Easy Steps for Easy Slaughter
Sharpened Kitchen Shears
Quart and Gallon zip lock bags
Two work tables
A garbage bag lined garbage can
Stove or portable burner that can heat a large pot of water to boiling
Catch your chickens. This is the first step. You will slaughter them one at a time, so you only need to catch them one at a time. You can send someone off to catch the next chicken while you work on dispatching the one you have. Use your net to trap and scoop them up. You wouldn’t think they could be quick, but chickens can run like the wind when they want to.
Before you kill your chickens, add in a slightly more humane step: knock them out. Take your chicken by the feet, swing them over your head in an arc and smack their head into the table. They’ll fall unconscious and you’ll not have to worry about them waking up during the next step.
Take your chicken, lay it out on your table. Take your hatchet and remove the head then hang your chicken upside down in a killing cone. If you don’t have a killing cone, fashion a small noose with some wire around their feet. Hang them upside down off the side of your table so all the blood can drain out.
While the chickens are draining, rinse off your workspace and begin prepping your boiling water. You will want it to reach 180 degrees. The temperature affects how easy it is to pluck your bird.
Remove the first chicken from the killing cone or wire leg noose. Make sure your water is boiling and holding the chicken by the leg, dip the body into the water. Swish it around, pull it up, and put it in again. Swish and swirl a few more times and then remove the bird and hand it to your plucker.
Pluck the main portion of the bird, avoiding the neck and vent areas as it is unnecessary to pluck these.
The process of butchering the chicken occurs in several steps. Begin by trimming off the feet and tips of the wings. Cut off the feet at the end of the yellow portion of the leg.
Move to the neck, which should be unplucked and probably is a bit nasty looking. Carefully slice the skin around the neck and beneath the feathers. Pull the neck out and peel the skin back. You will want to remove the crop as it is full of small stones and sand that the chicken has used to digest its food. Throw the crop in the trash.
Turn your chicken breast side up and find the end of the sternum. Cut a two inch horizontal slice into the bird between the legs. BE CAREFUL! You do not want to cut too deeply and pierce the innards. Turn the chicken over and make a similar cut exactly over the breast-side slice.
Flip the bird back over to the breast side and slip your fingers into the hole. Begin pulling the bird open until your hand can easily reach in and pull out the insides. Be sure to remove everything. You may see what appears to be egg yolks if you are butchering your hens. These are the starts of eggs and can be cooked in certain recipes. Some cultures even consider them delicacies. Set aside any gibletts that you would like to freeze for things like gravy.
Now, starting from your breast-side slice, cut off the back end of the chicken, all the way around to the second cut you made. By doing this you are removing the tail end of the bird and it should, at this point, look just like a bird you get from the grocery store!
Rinse your bird inside and out, being sure to rub the insides with your hands to make sure it is clean. If you would like to cut your bird into pieces, now is the time. Pop the pieces into a freezer bag and you’ve got fresh, home grown chicken!
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