How I Slaughtered a Chicken

November 15, 2009

Last Spring, a quest for fresh eggs brought my husband and me to a box of chirping chicks.  By late Spring, the chicks had taken up residence in a bright blue chicken coop in our yard in a North Seattle neighborhood.  They grew rapidly, and I dreamed of fresh eggs, shirred, scrambled and coddled. But there was a little problem. One of the hens turned out not to be a hen at all, but a loud, boisterous rooster.  My husband, a mild-mannered software engineer, first considered putting the rooster up for adoption.  But we soon realized that no one wants to keep a loud, menacing rooster around. As he crowed through our neighbor's fourth of July BBQ party, we deliberated and came to the conclusion that the it would be best to kill and eat the rooster. Here is how we did it. (warning, graphic content below)


Jonathan the butcher, the Rhode Island "Not-a-Hen" Chicken, and our homemade kill station comprised of a ladder with an inverted traffic cone and a bucket.


Putting the bird in the cone, head first. The cone calms the bird and prevents it from bruising itself while struggling.


Guiding the head through the cone to expose the neck. Jonathan makes a swift slice at the jugular with a small paring knife and steadies the bird during its death spasms.

first kill

Done with the hardest part, Jonathan and his first kill.

Here, Jonathan scalds the bird in hot water and quickly plunges it into ice water to loosen the feathers. The feathers come out easily afterward. The bird should more or less resemble what you buy from the supermarkets at this point (plus a few parts).

For more information on how to butcher a chicken, click here.



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Melissa Peterman's picture

I commend both you and Johnathan for taking this step and truly going through the process of farm to table. No doubt that you appreciated each dish that this rooster provided for you on an entirely new level. Can you imagine if we all appreciated our food in that way? Very well written Yuna and you have captured the moment in a very tasteful and respectful way.

You are both an inspiration! Thank you for posting!