Unconventional Tips, Tricks, and/or Tools.


8 Years
Jul 25, 2011
Franklinton, NC
I am fairly new to processing my own chickens but I have found it rewarding and plan on doing as many as I can in the future. I loved and appreciated all the advice I received here and was comfortable taking on this task alone when the time came.

I did find however that what works for some doesn't work for everyone. I thought it might be fun to list what is "unconventional" about what YOU do.

- I used a Pampered Chef pairing knife for the WHOLE process and didn't have any trouble. From culling to gutting....it stayed sharp for all the birds. (wouldn't that be a funny testimonial for their website!!!)

- I bleached my truck tailgate and used it as my "table"

- I poured apple cider vinegar into my cooler of ice water to help disinfect.

Oregon Blues

8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
Central Oregon
We used a small galvanized garbage can (about 15 gallons) for the melted duck wax. Water bath canner isn't big enough for scalding, so I will be buying a wash tub for the scalding water for the next batch.


11 Years
Jul 10, 2009
I use a short cord loop and hook to hang my chickens by a foot from a trellis at a convenient level while I sit in a chair. Then I use a short narrow stiff knife for the brain pith method of dispatch. Cut their throats to bleed out. The rest is a conventional scald, pluck, and butcher.


Free Ranging
12 Years
Feb 14, 2008
This world is not my home.
I used bleach jugs for killing cones, RADA knives for butchering, a copper apple butter kettle sat down inside a patio stove for scalding, zip ties for fastening legs prior to butchering, a garden cart as a holding pen for the soon to be butchered, and a cattle fence to hang birds upon for plucking.


8 Years
I have this pink paring knife that I bought for less than $5.00 at a baking shop. They carry them at the counter in the buckets for impulse buys. It holds a sharp edge. I use this for everything start to finish except for a couple places where I like my cheap kitchen shears better.
I also have two pieces of twine with slip knots on the killing tree at just the right height. I don't use a cone.


8 Years
Feb 20, 2011
when the water in the pot is close to the right temperature for scald, i first throw in the heads of the birds and after a few seconds i try to get the feathers off. if they come off easily, i scald the birds. if not, i wait until the temperature get to the right point. it is a good method to know when the temperature is right, without a thermometer.


8 Years
I have plenty of instaread thermometers because I can't stand to bake bread or cook meat without them. I use my grill to heat a stainless steel bucket and check temp with the thermometer.
Does anyone use heads for the stock pot? Skinned or plucked?


9 Years
Dec 8, 2010
West Denver Burbs
Couple of things I use...

If you've got other uses for it, a Woodland Power Stove cranks out 65,000 BTU which is really nice to get the scalding pot cranking quickly and then you can turn it down and singe the pinfeathers on it. Its like a camp stove designed by Boeing. Its also great for canning.

Also, I put a zip tie around the feet when they go into the cone. Then after scalding hang the bird on a plucking rack made from a sawhorse using sawhorse brackets but studs for the uprights and stud cross member at forehead heght with nails every 2 feet to hang the chickens on. Just put the wheelbarrow under the bird and pluck at chest height.

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Sunny Side Up

Count your many blessings...
11 Years
Mar 12, 2008
Loxahatchee, Florida
I use a metal yard swing frame to hold the birds for cutting and then hanging for plucking:

And added home-made cones made from 3 different materials:

I wanted to see which type I preferred, and now like having 3 different sizes to use for different-sized chickens. There are wire hooks in-between the cones from which the scalded birds are hung by their tied-together feet for plucking. Sometimes I'll use those cotton gloves with the little rubber dots for hand-plucking.

I use the yellow 5-gallon bucket for scalding, heating the water on the stovetop indoors and getting my teen son to haul it out when I'm ready for it (that's his contribution to his chicken dinners). But I plan to get a hot plate and set it up outdoors with a long extension cord so we won't have to carry the water so far across the yard.

I also have a table made from sawhorses & plywood that is just the right height for cutting up the chickens without wearing out my back. My tools are a filet knife (for the neck cutting) a pair of Joyce Chen kitchen scissors, and a small sharp paring knife.


8 Years
Jan 30, 2011
Two Harbors, MN
Quote:I have a yard swing frame too! Ha Ha! Great recyclers think alike! I actually use poultry shears for all of the evisceration process. I rarely open the intestines by mistake with the shears. I always do the bar truss method so I like a neat small opening around the vent. I still use a sharp knife for removing the oil gland but the shears work great and I have yet to cut myself removing legs, heads etc.

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