Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

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Step-by-Step Chicken Processing (Video)

10/17/2013 9:00:00 AM

Tags: chickens, chicken processing, backyard chickens, Rebecca Martin

Butchering chickens from your own flock can be intimidating if you've only recently begun raising poultry. Luckily, chicken-processing skills are practiced today by modern homesteaders who value meat they've raised themselves. Planning a tasty, healthy chicken dinner for your family members isn't so difficult when you have the right know-how, and you'll find everything you need in this "How to Butcher a Chicken" video.

Taken from poultry expert Harvey Ussery's comprehensive guide, The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers (available for purchase on the MOTHER EARTH NEWS shopping site), the video is packed with step-by-step photographs and instructions for poultry processing. 

Beginning with an introduction to the basic equipment and tools needed for butchering chickens, the video continues with an outline of the best killing and plucking methods. You'll view birds in various stages of evisceration and discover how to remove oil glands and entrails — plus everything else you need to know about chicken processing.

Scroll below the video to find additional resources on raising poultry and processing chickens.



Resources for Raising and Processing Chickens

"Chicken Processing for the Uninitiated" includes a video of Joel Salatin (Polyface Farms) and David Schafer (Featherman Poultry Processing Equipment) butchering chickens at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Seven Springs, Pa. This unique presentation involves killing live birds in a sensitive and humane manner.

"Raising Chickens for Meat: Do-It-Yourself Pastured Poultry" by Gwen Roland outlines the author's experiences over the span of one year. She gives the ins and outs of raising poultry, including a frank discussion on the emotional stress she felt while killing her birds. Roland also gives a brief introduction to the best hybrid and heritage poultry breeds for broiler chickens, and suggests ways to make poultry processing easier.

Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens for Meat is an excerpt from the book by Gail Damerow. This article also outlines the best meat breeds and discusses confinement options — including indoor, pasture, range feeding and free range. A discussion of feeding philosophies is helpful in determining how you wish to feed your birds. Find this title on the MOTHER EARTH NEWS shopping site.

"The Homestead Poultry Flock" on Harvey Ussery's website, The Modern Homestead, offers detailed information on feeding, housing and breeding poultry, as well as chicken processing.


Rebecca Martin is an Associate Editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, where her beats include DIY and Green Transportation. She's an avid cyclist and has never met a vegetable she didn't like. You can find her on .



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