Country Living & Penny Pinching

Getting back to "Little House on the Prairie" living

Butchering A Chicken

Taking a class for butchering a chicken and having the instructor walk you through the whole process makes you feel invincible.  Give me a hundred chickens, no problem! Processing a chicken at home with three Littles under five years old…well that feeling has no words.

I decided that today was going to be the day no matter what. Three Littles, an ax and a stump were all we needed.

****Disclaimer: This does get a little graphic, the chicken was treated with respect, killed humanely, and no kids were harmed or handled sharp objects during the whole process****

Step 1: Watch YouTube videos on how people do it to refresh your memory on the exact science of it all. Personally I loved this video and found it very helpful since we were butchering a two-year old chicken.  jnull0’s awesome descriptions and how to

Good Bye BIg Mama

Good Bye BIg Mama

Step 2: Have everyone say Thank you and Good Bye. This step is mainly if you are doing it with little kids, spiritual or connected with the animal.

Step 3: End the life of the chicken in a humane way. We chose to chop its head off. Other ways are snapping the neck and slicing the throat. Quick and to the point.

sharp ax and a stump

sharp ax and a stump (don’t mind the grungy clothes and flip-flops)

Having the eldest Little help hold while stringing up the twine

Having the eldest Little help hold while stringing up the twine

helping clean up and totally grossed out

middle Little helping clean up and totally grossed out

Step 4: Drain the blood. Hang the chicken upside down and get out as much blood into a bucket for the compost pile or cooking. I did not cook with it, but I know it can be done. If you don’t want to use it in the compost then there is not much blood, just let it go into the ground and put some dirt on it.

make a noose with twine to hang the feet

make a knot with twine to hang the feet

2015.09.04 butchering the first chicken 15

Step 5: Skin or pluck the feathers. With young chickens, the boiling method is great. Boil some water in a big pan and dip the bird in for about  15 seconds getting the water between all the feathers. Then sit and pluck the feathers out, pretty simple. With an old hen the feathers are SUPER hard to pull out. the boiling method can work but pliers will still be needed to pull out most of them. If you don’t mind not having any skin on the bird just start at  the feet, make a slit all the way down to the neck and then pull the skin down. Be careful near the vent because you do not want to break what I call the poop pipe. This is where are the waste/poop comes out and is attached at the vent.

start with the feet and move down

start with the feet and move down

Step 6: Cut off the feet and neck and proceed to pulling out the insides without cutting the poop pipe! Just reach in and start grabbing all the organs. Pull gently to not break any of them. The intestine is long so make sure you pull slowly and get all the organs that come out with it. Then when the poop pipe is being pulled on (part of the intestine that connects to the vent) just cut off the vent and throw it away. Sorry but anatomy is not my strong suit.

Gorss! A farmer's gotta do what a farmer's gotta do!

Gross! A farmer’s gotta do what a farmer’s gotta do!

Step 7: Cover and let it sit for 24 hours in the fridge.

I love the press n seal wrap! Saran wrap and I are not friends.

I love the press n seal wrap! Saran wrap and I are not friends.

Step 8: Cook and Enjoy! An old hen should be boiled and slow cooked ALL DAY, the meat will be very tough. A young chicken can be used just like normal.

Step 9: Remember a bit of bleach and warm water goes a long way in cleaning up raw meat. Just don’t do what I did…drop the iPhone in the cleaner.

Don't forget to have the bag of rice ready for when the phone goes plunging into a bowl of bleach water for cleaning up.

Don’t forget to have the bag of rice ready for when the phone goes plunging into a bowl of bleach water.

Did this help you know how to butcher a chicken? Any questions please let me know.

6 Comments

  1. Kaylee, you are amazing! I’m really impressed.
    (Who took the pictures?)

    • Thank you so much 🙂 This is all a learning process and I am having the kids do almost everything right along side me. So Mindy was the photographer 😛 except if it was a picture of the Littles, then it was me 🙂

  2. Girl!!!! Oh my goodness!!!!! you are a rockstar. a chicken-killing rockstar hahahahaha I can’t believe that you did all that!!!! did you eat it already??? how did it taste!!! you need to post pictures of you all enjoying it and how you prepared it! 🙂

    and the poop pipe…. I died laughing LOLOL

    • We did eat it in a weird rice concotion. I wasn’t planning on butchering her so soon, so I wasn’t prepared with my ingredients since we were eating out of the pantry…so it wasn’t the best meal 🙁 but it was very tough and I boiled her then used a slow cooker ALL ALL ALL day. We have decided that we won’t be eating the old hags unless we really need to. We will do meat birds and laying hens, dual purpose is good but not very yummy on the taste buds once they get old 😛 I did not get pics of the poop pipe by itself but I will next time 🙂

  3. OMW!!!! I was sooooo grossed out!!! I make this promise to you – I will NEVER butcher a chicken in my whole life!! I prefer to get my chickens at Stater Bros. hahahahaha!

    • Hahahaha that made me laugh out loud. I love that you read the post even though it grossed you out. Thank you 🙂 Never say never, there may come a day where the grocery stores are no longer.

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