First, set the chicken on the ground. Let it stand free
ly. There is no need to struggle with it. Put your left hand in front of the birdís chest and the other near its back end. The bird will try to walk forward to get away from you but you simply block its way with your hand in front of its chest. Then it will try to back away or jump up but you simply use your right hand just above the back end of the bird as needed to block itís movement. It will go back and forth a few times before it realizes that you have corralled it. But you arenít alarming it by grabbing it, you are merely blocking its movements. After a few seconds, the bird will accept the fact that it can go nowhere and it will calmly stand still. When this happens, you have graduated to the level of ďchicken whisperer.Ē
Then, with your one hand still light
ly blocking its front chest, move your other hand under the bird from behind, palm down. Direct your index finger between the birdís two legs. Grasp its left leg between your thumb and index finger. Then reach over and grasp the right leg firmly with your index and middle finger. With the legs thus secured, lift the animal slowly and tip it ever so slight
ly against your hand that is against its chest. If you do this gently, the bird will cooperate without even flapping its wings. But it may flap a bit and that is no problem as long as you continue to maintain your hold. Walk the bird to the cones and tip it , head first, into the cone.
If you let go of the birdís legs after youíve deposited it in the cone, it will use its legs and feet to struggle and try to get out. If it gets out of the cone (and sometimes they do) youíll have to chase the upset fugitive all over the place and that is counterproductive. So, to avoid that scenario, hang on to the birdís feet with one hand after you have deposited it in the cone. With your other hand, loop a length of stretchy bungee cord around the feet, pull it taunt around the frame of the cone stand, and hook it in place. This completely immobilizes the bird.
It isnít pretty but it is the most friendly way of killing chickens. You hold the chickenís head by its comb with one hand and use a sharp knife to slice into each side of the neck, severing the main arteries. You know when youíve cut the artery because the blood
will flow fast and sometimes squirt. Then you let the birdís heart
pump the blood
out of its body
. The birds will occasionally squawk and thrash about but most of the time they are calm as the lifeblood
flows out of them.
The next step is to scald the birds. this means dipping them in hot water
holding their feet up. This is needed to make the removing of feathers easier.
Afther the scalding it is time to pluck the chicken. Which is a straight forward process. Just pull the feathers out of the chicken.
When you have a naked chicken it is time to move on to the butching process. The most essential tool for butchering a chicken is a sharp knife. Best pick of knives is a boning knife. With your dead, bled, scalded, and freshly plucked chicken in hand, I suggest the first thing you do is give it a good rinsing off. As I am rinsing, Iím examining the carcass and rubbing, pulling, or scraping off any remaining pin feathers. I begin butchering a chicken by removing its feet. Lay the bird on its back. Grasp a foot and apply downward tension while slicing into the joint. There is no need to cut here with a lot of force. You want to direct your knife blade between the joint and through the tendons. Just saw gently ahead and back with the sharp knife while bending back on the foot. I throw the feet away. But you can actually put them to good use. Save them for making chicken feet soup. Or, I understand that in South Africa, enterprising street vendors sell fried chicken feet and it is a very popular treat.
With the feet removed, I turn my attention to the opposite end of the bird. The head must now be removed. Joel Salatin, author of the book, Pasture Poultry Profits, removes chicken heads by pulling them off. I recommend that you give it a try