Harvesting Meat Chickens


Cassie LewisToday was a big day in our homesteading journey; for the first time, we butchered meat chickens!

We prepped for it for the past week or so, and today we actually did it — and it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

We bought the meat chickens through a catalog, and they were delivered eight weeks weeks ago. Then it was time. Our chicks were getting so heavy that it seemed they could hardly walk around!

Step 1: Bribe a crew to help us. We had nine chicks that were going to be butchered. We figured that, to be most efficient, we would need helpers We promised a barbecue — hamburgers, not chickens — and had four people offer to help!

Step 2: Research. I read blogs. I watched videos. I prepped in every way I could. When we bought the meat chickens, my husband essentially told me, "This is your project. I'll help, but you have to do the hard part." I would have to kill the chickens. In a way, I wanted to do the "hard part." Part of my enjoyment in self-sufficiency is the challenge, learning what I'm capable of. But I also didn't want to be surprised by the process.

Step 3: Gather the supplies and set the stage. I had two slipknots tied at about eye level on a 4x4 support; this was for the chickens feet. Then a bucket to catch the blood. I set up a table for the other half of the outside crew — the person skinning the carcass. We had decided against plucking because of time, patience, and learning new skills, but we would need one person with a relatively clean hand to skin the chickens. The inside crew would need freezer bags, bowls, towels, and sharp knives to piece and put up the meat.

1/21/2018 2:26:27 PM

Thanks soo much for this Cassie! Please don't laugh, but it never even occurred to me skin the birds. I've been looking and LOOKING for someone to butcher mine as I have no interest in purchasing a plucker. As soon as I read 'decided against plucking' I was on my way to Youtube. It was literally an 'aha' moment. Thank you for sharing this and good luck on your homesteading journey. My family and I are on the same journey! Jack Fernard

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