in the bird. (I realized today that I have cooked chickens with lungs intact) It is likely better to remvove them. I reach in and at the highest point toward the neck, start to try to pry the entire lung off the rib cage. If I start away from the middle of the body and work my way toward the center of the body (spine) I found it to more readily peel away. It will come off as a single unit! In the past, I dealt with the following problems.... Plucking a tiny chicken with a million pin feathers and hairs Unable to remove the neck with my dull knife Using a dull knife spilling intestine contents all over After skinning, the feathers stick to the meat really well Not removing all the parts Cleaning chickens in minus 10 celcius weather Using the lawn for a cutting board and having the breast be imbedded with girt and gravel Taking an entire hour to clean just one bird. Near tears with dull knife in a numb finger hand vowing to never butcher a chicken again! I am glad we had this good experience. The take home message.... if you are struggling, you will get better! This is our 3rd year and I can now skin, clean and bag a chicken in about 20 minutes including set up and clean up. Keep trying! Don't give up! Don't waste good meat! I am off to make cock a leekie soup now! Enjoy!