Tried to butcher a roaster today. I failed.

Discussion in 'Livestock' started by biobacon, Jan 31, 2017.

  1. biobacon

    biobacon Track Layer

    Man I did such a crappie job. I've butchetd other animals but always with help and never something I've raised and cared about. My knife wasn't sharp enough, my cut wasn't deep enough, blood went every where, I hold to hold him down. In the end I just couldn't eat him. I'm leaving this butchering business to those of you are good at it because I just wasted a good chicken.
  2. Tweto

    Tweto I love the smell of Argon in the morning

    Instead o trying to cut their necks, I would just twist their heads a couple of turns. No blood. This is how I was trained on the farm.

  3. weedygarden

    weedygarden Well-Known Member

    Some people who do this fairly frequently, have a stump or chopping place, and use a hatchet. It is quick and easy. No matter where you do it, there is blood that squirts out. My grandmothers used to raise 100 spring fryers each year, and after they got their heads chopped off, they would run around for a little bit, and blood would squirt out. Sometimes, it would seem as though they were chasing someone.

    I think, like many things, having someone show you how or doing it with you the first time helps. I cleaned many of those birds as a child.

    BTW, roosters are generally tough eating. They also have a strong taste. When one of my grandmothers would cook a rooster, or another older bird, they would be put in a stew pot and cooked on low for a while. Today, I would cook one in a crock pot on low all day with lots of onion, celery, carrots and some garlic.

    We had a circular drive on our small farm, that was graveled. We played there when I was a young child, except when a rooster held us hostage. I still remember the glee we had the day Mom told us we were having that old rooster for dinner, along with some dumplings.:partydance:
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
  4. CrackbottomLouis

    CrackbottomLouis Winston Smith Sent Me

    I never get something right the first time I do something. My gun belt I'm making is a prime example. You should have seen the first deer butchered when I was a kid. Looked like a scene from house of a thousand corpses. I'm much better at it now. Don't give up. By your 10th one you'll be teaching others. Proper butchering is not only a skill for you but maybe even a barterable skill later.
  5. Starcreek

    Starcreek Here a while

    A really sharp knife is the most important investment in any butchering you do. Second to that is experience.

    I've never killed older chickens, but we always butcher any young roosters we don't need, and they're really tasty!

    We keep a stump with 2 nails about an inch apart. First thing we do is tie the feet together, with a little slack between. Make sure you've got a board nailed between 2 trees, with a row of nails on it, sticking out.

    Slide the bird's neck between the 2 nails on the stump, pull gently on his feet to stretch the neck, then chop with the knife. Usually, if the knife is sharp, it only takes one time.

    Immediately hang by the feet on the board between 2 trees. Let him bleed out, then pull the skin off. Carry to the kitchen sink to finish butchering.

    Two tips: I wore white tennis shoes for this one time, and got blood all over them! Wear old tennies or boots. Also, never butcher a chicken in front of other chickens that are going to be left alive. I had a rooster that never let me forget that he saw me massacre chickens! He hated my guts, after he saw that!
  6. terri9630

    terri9630 Internet Princess

    I found it really hard to eat meat when we started butchering our own. The carnivore in me won out. No way this girl could survive being a veggie eater.

    We hold them upside down until they calm down and hang them under our "butchering" tree. Hanging upside down, we remove the whole head with one quick HARD slice and let them flap their wings until they are done. We use a heavy buck knife and cut from behind the head to sever the spine/nerves so even if we don't get all the way through the bird is dead. We tried just slitting their throats but had more problems that way. The hatchet is faster but the birds don't want to have their head stretched out and fight. Makes it more dangerous for you.

    You could always do what we do with our rabbits. We built a wire cage with a small hole in the top. We use a pellet gun or rats shot in the 22 to the back of the head. The knife is free but the gun is easier.
  7. cowboyhermit

    cowboyhermit Supporting Member

    If you try it again. I recommend;
    Hang the bird upside down by it's feet. A cone works well, especially for a newb. Either use a sharp heavy cleaver (or a sharp hatchet) and chop into a wooden block, or, with any sharp knife take the head clean off by pulling slightly and cutting through the neck. Wear a pair of really thick gloves, at least with the hand holding the head in place.
  8. HardCider

