Do NOT kill and eat sick chickens!
- Any chicken can be killed for food some breeds
are better tasting and have more meat than others
- Processing only a few chickens is a LOT of
work. Most people set up a time to process a good sized freezer full all at once.
- Have all of your
supplies ready and in one place the night before processing chickens
- Two days before processing separate
chickens to be processed, feed them a light ration of food
- The day before processing DO NOT FEED
chickens but give them water of course
- Plan event with several friends/family for help (you
will need extra hands)
Older "egged out" hens make good soup hens and are best for
eating in soups, stews and dumplings..mmmmmm good soup!
If you have roosters, its best to eat these FIRST and keep your
hens for laying eggs.
Tender young chicken is best, usually under 4/6 months of age.
Older roosters will be stringy and should be used more for soup or stew.
The "Cornish Cross" (big fat special meat breed) provides LOTS
of delicious white meat but it can be harder to raise and the SMELL of these chickens is overwhelming. If you can't
stand the smelly pen, try other breeds such as the plain White Plymouth Rock or a Black or Red Broiler. These chickens are
not as fast as some breeds to get to the table, but they are just as tasty and easier to raise overall.
(Note Blue Star Ranch sells LIVE chickens ONLY. We do not process chickens to sell or for public
There may be some point in your owning of chickens that you
may want to eat a few extra roosters for Sunday supper, or you may want to have your own sustainable "poultry processing"
system in place to make your own food.
What ever your reasons
you need to know some basic facts about processing chickens.
- Keep area quiet and calm from distractions
- Decide your own preference how to kill chicken this should be done in a calm and humane manner AWAY from
other animals and away from squeamish people
- Have pots of boiling or very HOT water available & add few drops of soap to make plucking easier
- A turkey fryer works very well for this, use hot scalding water (just under a boil to not blemish
the chicken) and do not use oil for scalding feathers off of chickens
- Decide how you want to "pluck" chickens. There are several commercial feather pluckers available OR you can buy
rubber tipped gloves to hand strip feathers. It takes practice, but this works too.
- When removing insides of chickens CLEAN is what you need to be: clean tools, knives, table and have a garden hose
- Keep a bucket for unwanted parts and entrails to discard
- MUST have a large container of iced water to place plucked chickens
- Be sure clean chickens IMMEDIATELY after killing
- VERY IMPORTANT Eat your chickens within an hour or so after killing OR soak in ice water for two days to let the
meat "relax" If you do NOT soak the meat, the chickens will be very tough and not good to eat.
- Consider making your own flavors, spices or brines to soak chickens in for a few days (garlic, lemon
pepper, salt or other flavors.)
- AFTER 2 days of soaking chickens on cool or cold water (A large CLEAN NEW garbage can or tub works well) then
package your processed relaxed meat well for your freezer with heavy duty wrap or freezer bags with air removed.
Vacuum sealers work well for freezing chickens up to a year.