Step 10
Cutting & Bagging For Freezing

August 2017

After ten years this web site developed significant technical issues and had to be reconfigured at a new web location.

To Visit The New Web Site

Thank you,
Herrick Kimball


Unknown said...

how do you dry the chickens before sealing? i've tried this and the sealer runs and runs and runs.....then runs some more. it can't complete the seal since the seam has moisture in it.

by the way, i am almost done with our whizbang plucker....great plans. i'll send a photo when it's complete,


Herrick Kimball said...

Hi kris,

We just drip dry the chickens a bit. They are still quite moist when we seal them.

The directions with the sealer mentioned putting a folded paper towel near the end of the bag to block the flow of water, and we do that. The vacuum sucks some water into the paper towel and that keeps it from getting to the opening.

That said, sometimes a little bit of water gets past the paper towel and does get to the end of the bag. But it has, nevertheless, always sealed-- unless the machine has overheated. When that happens, the device runs and runs but doesn't suck.

On two occassions we overheated the thing and it wouldn't create suction and we thought it was broken. But after setting for awhile (over an hour once), the suck came back.

When it works, the vacuum sealer is a great machine. When it doesn't, it's very discouraging.

Best wishes with the Whizbang Plucker. It makes plucking chickens downright FUN!!

Randy said...

A BIG, disasterous mistake that we made on the first meat bird batch was putting the birds in the freezer too quickly. We were sadly disappointed when all our hard work ended in something that had the texture (but not the taste) of shoeleather. It was awful!

We complained to our friend who has been raising chickens for a while about the work to pluck all 5 that we did that night and about the toughness. He had the same problem and talked to Joel Salatin about it: You must allow the bird to gradually cool before freezing it. He said to leave the chickens in a refridgerator at least overnight, if not 2 nights, before freezing them.

That has worked great. Well, that and the Featherman chicken plucker that he lets us borrow anytime we're ready to process a batch.

BTW: I have no electrical skills, what do you think about me making a Whizbanger Plucker type with a hand crank or bicycle pedal for the rotating power?

Thanks, :) -R&y

David Schafer said...


I'm amazed at the effort you put into this extraordinary how to butcher a chicken production. It is far and away the best info of this type on the net and long overdue. Bravo a hundred times over.

One of my goals this year is to take videos of as many home pluckers/processors as possible and post the clips on the net. This will be encouraging as well as informative as many folks have little twists and turns they have figured out on their own.

As for R&y's query, I know of one Featherman being operated by a horse-drawn turn mechanism so I'm sure he can do it. I'm sitting on my bicycle-powered water pump as I type this and I'm certain it could power a unit. There will be tweaking with gear/pulley ratios for sure, but try to get around 200RPMs R%y.

David Schafer

realbrew said...

Alton Brown has a valuable video on cutting up whole chickens:

The good stuff starts at the 5 minute mark.

One thing he shows is how to get the "oyster" - it looks like you are leaving this valuable bite on the back - it's a shame to send it to the stock pot!

Leelagirl08 said...

Thanks so much for this blog!! This is our first year for raising a small lot of chickens & found your information very helpful to make the butchering process a little less scary. :)
Thanks again,

Mrs.Smith said...

Thanks a million! I loved the commentary, the pictures, and the clear instructions. You're a life-saver!

mgeorge0090 said...

This spring I decided to raise a small flock of chickens. I have 6 layer, and had 3 meat birds. I had never butchered a chicken before, so I did some research. This was by far the best site I found. I followed the instructions and refered to the pictures, and I now have 2 beautifully processed birds in my freezer (we already ate one, and it actually had taste to it!). I plan on raising all my chicken next spring. I also took your advise on using this as a learning experience for my kids. My 6 year old daugther helped though the whole process, from slaughter to putting the birds in the freezer. She asked a ton of questions and it was a great learning and bonding experience for both of us. My 4 year old son was still a little uneasy about it, but did watch each step of the process for one of the birds. I think he will help more as he gets older. And for those who feel they need to look out for the welfare of children all over, I did not force either of my kids to watch or help, they chose to help and watch and were free to leave at any time. Again, great site, and a great help.


Ruby said...

Thank you Herrick for your excellent site and wonderfully detailed instructions.

