Processing Chickens

If you have chickens sooner or later you have to make a decision, keep them as pets or eat them. I choose the later even though I have one that is about 5 years old, somehow she just always missed her graduation day and at this point she would probably be way to tough to eat in any situation other than starvation.

Processing chickens isn’t hard but it takes time and I don’t do it enough to be fast at it, young birds (normally excessive roosters) are pretty fast if you skin them, you really don’t even need a knife the skin can be just pulled off. Most of the time pulling the skin off isn’t an option. We don’t always skin them, it is probably better to leave the skin on but sometimes I don’t feel like messing with the feathers.

Normally to get the feathers off we put the bird in water that is about 170 degrees Fahrenheit for a few minutes and then pull the feathers off, after the feathers are pulled off there will be a few left, taking a torch to them singes off any remaining feathers.

Going back to the beginning though, the undesirable deed of doing them in. It helps to have a cone for bleeding.


A cone can either be bought or made at home.


The chickens neck is pulled  through the bottom, of course the bird will fight it, be as nice as you can though, it doesn’t take anything rough to get it through, be respectful for what it has done and for what it is about to do. Also make sure you have a very sharp knife, try not to cut feathers because they dull the knife more than anything else during this process, a slit on each side of the neck will very quickly bleed the chicken out in just a few seconds it will be over.

It is best to let them bleed for a little while, catch the first one and let it bleed while I get the next, because the one you are getting isn’t happy you don’t want to mess around with moving the dead bird out of the cone so set up something else, I have bailing string hanging on my deck with a slip knot on it, after the bird in the cone is dead I move it to the string to let it drain, I have my place set up for two birds to hang and one in the cone, that’s about all I want to do at a time. When my wife has helped we have done 10 or so but if it’s your first time don’t bite off too much. Since I did these in the summer I didn’t want to have too many out in the case it got hot, it was an exceptionally cool day which is one reason I chose to do it that day. I have about 20 more to do. November is thought of as the slaughter month, that’s for two reasons, one your not feeding something through the winter and the other is that it should be cool enough to not have flies and not have the meat spoil.

I normally do the initial processing out side, the machete is for the feet, neck and wing tips but I don’t always use it.

After removing the innards they go in a bag and then the refrigerator for about 3 days.

After 3 days I cut them into little cubes if I am canning, fill the jars and pressure can for about 95 minutes. I used the recipe at but there are many options out there, most come back to basically the same thing. If I remember right, 3 roosters became 7 pint jars of canned chicken.

Author: millcreekhomestead

Just a stay at home Dad trying to become more self sufficient in a world getting more dependent. It’s easy to get lost in all the things of the world, sometimes the best therapy is getting your hands dirty and growing something good!

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