Something not to do when you butcher chickens....................


Argues with Goats
9 Years
Jun 5, 2010
Don't attempt to do 12 of them by yourself!

I only ended up getting 5 done, all day, and I REALLY hated killing them. Rest was a piece of cake, excepting plucking them.

Lesson learned. Tomorrow my siblings are going to help me pluck.
Good to know as I have 6 to do in a few weeks. You will be better prepared tomorrow and help is always a good thing when doing a not fun job
but, I bet the ones you did will taste better
Thanks for the tip! Glad you're getting some help. I haven't done any yet, but I'm sure it's going to be difficult when the time comes. So was the plucking part what took the longest amount of time?
Yeah.....plucking is very annoying. I may just skin the ones tomorrow! But the actual killing was the hardest emotionally for me. I hated it. I just cut their throats, and I had them tied upside down.
I don't know if my siblings will actually be much help. Maybe next time, I'll take them over to a nearby farm!
Maybe a cone would make things easier for you? I've been thinking about it and trying to plan it out in my head. I've seen videos both with a cone and just tied up by feet and it seems less visually traumatic because you don't see all of the flapping with the cone.

You were brave to do it none the less and I hope your chicken is tasty!
We have pondered this topic here at home pretty hard. I had the plucking job growing up and really don't want to do that again... We have decided to build the whizbang style plucker. With all the roosters my broody hens hatch it will be worth it in the long run. I bought the plans from Amazon for the plucker and the soaker but the plucker will be the first item. Another forum topic mentioned how their local extension office rented the whole package for under 25 a day. It would be worth the call to see if your area has one available. We hope to keep our home built one around the $300 mark. I already have others lined up who want to share in the use so it should pay for itself easily.
I normally only do two at time now. But the methods I generally use are very thorough and careful, and like the proverbial Indians and the buffalo, I save just about every usable part of the birds (organs, feet, head, neck) so the extra cleaning of those parts takes a little bit more time. IMO it's worth it though, because you get extra stock ingredients (Chicken feet especially are an important stock ingredient, being rich in gelatin). It's also my way of honoring the sacrifice of an animal. If I were just discarding feet and head and all innards and moving on to the next bird, I could do several per hour. But then I'd be throwing away enough food to make a whole extra pot of chicken soup! IMO this is part of the advantage of home slaughter.

Just thought I'd offer my perspective, since it seems that not that many still do it this way anymore. I wanted to post the link to a great Modern Homestead article by Harvey explaining these methods, but it seems the article is no longer online...

Good luck!
I'm scalding, but thinking to skin the next 7 birds. We usually eat skinless chicken anyway! And yes; I'm saving the feet (at least the ones I can remove the skin from) the necks, the livers, the gizzards, and the hearts to make into stock for my mom to can. She loves to can things, and we should be able to make tons of soup stock from all these odds and ends. My little sis enjoyed "de-socking" the chicken feet. It wasn't particularly helpful though.
But it made her happy.

I just hate cutting their throats! It feels so wrong! I keep thinking it must thirty seconds of hell for the bird, but it probably isn't. Actually, it probably is more humane, since it doesn't place as much stress on the bird. But I don't want to just chop of their heads, because my hatchet isn't super sharp, and then I'll have a bloody bird flapping everywhere. So, I think I will continue to cut their throats, but leave and come back when they're dead....I can't stand watching them die!

After that I remove their head, and then scald and pluck or skin. I use Harvey Ussery's Backyard Poultry Mag. (it's awesome!!! Wouldn't have worked up the courage to butcher without it) tutorial to do the insides since this is only my third/second (first time the birds was already dead) time doing it. I modified it a bit, and that is where I got the idea to save the heart, liver, etc. I'm always amazed that such a tiny little heart kept a whole fat bird alive!
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"Something not to do when you butcher chickens.......... "

I think not being prepared is the most common problem, both mentaly and equipment gathering. This is why so many butcher day's have a less than optimal outcome. It takes me about 5 min or less to do a LF meat bird from start to finish, it ain't rocket science and if you are going to do meaties why wouldn't one be as prepared as possible. Doing 2-3 birds at a time is such a waste of time and effort and I don't think you need to have 40000 friends available to help either. So many folks have the approach that Ok today I process now what do I do................... it just baffles me

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