Butcher Chickens

Butcher chickens you have raised yourself, and you have the satisfaction of being truly self reliant as well as knowing exactly what is in the meat you are serving to your family.

I currently have some broilers growing in my backyard, and plan on butchering them in the next few weeks. This is the second time I have raised broilers to put in our freezer, and as far as I'm concerned, this is the only way to go. The meat is delicious, and my birds were raised humanely without being fed steroids.

But one thing that discourages many people from raising their own backyard broilers is the thought of having to kill, pluck and process chickens. Yes, it is intimidating at first, but if an old city gal like me can do it, anyone can. Here are some tips.

Find the Right Location to Butcher Chickens

Find a place that is far away from the rest of your flock. This will keep your birds calm and keep flies and predators away from your chickens.

You also want to choose a location that has access to clean, running water. A garden hose will work just fine.

Invest in the Right Equipment

If you plan to butcher chickens, making some small investments in the following equipment will make your job easier:

  • Killing Cone
  • Butcher Knives and Shears
  • An Ice Chest filled with ice

A processing table is also a nice investment that will provide you with a clean work area while you process your chickens.

A processing table like this one will provide you with a clean work area while you process your chickens.

Killing Your Chicken

A killing cone, also known as a holding funnel holds the bird snugly and keeps him still, making the job of killing your bird easier.

Using your sharp knife, make a two-inch cut just behind the chicken's jaw and into the base of the skull on each side of the bird's neck. This will sever the jugular vein and the bird will die quickly, allow the blood to drain out.

If you plan on plucking as opposed to simply skinning your bird, you should also debrain your chicken.

Insert your knife into the chicken's mouth toward the groove at the roof of its mouth. Push your knife toward the back of the bird's skull and twist. If you have done it right, your bird will shudder reflexively and give out a squawk.

Removing the Feathers

I have plucked chickens by hand before, and I wouldn't recommend doing it if you have a large number of chickens you need to process. If you can get access to a chicken plucker, that will make your job far easier, although I will warn you that chicken pluckers are expensive.

In some areas, you can rent a chicken plucker, and I have also thought about investing in a Whiz Bang Chicken Plucker kit, but have not done so yet because of the cost.

For now, I prefer skinning my chickens. It's quick, fairly easy and less expensive. I worked with two other women recently and was able to skin and process 50 chickens in about two hours.

You can learn more about it by watching the following video, although I must warn you it is a bit graphic, although no more graphic than it is to butcher chickens.

This first video shows a chicken being skinned and is provided by Casselman Canada.

This second video shows how to skin a chicken much more quickly and is the way I skin a chicken.  Provided by Chikngrl.

Learn More About Raising Chickens

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