The Plan
Home Up


This part does not have any gory pictures. Actually, there are no chickens in the single picture below. It does have a picture with the setup. It does have some detailed descriptions.

I will try to be relatively sequential, but some stuff may be a little bit stream-of-consciousness, too. I hope it's all clear, and interesting, and hopefully not TOO morbid!

We had been thinking about doing this since some time last year. An online acquaintance was kind enough to document his process. After looking at a lot of different options, and talking it over, we decided that his method seemed like a pretty humane, efficient, and relatively simple way to process chickens. So that was our base plan.

In a nutshell, the original plan, for the actual killing, involved the following steps:

  1. Put the chicken's head through a "killing cone" - this helps keep the wings from flapping all over during death throes, and possibly breaking/bruising. You can buy killing cones, or you can make a cone out of cardboard, or an old pizza box, like my friend did.
  2. Hang the chicken upside down
  3. Thank the chicken and wish it an easy passage
  4. Use a sharp knife to cut the jugular and carotid artery
  5. Allow gravity and the heart to pump out the blood

Since we don't have a handy mulberry tree, like he did, we decided to create a place to hang the chickens using rebar and PVC pipe. While walking through the hardware store, trying to figure out how we were going to create the killing cone, Aidon came up with, what I thought was, a brilliant idea. He suggested using regular plastic grocery sacks, with a hole cut out, and then using packing tape (which we have a LOT of) to confine the chicken. It's true that the tape isn't reusable, and we may change it in the future because of that, but I have to say - it worked fabulously!

We also bought a new box cutter with a fresh blade just for chicken processing. This turned out to be really a great tool, because we could extend it exactly the right amount and not have Aidon's finger(s) endangered when actually killing the chicken. The right amount turned out to be one notch from fully extended - probably about 1/2" showing.

After we got home on Saturday, we set up the contraption, and decided to do a dry run/walk-through of what we thought we'd have to do. We used an unsuspecting teddy bear for this. It was rather comical, but was quite useful in preparing us and helping us find out what we'd want at the ready, etc.

It also led to having the following ridiculous picture:

We also planned to bring a couple of our folding tables outside to work with. Our modified plan also included weighing the birds - both live weight, and after-processing weight. I wanted to know what we could expect a 7lb live chicken to weigh, compared to a grocery store chicken.

Our modified, more detailed, plan was:

  1. Get the bird from the pen
  2. Bag and tape it
  3. Weigh it
  4. Tie its feet
  5. Hang it from the PVC
  6. Swing it a bit to help calm it (got that tip from somewhere else)
  7. Thank the bird and wish it an easy transition
  8. Slit the throat (well, side of the throat, really, but you know what I mean - we avoided the windpipe)
  9. Wait until it was clearly dead and done dripping
  10. Proceed to the next stage - plucking, drawing, etc.
The rest of the plan was vaguely:
  1. Pluck
  2. "draw" (take out the guts)
  3. chill in ice water
  4. bag and refrigerate
To be continued!



Copyright Kimberly Bobrow Jennery, 1997-2006

Contact Kimberly at: kimberly at bobrow dot net