Butchering Egg Laying Chickens: From Barn to Can

Homestead Bootcamp

We recently had to make room in our chicken castle for some new egg layers, so the old birds had to go! Older egg laying chickens are not usually ideal for eating because they are very tough and just don’t have much meat on them. The best thing to do with these old birds was to can them. Canning chicken makes it wonderfully tender even on these less than ideal hens.

This video goes through our process from catching the chickens all the way to cooking them. I wasn’t able to get video of the actual canning process, so that will be for another time.

When we butcher, we plan for a weekend when a majority of the whole clan can make it. We put as many kids and adults to work as we can. Generally, we have one adult who does the catching and killing. One person can run both the scalder and the plucker, and we have had older kids run this post at times. We have one person do the more intimate plucking with pliers, and a kid is in charge of delivering chickens to the gutting table. We usually have one or two kids cutting off the feet and then 2-3 people gutting and one person scraping lungs. (Once we buy another lung scraper tool, we will add another person to that duty.)

Warning: This video contains graphic content. If you are squeamish when it comes to butchering, you may not want to watch a good portion of this video.

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