**Warning: some of the pictures may be graphic and unsuitable for some viewers, as it shows butchering a chicken from start to finish. Full video tutorial at the end as well**
Whether it’s home grown meat chickens, or that noisy rooster, a good homesteading skill to have is how to butcher your own chicken.
We had to learn how to butcher a chicken for ourselves, and that was a scary thing the first time. While roosters are beautiful and can be useful, we aren’t able to keep them due to their crowing. Wanting to be good neighbors, we made sure they didn’t stay very long. However, our regular chicken processor isn’t wasn’t able to take care of them, so it was up to us.
But, we pulled up our big kid pants and got to work. Here’s the rooster we did first. Beautiful, yes. Irritating as all get out! All day and night he would crow, so he had to go! (got my Dr. Seuss on there)
This was also a good skill for us to learn, as you will see in the video. We raised our own meat chickens, and butchering them ourselves meant we saved $3 per bird. After 50 birds, that was $150 to toss back into our savings account.
First, I will show you how we did one noisy rooster, completely by hand. The video will show you how we did meat birds with the feather plucker that you can get from my affiliate partner here. (scroll past the pictures to see the video)
To get started butchering a single chicken, you need to first kill them. Just cutting their neck is NOT humane, and it can cause them to have increase in adrenaline, which will ruin the meat.
- Take a knife and pierce the brain.
- You have to go through the beak and up a bit.
- Make sure your hand isn’t holding the back of the chicken’s head when you do this, in case your knife goes all the way through. Don’t ask how I know, just trust me.
- This kills them immediately, and is MUCH more humane than just slicing his neck.
- Slice the jugular vein, just under his wattle, and allow him to bleed out.
- Flip the bird over, and hang by his head to allow gravity to help you skinning.
- Follow the fat lines, slicing carefully to remove the skin and feathers from the body.
- Continue on down the body, and cut the wing joints and feet off.
- Remove the skin and feathers from the carcass
- Dig inside the neck cavity to remove the innards.
- Cut off the head, and Viola! A skinned, butchered chicken!
The chickens were given the best life possible, from being able to roam free and be the “best chicken they can be” and were harvested with the best practices.
Feel free to pin this to your favorite board for later
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.