Categorized | Projects

Butchering the Chicks

When I butchered the rooster before I had to skin him to get the feathers off. Normally we try a totally different approach to the real butchering process.

These Cornish Giants are slowly moving heavy birds. I can reach under their chest and measure their girth with my hand. The reason I do this is so that I take out the bigger birds first and leave the other’s for a day or so longer.

I’ve discovered that I have a few female birds in my flock of males. I paid for males (which costs more than to order mixed sexes), but the disclaimer put out by the hatchery says they only guarantee a 95% accuracy. I talked to them about that and they said that if I sent them pictures to prove it, then they would reimburse me. So I would save a couple of dollars.

The problem is that right now I’m trying not to get them ‘razzed’ because they are heavy and it’s insufferably hot out. I don’t want to gather all the females together and ask them to sit still while I take their picture. Next time I think I will just order ‘mixed’.


Pail of water being heated

To do this job I get a pail of water hot (we use a propane torch under a metal pail) and a cooking thermometer. It technically should be about 165 C. I like my water about 180 degrees so that I can dunk 4-6 birds in before it cools again.

We axe off the heads by sticking 2 nails into a wooden stump that will accommodate the neck of a chicken and yet will catch the head. By pulling on the feet it stretches the neck just enough that you can get a clear shot with the axe.


Chicken dipped in hot water

After the chickens get doused for 6-7 seconds in the scalding water, they are quickly removed to speedily wipe off the feathers and pin feathers by hand. The feathers come off easier when the bird is freshly hot.

After the feathers are cleared off the bird they get gutted and then the fine hair gets singed with the help of the propane torch.


Hanging chicken gutted





A garden hose works very well to clean out the inside of the bird`s cavity.


Cleaning chicken inside






A final wash with complete removal of any missed pin feathers leaves the chicken ready for the `chop-job`. The bird can be left whole for roasting or cut down into pieces by removing the legs, wings, back to leave the breast.


Cutting chicken leg






Chicken breast

The chicks I did here were about 5-6 lbs, or about twice the size of most grocery store poultry. 





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10 Responses to “Butchering the Chicks”

  1. Well that made me really queasy. I cant believe the chickens are already big enough to eat. WOWWW! Nice looking, cant wait to hear how they taste! I roasted a cornish game hen tonight by the way. Did I say how nice and fresh they look?!

  2. Anonymous says:

    You did a great job of raising these chickens! There is hardly any fat on them, and they look super healthy.
    I wish I lived closer. I would have come out and helped you!

  3. Naomi says:

    How many chicks made it to the butchering block? What was your mortality rate?

    • sherry says:

      I’m struggling to finish the last few. They might look like Turkeys in the end! I lost one that had a breathing problem about half way through the project. Pneumonia fills their lungs up. I was going to butcher it the day before it died but got busy.

  4. Naomi says:

    You had an incredible success rate!
    When we did a shared project in Magrath, we had a lot more deaths. The worst bout of deaths was when my sister-in-law’s terrier decided to mow them down for the fun of it. :(


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