Those three Cornish Cross chickens I bought in March were eight weeks old, and having more trouble walking all the time. I asked Cliff if he thought the two of us could get them butchered, and he said he thought so. We really did not know what we were doing, even though we found wonderful instructions at howtobutcherachicken.com. Maybe if we'd had the instructions printed out in front of us it would have been easier.
Cliff has always done the killing of animals around here, but after he did the first one I said, "Let me try the next one. I'll kill it like Mother did, by stepping on its head, holding onto its feet, and pulling."
I remember my mother telling me you can only kill young, tender birds that way. Older, tough chickens have to have the head chopped off. My grandma used a hatchet to chop off the heads of all the chickens she killed; I remember asking Mother why, and she said it was because Grandma was old and didn't have a lot of strength. Since my grandmother was only ten years older than I am when she died, I have to admit that I had a few doubts about whether I could pull a chicken's head off using Mother's method. Imagine my surprise when it worked!
According to what I read, 145 degrees is the perfect temperature for scalding a chicken, which is something you have to do if you are going to pluck the feathers. Hot water from our faucet is 135, so I didn't have to heat it up much.
By the third chicken, I was tired of plucking and told Cliff to skin it, feathers and all. All three chickens are chilling in cold water in the refrigerator. Tomorrow I'll freeze them. I feel like a REAL pioneer woman now.
He's been on the couch ever since. I think that was enough activity for today.