Butchering Whole Chickens

Due to the ease of finding it in most local grocery stores and the small, edible bones, chicken is the most common meat that raw feeders use.  Chicken is an excellent food item to offer your ferrets, and provide a great source of edible bones and muscle meat for your your Frankenprey Menu. If you have access to local farming resources, or decide to raise your own poultry, you may need to learn how to butcher whole chickens. Keep in mind that unless you have a large business, one chicken will need to be portioned into several meals to avoid waste. Thus, it is generally used for bone-in muscle meals as part of a Frankenprey Menu rather than as whole prey. You may choose to grind the chicken as well to create a whole-animal grind, in which case you should refer to our page on Balancing Frankenprey with Alternative Meals.

Home raised chickens Photo Credit: Maja Čonč

Below are some resources and photos to help you learn how to butcher a whole chicken.

Butchering a Chicken – Step by Step

Author: User comadrejaloquita14  from Holistic Ferret Forum

Here is the frozen rooster. I didn’t think to drain them after I killed them, I froze them which thankfully worked just as well as draining them.

The first thing I do is let him sit in hot water. The water is so hot, in fact, that I don’t want to stick my hands in it very long but it’s still from the tap – not boiled. This may not work with bigger fowl, I don’t know, ours were less than a year old I think. You have to make sure the entire bird gets wet.

The majority of the feathers come of easily/in hand-fulls. I couldn’t get a good pic because I was taking the pics and cleaning the bird – bird cleaning needs two hands so it was difficult. When you’re taking off the feathers in handfuls try to anchor the skin so that you don’t rip it; it will rip easier than you think. Oh yea, gotta remove the head. It makes it much easier.

"Oh yea, gotta remove the head. It makes it much easier."

Tail feathers kinda suck. The tail skin will rip REALLY easily. Out of the three I’ve done, I ripped the skin on all three’s tails… 

Even though I am going to remove the feet, I remove the feathers on them because it makes life less difficult plus I wanted to keep them.

Its good to note with these and the bigger wing feathers- pull them in opposite direction of which they grow. I bend them to about a 45 or even 90 degree angle first

I couldnt get a pic of how I did it but when I remove the legs I break the bone by bending the leg opposite of the direction in which it should bend then I just cut the tendons. Its quicker, easier and less dangerous than trying to cut through the entire joint.

Okay.. I didn’t pluck it as clean as I could/should have but close enough. You can pick off danglers before feeding. I have wrist issues and they were killing me and I hadn’t even cut the chicken up yet so I figured Id pluck more before serving.

Cut off the legs and wings.

Now, my first rooster I cut up the middle but I quickly realized that because of the false stomach located on the upper left (my left) of the birds neck and because of the bowels/intestines/bum its better/easier/cleaner to cut up the ribs (at least for an amateur .. or maybe just for THIS amateur lol) I decided to do the rest of them by cutting through the ribs on one side. I feel like it gives easier access to the organs so you can remove the ones you don’t want.

I got rid of the esophagus. I don’t know if ferrets can eat them but they don’t seem safe to me.

Chicken esophagus

I forgot to take pics of the false stomach and the removal of it but here are the intestines.

This is how I remove them + the anus. Lift the tail up and cut in a V shape around the anus, then cut through the back-bone area to remove the tail fully. BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL!!! I cut myself really bad doing this one.

Toss them away in the trash. As I said I cut myself pretty badly during that last part (i took this last pic but after that i was bleeding too much and had to stop. PLEASE EVERYONE BE SUPER CAREFUL) BUT the rest is pretty easy. (Cut it up freeze and then feed) I give wings and neck for one meal, legs and ‘gibblet’ for another and then breast with a few organs for another and back/ribs with a few organs for yet another. I wish I would’ve done a bit on the giblet, its a big hard organ that comes in the hearts and giblets packet.. except in the bird its a whole circular-ish organ. Cut it in half and flip it inside out. Throw out all the gunk inside and wash it. Theres a yellow lining in it that peels right off and then its ready for them to eat.