Well, i butchered my first chicken...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by 88Haywood88, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. 88Haywood88

    88Haywood88 Songster

    Feb 13, 2010
    Yesterday, I did my first chicken. Actually it was my roo who stopped taking care of my hens and started beating them up instead. I have about 20 cockerels that i'm going to butcher in the fall, so i needed practice. certain aspects of it were good, some went wrong. The killing was the part that went less than satisfactory. I had a heavy cleaver that my gf's dad used for butchering years ago... I sharpened and honed it and thought it would do the trick. It didn't. The first whack did enough damage, but it didn't chop the head off. so lucky me. I had to chop once more to finish the thing. I decided to skin the bird like i would do a quail (i didn't bother with scalding... for one bird). I'm an avid bird hunter, so this was the part that went well. does anyone else skin chickens instead of plucking? and is there any advice to facilitate killing better? I heard of the cone method, any other ways? thoughts? thanks.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2010
  2. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Pretty callous titile. Even when they must go, I wish it were more solemn. And I wish I could avoid even seeing the titles to these threads [​IMG]
    I'm sorry - maybe it's that I have to very soon have a beloved pet's life extinguished because he is very ill and nothing is working in the medical realm. I don't take any of these lives lightly. Even a brat roo (mine is a sweetheart but I know they aren't all sweethearts).

    Edited to update:
    I appreciate the OP changing the title of the thread. I know the end result is the same but it was still a life. How we refer to such things does matter, if for no other reason than impressionable young readers.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2010
  3. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    Im going to do some this fall, and I think rather than chop the head off, I will just slit the throat and let them bleed out. I think that will be easier than trying to chop the head off and hope I get it done first whack.

    Im going to skin too. Theres been some threads here on skinning, some people prefer that way it seems.
  4. Wolfwoman

    Wolfwoman Songster

    May 5, 2010
    Chickaloon, Alaska
    Quote:Hmm, I agree about the 'whacked' part, but I'm thinkin you might want to avoid the 'meat birds' section if you're that sensitive about it... after all, they are for... meat.
  5. Lynn in Texas

    Lynn in Texas In the Brooder

    Mar 8, 2010
    This info is from memory over 50 years ago growing up on our family farm, but my Mom always employed the "cone" method - We would process 150 or so at a time so had a series of 3 cones. She would hold the feet in one hand the help the head down the cone with the other where she would hold on, let go of the feet and deftly slit the throat. There would be a little "flopping" of the feet but seemed to be a pretty swift and humane method. We always scalded the bird. She would let me keep 3 chicks as pets to add to my flock and the wonderful memories of that has finally resulted in persuading my husband to let me re-create my childhood, and 80 pet chickens later of all kinds, I am truly in heaven again.

    I hope that none of this information was too graphic
  6. Maybe jjthink should skip my post... but I do think death is not to be taken lightly.

    I killed my first rooster a few weeks ago. I wasn't looking forward to it, but he was starting to look like he had the body of a meat bird and was no longer loving life at 13 monhs old. (Parentage was White Rock hen and probably a Red Star rooster, but maybe Dominique). I honestly wasn't sure if I could do it, but I thought it better to end his life quielty than to allow him to suffer in this heat and be beat up everday by his brothers.

    I did the slit the throat thing after tying his feet and hanging him on a plant holder. I talked quietly to him and he remained calm. Husband boiled the water for me and we were honestly surprised how easy the feathers came off after scalding. The only thing I did wrong with him was not soak the meat in cold water for awhile prior to cooking.

    The other thing I did wrong was failed to clean up outside PERFECTLY after the butchering was done. Three days later a fox or foxes attacked my baby run and killed 22 of 24 one and two month old chicks.

    But at any rate, I managed to do the deed with no tears from me. (The 12 y.o. daughter shed enough tears for both of us, but she did help with the rest of the day.) The whole family ate some of the meat from the crockpot.
  7. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Quote:Well, that's the part I'm talking about. I know it's the meat birds section.
  8. Oven Ready

    Oven Ready Songster

    May 9, 2010
    Kill, Whack, Wax, Dispatch, Terminate, Destroy, Slaughter, Do In, Butcher, Waste, Slay, Erase, Process and probably another thirty synonyms - Whatever you call it the end product of all of these is a dead chicken.

    Taking a chickens head off cleanly while it is still conscious can be quite tricky.

    Our procedure for sending a chicken to a better place (like the BBQ or Oven [​IMG] ) is to first pull the neck.
    Holding the feet, put the bird lengthways down your thigh with the neck held below the knee, grasp the neck in the middle of your four fingers, pull sharply upwards, pushing the heel of your thumb against the back of the neck and twist - you can feel the skull detaching from the neck. The chicken is dead.

    There might be twitching or gasping that might make you think it's not dead - it is. To prove this put the dead birds head and neck over a large block of wood, remove the head completely with a machete (or cleaver/heavy knife), a solid blow is needed for a clean cut.

    There will be twitching from the body or the head may be gasping, that might make you think it's not dead - it is. To prove this notice that the bird has no head and the head has no body.

    Hang the bird, it will still bleed out a lot through gravity.

    We pluck dry, we find it tears the skin less and it's a lot less messy.

    The traditional way here is not to wring the neck first but instead slap the bird unconscious before removing the head. A few deft whacks with the palm of the hand to the head appears to be a very consistent way to render the bird unconscious, but I don't like the slapping bit I prefer the neck pull.
  9. GAchick

    GAchick Songster

    Apr 29, 2009
    Pembroke GA
    My preferred method to 'WHACK' my chickens is to call my son and his three stepsons over to do the dirty deeds.... Nothing like teenage boys to get excited over slaughter.... But seriously, I do make the boys pause for a moment, and verbally thank the bird for it's gift of food to us...... Then WHACK!!!! And we used a machete, tied a loose noose around the neck and streched the body out on a board. That left a big target area for my first time butcherers. We've only done it one one occasion. Sent all the roos to freezer camp, and one hen. Four birds total. It was a learning experience for all of us. But I gotta say 'WHACK' is exactly the sound that machete made...
  10. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    Good job taking care of your bird.

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