I wish I would have found your site sooner. We got 25 chicks in May and my husband built a tractor solely out of 3/4" pvc pipe and lots of fittings. It is 5' x 10'. He covered it with chicken fencing and we have an opening in the top on one end to get to the food and water. Well it is very lightweight and we move it at least twice a day. A few days ago on a very windy day it sort of took flight and landed flat but 18 of the chickens were loose. They huddled under the lilac bushes and we were able to round them all up. Now we have a 10' 4x4 laying across the top and haven't had anymore trouble with the wind. Well now the chickens are over 2 months old and we are ready to start butchering. I grew up with Grandma next door who always kept chickens and sold eggs to the grocery store--but I never learned the whole process. Thank
goodness I found your site. Now we actually look forward to getting started and will probably get 25 more chicks when we are done with these. Next year we want to build a coop and raise a few layers.

You're the best!! Thanks again.

Ruby said...

OH--I forgot to say the our chicken tractor is covered by a tarp--that is why it "took flight".

Thanks again,

TrainerStef said...

Oh my goodness! A friend have me a chicken and I had no idea what to do with the neck and everything! Your blog is a God-send, really! I thank you so much for all of the great information! My bird is now ready to be roasted. Thank you! Thank you!!!

Amy McPherson Sirk said...

Thanks for this great step by step tutorial. We kept chickens but my mother paid the neighbor boys to do the butchering. We've been trying to decide whether or not to get into raising chickens. Having these directions gives us a lot of what we need to reach that decision.

Unknown said...

I like to eat chicken backs. If you haven't you are missing a real treat and they great if you are not very hungry. I have butchered a turkey the same way and fried some of the pieces. Turkey backs have a lot of meat.

My question is, I separate the leg from the thigh the thigh being my favorite piece of chicken next to the leg. I have noticed over the years that when I purchase chicken thighs from the grocery store they are cut differently than a whole chicken thigh cut in the described manner.

There is only a center bone and sometimes they are quit large. I enjoy breaking the thigh into its smaller sections as I eat one.

Can you explain why and what happens to all the parts we don't get?

Anonymous said...

Much appreciated, mate. Our dog killed one of our laying chickens. With the help of your website here, I butchered the chicken (roughly I'm afraid), and will be able to cook and use it for pet food. I'm not keen to eat it myself since the dog already had a good chew on it and I didn't tackle it immediately.

The web is a wonderful resource for finding such practical info, but someone has to write it and I'm grateful that you did. Thanks again, from Sam - no longer a sissy! :) It was much less nauseating than I was expecting!

mzsade said...

Hi Herrick, I am from India, butcher's here are lazy asses, they don't take the trouble to remove the oesophagus, etc from the neck, and the innards and organs from the cloaca; what the do is simply make a cut below the breast-plate, and remove everything in one fell swoop, they care nothing for the delicacy that you showed. Now i wouldn't have resented it so much were it not for the fact that it sort rules out all stuffed bird recipes for me. So i would like to thank you for your effort and hope to try out your method one of these days. Might be a bit tricky as i live in the city and have none of your accessories, but i will give it a go rest assured.

Patrick said...

Hello, thanks so much for the best blog on this topic I have found. My wife and I live in western Virginia and our trying our hand at homesteading. We can't get internet where we live so it would be EXTREMELY useful to be able to download your "ten steps" as a pdf document, would it be possible to get access to something like that?

Joe said...

It's been great time to read your article, really informative thanks keep it up.
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netmeister said...

With the way things are going and for the opportunity to enjoy more flavorful and nutritional food my wife and I have decided to get into the chicken 'biznuss'leg for our personal needs. We're going to start with 5layers layers. My daughter, I found out raises layers and "meaties" as she calls them for personal use and sale to local country store (I couldn't believe it) recommended black or red star for layers.
your blog on how to butcher is awesome and I'm sure to use when time comes. Very well done. I at one time had to develop and write technical lesson plans so am well qualified to pass on a recommendation of your work that you can value as true praise. Not to discount accolades from grateful readers, mine is both as a grateful reader as well as from a professional instructor.

Googs said...

Hi, its been great reading your guide. There is one question that keeps me busy. What is the maximum age at which you butcher your chickens and still be able to have a good etable meal from them? Can chickens be too old to eat?

Cheers from Holland!

Mike Johnson said...

Great blog i know people's are taking lot of advantage from your posts keep it continue.

Shrink Bags

Mike Johnson said...

Great blog i know people's are taking lot of advantage from your posts keep it continue.

Shrink Bags

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Unknown said...

Thank you for the detail instruction. It's very clear and easy to follow.
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Unknown said...

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Unknown said...

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