Butchering Basics

If you are raising your own chicken for meat, follow these tips on butchering a chicken, with instructions on preparing the best roasted chicken included.

| June 2018

  • chicken
    Butchering is never fun, but it is a necessity for those of us who have taken on the joy, and burden, of raising our own meat.
    Photo by Shaye Ellioit
  • cover
    “Welcome to the Farm” by Shaye Elliot is a comprehensive guide for all readers wanting to grow their own food and live a homestead life from their backyard.
    Cover courtesy Lyons Press

  • chicken
  • cover

In Welcome to the Farm: How-to Wisdom from The Elliott Homestead, Shaye Elliot teaches readers how they can live a homestead lifestyle without a farm. In this fully illustrated how-to, Elliot shows readers how to harvest their own vegetables, milk a dairy cow, cam jams and jellies, and more! The following excerpt is from Chapter 5, "Raising Meat in Small Places."

Butchering is never fun, but it's a necessity for those of us who have taken on the joy, and burden, of raising our own meat. I won't pretend that I don't often pawn off the actual killing on my husband. Chickens are a great starter animal for you to learn basic butchering skills. Prepare yourself for feathers — lots of them. And make sure you've got a sharp knife!

How to Butcher a Chicken

Place the chicken upside down in a kill cone. Using a sharp knife, slit the artery in the throat (which runs right on the backside of the earlobe) and allow the blood to drain out and the chicken to die. This usually takes around 30 seconds to 1 minute. Apply more pressure to the knife than you think you'll need. Getting a knife through the feathers can be tough and multiple attempts are not desirable for anyone involved, chicken or human.

Once the chicken is dead, remove its body from the kill cone.

Gently dip the chicken into a large pot of 145- to 150-degree Fahrenheit water for 3 seconds, shaking it gently while it's submerged. Pull the chicken from the water for 3 seconds. Dunk it again in the hot water for 3 seconds, shaking it gently. Again, pull the chicken out of the water for a few seconds. Grab a feather from the bird and pull it out. Does it slip out easily without resistance? If yes, proceed to the next step. If not, continue to dunk the bird for 3 seconds at a time until the feathers pull out like warm butter.

Once the chicken has been scalded, begin plucking the feathers by hand or transfer the bird to a plucker. To pluck with a machine, just place the scalded chicken into the plucker, flip on the switch, and spray the chicken with water while the machine is running (this helps to remove all those little feathers that would otherwise stick to the skin). This makes it much faster and much easier!



February 15-16, 2020
Belton, Texas

Join us in the Lone Star state to explore ways to save money and live efficiently. This two-day event includes hands-on workshops and a marketplace featuring the latest homesteading products.


Subscribe today

Capper's FarmerWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at Grit.com — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $22.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me