    HardCider Well-Known Member

    Don't kick yourself. Butchering stock you have personally raised is never "easy". Nor should it be. There is a serious and solemn obligation and desire to do it as humanely as possible as we can tell from your post. Correct and improve how you approach it next time and realize that self-sufficiency takes time and effort. You'll be great
  9. jnrdesertrats

    jnrdesertrats Noob


    Plus one on the killing cone. We also made a wiz bang chicken plucker and am so glad we did.
  10. AmishHeart

    AmishHeart Well-Known Member

    I like the Whiz Bang stuff. Bought a book of home ideas he did, and he even autographed it and then a follow up email to see that it arrived ok.
    The first year we raised and butchered turkeys, I had a hard time eating them. This last year went smoother...the butchering and the eating. My son takes any old hens or extra roosters we don't want.
  11. mosquitomountainman

    mosquitomountainman I invented the internet. :rofl:

    It gets easier to butcher them. I use a chopping block and a hatchet. Used nails to hold their head in place but took too much time. They'll usually stick their neck out when you hold them upside down. I chop the head off and toss them away to let them flap around a bit. I usually kill three or four then skin them. I don't like plucking them because it's faster and no smell of wet feathers from scalding them.

    I understand on killing critters you've raised. Our turkeys were well past the best age to butcher when we finally did it. Rabbits can be hard too. Never had a problem killing hogs though. They always seemed to have caused enough problems that I look forward to meeting out justice (or at least revenge!).

    When we get chickens we get only hens for layers. I get kind of attached to mine. The last batch followed me around like the dog. I finally put them down because they were so old they couldn't keep warm anymore. I felt sorry for them even though they'd already quit laying long before. If we want chickens for meat we get meat chickens. Last time we got 84. I was sure tired of butchering chickens for awhile.
  12. cqp33

    cqp33 Supporting Member

    First off kudos for trying! Just like when we were youngsters I am sure you fell off your bicycle a few times. Everything is harder the first time! I am no butcher by no means, especially of chickens (I don't have any) but I have now butchered my first hogs this year. I have a Amish friend that does it for the Amish community here, of course I paid him but I also was with him helping through the whole process. I am sure I could do it if I had to, I wouldn't do near as good of a job as he did but with practice in time I am sure I could master the art! I will continue having him do it because he enjoys teaching while doing it, he also going to butcher our cows in the same manner.
    now the one thing I can't get him to come off of is his recipe for his brine for curing bacon and hams. boy is that bacon yummy.
    we raised 3 pigs this year, netter near 650 lbs of meat, 86 pounds of bacon! One of the downfalls is the Amish fella doesn't have a vacuum sealer so the wife and I spent the better part of 2 days vacuum sealing 650 lbs of meat pretty much by the pound! yeah ouch! but the freezers are full of some fantastic pork though!
  13. musketjim

    musketjim Well-Known Member

    I'm terrible at the homegrown bird, but I'm ok with grouse and ptarmigan. Need to take care of my turkey this summer sometime, he's like a pet dog almost. I'd be a terrible farmer.
  14. Cotton

    Cotton Supporting Member

    Home raised roosters are tough, break out the crockpot, 4 hrs at least. Chickens aren’t the easiest critters to slaughter and process.

    I remember as a kid, we had an assembly line set up to process a few dozen chickens. Mom and Me-Ma’s were there, my sister and I were little, we did the plucking.

    A chicken that had it’s neck wrung and was plucked by me got put on the pile for cutting. It suddenly woke up (neck not broken) an ran off… I’ll never forget all of us chasing a ne-kid chicken around the barn, (over and over). It was too funny at the time. :D

    You'll get the hang of it. The last batch of roosters I had to process I took over to my neighbor. We used his chicken plucker, best thing since sliced bread. They work great, takes only a couple of minutes.
  15. CrackbottomLouis

    CrackbottomLouis Winston Smith Sent Me

    In a survival situation would you really skin rather than pluck? Seems you would be missing a lot of calories that way.
  16. TheLazyL

    TheLazyL Cowboy

    Wife refuses to eat any animal that she has seen when it was alive.
  17. AmishHeart

    AmishHeart Well-Known Member

    Our son raises rabbits and his girlfriend is the same way. She never looks at them or the babies.
  18. biobacon

    biobacon Track Layer

    Thanks yall for the kind words and advice.
  19. crabapple

    crabapple I sold my soul to the internet

    I never used this metal "flower vase" looking thingy, but it may work for you.
    Two as shown on this link could keep you with another one to pluck.

  20. terri9630

    terri9630 Internet Princess

    That's the "killing" cone someone else mentioned. You can use small traffic cones to if you enlarge the small hole a bit.