I didn't REALLY want to do it, but months ago when I decided roosters would be added, I also decided that extras would go into the freezer. So essentially, I committed to the idea before the first chicken set foot on this property.. probably a good thing. We removed the food Friday early afternoon for the 24 hour fasting period. They were upset about it by Friday night but got over it, by Saturday morning I was reassuring them that they wouldn't be hungry for much longer. We didn't "setup" like some pros.. we grabbed a portable table, and a big blue storage bin, some rope, my pairing knife and a new pair of poultry shears, a couple of trash bags & a bucket, the hose and a chair. Also a tub to put the freshly plucked but not gutted birds into. Setup under our willow tree in a low area with good drainage, put the loose dogs away, and had the kid work on other things. I retreived the first from the coop, hung him both feet in a slipknot a few inches above the tub, and did the deed... and then retrieved the next one. The deed was Pithing and then cutting off the heads... seemed the most logical... at the time. I opened the suspended birds beak.. used a pinky finger (with work glove) to sort of keep it open, saw the "slot", positioned the blade toward the beak (following the slot) and one, two three JAMMED the blade in best I could. SQUAK & SHUDDER.. and I'm not sure if it's back far enough so another push, satisfied I twist. Hear cracking, flesh tearing, no movement from the bird so I remove the blade. Blood starts dripping from the beak.. they eyes close. I let the bird hang and step back... hand SHAKING UNCONTROLABLY... and stare at what I've done. My husband removed the blade from my shaking hand & rinsed it off with the hose (which we did after every kill to keep things neat) and I stood there and shook for 10 minutes and then had to sit down. Breathing deeply, I felt horrible but had to keep going. At this point, I did not realize my first kill was still "alive" but quickly realized it was when I made my first attempt at cutting off it's head. It was awful all over again.. my husband held his wings close to his body as I imaging the spinal column and attempted to put my blades between vertebrae. Of course my first one went as well as any horror movie hack job... trying to cut through places that don't budge.. I finally managed to remove the head and then held the remainder of the neck downwards, as if I was milking it without the movement, so that he would bleed into the bin. Once the spasms stopped, we let it go, I moved the head to the disposal bucket and went & retrieved the next bird & repeated the process. This time shaking uncontrollably when the blade got to the beak... I was weak about the first thrust, cruel, and had to push further to the skull... twisted deliberately SQUAK & Shudder.. eyes close. I hoped I had done it "right" this time and stood back. DH removed the shaking blood dripping blade again from my shaking hand and I sat down to recover. Eyes are opening... bird is gurgling.. so horrible. I did it wrong again and we remove the head. This time I positioned the shears along a vertebrae & cut more successfully. Same holding procedure and bleeding while holding the neck still. DH shushed them into death... sending them off as comfortingly as possible. Two more to go... same procedure over and over. The 3rd time I really thought I had it right, no flap no spasm but alas, he was NOT dead when I cut his head off, as was evidenced by the CSI like splatter patterns on my shoes & pants & arm. Remember to point the throat away from you. The 4th pithing attempt was better, with more assurance on my part. The first plunge of the blade was clear back to the skull... I felt it hit and then a twist... I waited, no flap, seemed dead. But he wasn't either. Another one shushed off to death with the calm reassurance from DH that everything would be ok soon, to just 'let go'. It was really sad in many ways, but I was MORE THAN HAPPY TO BE DONE with the murderous part of my day. We washed out the bleeding bucket, which by the way didn't have a lot of blood in it... maybe a cupful for all 4 bird... cleaned off the tools and then washed off the necks with the hose. Called the daughter out to help with plucking. She was LESS than happy about this, but we forced her to help. We left 3 hanging and gave her 1 on the table for plucking. Plucking was not as expected. My 1st one, I started with the wingtips, THOSE are hard to get out.... so I gave up and moved onto the back & breast. Good handfull of feathers came outta the back easily, and then I grabbed near the thigh and pulled down toward the breast and ripped the skin clean off the bird. The feeling of warm flesh against my hand was NOT expected and was a little gross, but I kept calm. Tried the other side & ripped the flesh clean off... so I guessed this one would be skinned. DH worked on plucking another hanging bird and I attacked the 3rd. Managed to rip the skin clean off again on accident... too much force I guess. DH managed to pluck pretty clean his carcass and we helped DD finish hers. 2 skinned and 2 plucked. We put them in the tub added cool water & took them in the house. I put them in our outdoor freezer so that I could take a break. We'd been working for about an hour and a half at this point, and it was SCORCHING outside. The bees drove us CRAZY during the kill & plucking portion of the day. After an hour they were plenty cool and I had gotten enough other chores done to get back to the chickens, we put them in the fridge & worked the two skinned birds first. We did this at the kitchen sink, with a trash bag to catch the "yuck". I found the butchering relatively easy, thanks to a carving lesson I got when I was 18 from a fiesty red cross volunteer lady named John E. in SE Texas, and so cutting off the parts was easy. I managed to spill a bit of feces on two of them, rinsed forever to be sure, and getting the guts out was pretty easy as well... seperated the crop on the front end and pulled it through & out with the innards. Lungs... just scraped my fingers until I hit ribs.. they came out easily & cleanly with the handful of guts. I used the necks for broth, and refrigerated the bodies overnight. The next day I put two in brining solution, and froze two.. the two in salt water will be frozen today. They LOOK like store bought chicken, good color, not TOO meaty of course, they are 3.5 month old Buff orpingtons raised on starter/grower then finisher with some ranging & sunflower seeds thrown in. I'd like to learn how to better feed the roosters who end up in the freezer, and so shall in the future. I couldn't look my remaining 3 boys in the face for a whole day... yesterday was hard too.. but today is better. Yesterday we busily filled the newly emptied "roosters coop" with the next batch of breeders & extras to grow out. So.. that's it.. that's my story. Man.. I gotta tell you.. killing a chicken was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.