Step 9
Clean Up & Chill

At the end of Step 8 I told you how the flap of skin on the back of the bird made a good handhold. Here’s just one example of that:

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After dressing the bird I give it a final washing and overall inspection. Lots of cold water comes in handy for this.

Then I toss the bird into the cooler with cold water.

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I don’t know of any reason the birds can’t stay in the cooler for a few hours before packaging & freezing. Just make sure the water is cool to cold.

Now, about those guts…..

When you are done butchering all your chickens, you will need to dispose of the contents of your gut bucket. There are a few different disposal options.

1. You can compost the guts. Layer them in a pile with lots of straw, sawdust, grass clippings and other compostables. This is best done inside a circle of wire fencing so dogs don’t tear into the pile. Just leave the mix alone for a year or so. It’ll break down nicely.

2. Make a big bonfire in the backyard and roast the guts into ash.

3. Dig a hole and bury the guts.

4. Haul the bucket way, way out into the woods or along a hedgerow; somewhere where people don’t go very much. Give it a toss. Out of sight, out of mind. Birds, coyotes, insects and other creatures will think they died and went to heaven when they see the contents of your gut bucket.

Click Here to go to Step 10: Cutting & Bagging For Freezing
Click Here to read Herrick Kimball's other poultry-related essays.


aquismoney said...

I have a large pond with good sized catfish. They get the guts! I can see them rolling in the water after them. They think they have died and gone to heaven after they have been tossed a bucketful of nice guts.

Katrina said...

We don't have a problem getting rid of the guts, but what do you do with the feathers?

Jess said...

Another great way to dispose of the guts is to give them to your dogs or cats. Mine love them and I feel completely safe feeding them food we raised and will eat ourselves!

Shannon said...

I just wanted to thank you for this tutorial. I had a problem rooster that we had to deal with today and your step by step instructions made it much easier to do. Again, thank you!

david said...

Thanks man of to get a nice knife tomorow and enjoy my chucks next weekend. if it all goes well cant wait to get more.
books i had just hadnt got the grapics to show what to do. ta again. Daithi....Ireland

Becca said...

We just butchered our first chicken thanks to this awesome site! Though we have been raising egg chickens for over a year, it's time to start culling the flock for "stew chickens", and butchering young roosters for roasters. As I type, I am breathing in the heavenly aroma of our first farm-raised rooster roasting with some garlic, butter, herbs and red potatoes . . . THANK YOU!

Sydney said...

You can search for a local BARF diet group, who feed their animals a raw diet and they can use the guts to feed their pets.

Karen B in northern Idaho said...

"Cool to cold" is subjective. I believe you are supposed to keep them chilled to below 40 degrees F for food safety. I usually butcher 15-20 at a time and as each is plucked it goes into a (clean, sanitized, used for chicken butchering only and thoroughly washed and bleached again afterward and stored with bleach water in it til next time) plastic garbage can with cold water and enough ice to always have a good amount of ice floating in there.

When I am done slaughtering, I begin the head/leg removal and gutting, taking one bird out of its ice bath at a time, and when it's done and rinsed, it goes into a separate garbage can with a larger ice-to-water ratio. I want to make sure they are as chilled as possible before putting them in the refrigerator. I drain them and put 5-6 in a meat tub, cover with another tub and they sit in the extra fridge 1-2 days til rigor is gone, then bag and freeze.

Gertrim said...

I was wondering if you need to let the meat age at all. I'm new at this and my first chicken weight in at 4.5 lbs and was very "tough".They are a total of 40 or so and I really hoping they won't all be so hard.

Tom Hardy said...

Okay so my brothers and I want to give this a try. How many chickens do you have? We need to space out and get some wire fencing in Calgary done first though. We want at least 45 to 65 chickens at a time. Any tips?

Cindy Preis said...

I have been keeping chickens for eggs for years and the only ones eaten were from a Fox, our dogs, and probably a hawk. We had so many babies hatch out last year and survive! Huge surplus of roosters and the hens were getting abused. I've read lots of articles on processing chicken, but read and reread yours before putting five roosters in the fridge yesterday. The first one was really hard mentally, but smoother after that. Two of the kids helped with every part, and we couldn't have done it so well without this fantastic blog! The plucking was done the old fashioned way and was actually quite easy. A WBP would be nice for lots of birds, though. Thanks so much.

Davidjohn said...

Love what you're doing here guys, keep it up!..