I’ve known many people who talk about how great it would be to raise their own chickens for meat, but most of them have never actually butchered a chicken, and a few of them would probably be too squeamish to handle it. Butchering chickens is not exactly fun. It’s messy and brutal, but necessary.
If you’re interested in raising chickens for meat but have never done it before, watch this video by Justin Rhodes. It will give you a good idea of the kind of work involved.
First, you put your chicken into the killing cone, slit its throat, and let it bleed out until it dies. (We used to just step on their necks and yank on their legs to remove the head from the body, then we’d watch them bounce around headless for a minute. I don’t recommend doing that, though, as it’s pretty messy.) When it’s dead, cut off the head.
Next, you dunk it in hot water. This will make the feathers easier to remove. Then you dunk it in ice cold water, which prevents the skin from tearing as easily when it’s plucked. After that, you put the chicken into your plucker machine. If you don’t have a plucker, you can rent one, or you can just pluck your chickens by hand. (I wouldn’t do this if you have a lot of chickens to butcher because it will take a long time.) You’ll want to use a knife to get the last few feathers that the machine didn’t get.
Now as I said, this post is just to give you an idea of what’s involved. It’s not a step by step tutorial (I’ll be publishing one later this year). The next step is to start cutting off limbs and removing guts. It’s gross, but as he says, “Everyday something must die so you can live.” Watch the video below to see it done.