The Survival Podcast Forum

Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics => Homesteading and Self Reliant Living => Topic started by: HelenWheels on July 25, 2009, 08:38:57 PM

Title: Animal Butchering
Post by: HelenWheels on July 25, 2009, 08:38:57 PM
I didn't know how else to name the topic but here is what I want to know/do.

I believe it to be prudent to know how to:

- Kill, clean and fillet a fish

- Kill, pluck, clean and cut up chicken (and any difference to consider for other fowl)

- Kill, skin, clean and butcher a pig

- Kill, skin, clean and cut up wild game (deer, etc)

I would most likely not want to kill and prepare animals such as goats or cows, as I would want to depend on them for milk, etc.

Videos on the internet are available but it's one thing to watch it and a completely different thing to see and do the same thing up close and personal. A video on the 'Net is almost on par with knowing you get your meat from the grocery store.

I haven't had much luck finding a "school" of sorts to learn these skills and would really like to find someone within a reasonable distance of home (Nashville area) who would be willing to teach me (and maybe a group of others).

Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: JeanetteW on July 25, 2009, 09:12:49 PM
These are certainly very important skills to have. We take care of our own goats, sheep, and chickens on our farm as well as the occasional small game animal. As with any other skill, practice is more important than "book learnin'."

I would think that it would not be too hard to find someone who could teach you in your neck of the woods. Maybe place an ad in the farm section of craigslist or call a few mobile butchers and see if the will teach you.

I think everyone should be able to demonstrate this skill before they can be issued a drivers license.  ;D
 --
Jeanette
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: scrappy on July 25, 2009, 09:44:32 PM
Consider the book "Basic Buchering of Livestock & Game" by John J. Mettler Jr.  You can learn everything you need to know about the topic.  There is no doubt that it is best to learn from a friend if you can.  I learned to slaughter pigs and goats from an acquaintance.  Messy work like that turns acquaintances into friends very quickly.  Still, if you can't find anyone to teach you, this book will give you quite enough information to get the job done on your own.

Also keep in mind that a necessary byproduct of dairy animals is their offspring.  You may keep the heifers and does, but the bulls and bucks are going to be for food.
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: LdMorgan on July 25, 2009, 09:48:13 PM
When I first killed, dressed out, and then butchered a rabbit for food it changed my world-view completely. It made me much more aware of the sanctity of life. To this day, I will not hunt for sport or fish for a trophy. I'll hunt or fish to eat, or not at all. When I do have to kill an animal to eat, I want its death to be as quick, as painless, and as dignified as possible. Every bite of meat carries a life-price, and that's something that people who buy their steaks wrapped in plastic never seem to notice.

If everyone actually understood the inevitability and the absolute finality of death, wars would probably not happen. There would be a lot more people willing to do a lot more to help their fellow man.

It is not the mark of a primitive man to apologize to the animal he must kill or the tree he must cut. 


Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: Winchester32 on July 25, 2009, 10:25:50 PM
Quote
Maybe place an ad in the farm section of craigslist ....

Umm, I'm not sure finding someone on craigslist is the best idea.  I wouldn't put an ad asking a stranger to come to my home and trust him with a lethal weapon in my presence.  Just a thought...........


Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: Winchester32 on July 25, 2009, 10:27:29 PM
When I first killed, dressed out, and then butchered a rabbit for food it changed my world-view completely. It made me much more aware of the sanctity of life. To this day, I will not hunt for sport or fish for a trophy. I'll hunt or fish to eat, or not at all. When I do have to kill an animal to eat, I want its death to be as quick, as painless, and as dignified as possible. Every bite of meat carries a life-price, and that's something that people who buy their steaks wrapped in plastic never seem to notice.

If everyone actually understood the inevitability and the absolute finality of death, wars would probably not happen. There would be a lot more people willing to do a lot more to help their fellow man.

It is not the mark of a primitive man to apologize to the animal he must kill or the tree he must cut. 

While I can appreciate your sentiment, that is not what the thread is about.  Please stay on topic.
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: Copyright 1972 on July 27, 2009, 09:16:33 AM
You might be able to go through you local Fish & Game Dept to find a direction for the wild game/ fish part of your quest.
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: archer on July 28, 2009, 04:41:53 PM
I've been wondering how to get this experience also. I have seen people advertising fresh rabbit meat on craigslist a few times. Next time I see it, I'll ask them if they can teach me how it is done.
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: ColdHaven on July 28, 2009, 04:47:11 PM
If everyone actually understood the inevitability and the absolute finality of death, wars would probably not happen. There would be a lot more people willing to do a lot more to help their fellow man.

It is not the mark of a primitive man to apologize to the animal he must kill or the tree he must cut. 

There is much wisdom in this.
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: Darkwinter on July 28, 2009, 04:51:45 PM
Back when I took my hunters education course, we went threw some butchering techniques.  It wasn't hands on, but the instructors told us they would teach us if we allowed them to keep some of the meat!!
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: mngardener on July 29, 2009, 09:31:12 AM
The best advice i could give is have a sharp knife and a good sharpener.
The most important thing is get the animal cooled and quickly. Mostly gut and soon as possible.
The rest is just getting in there and doing it. You will make mistakes but if you have some one there, they will be smaller mistakes.

If you cant find help. Start small and work your way up. The principals are generally the same, you just have more options with bigger animals. Start with a rabbit or squirrel they are cheep and abundant and will teach you skinning and dressing. ask a farmer if you can kill a few wild pigs. They are a pest most often. So if your ham is a bit small or you left extra meat on the carcass who cares. Practice different cuts. pork chop vs back strap (Loin) not sure if the bacon is any good on a wild pig or even an option. If nothing else you can always makes sausage with the scraps.  Make sure you freeze wild pig really hard and for a long time to prevent Trichinosis. (-25 for at least a week i believe) and cook well.

The rest is what kind of cuts you like and don't like. I like big ribs which means small bone on the pork chop. Do you want ham or fresh roast or sausage.

I am assuming you hunt or at least ok with it since you want to do most of the processing your self. If not your options at practicing are limited.

The best way to learn from someone is find some one who hunts. More often then not they do most of the butchering themselves. Particularly if they are rural. Even better would be to go with different groups. Every one has their own style and what they like and don't like.

Or you can try and find a local butcher shop and see if you can intern for them 1 day a week or something.

At least that is my opinion....
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: HelenWheels on July 29, 2009, 09:36:38 AM
Thanks for all the good ideas.

I don't hunt, mainly because I've never considered doing so and now would not be an easy task for me. However, there are some guys here at work who do hunt and I'll talk to them.

I expect to be pretty squeemish in the beginning about the act of killing an animal and I want to learn how to do it so that the animal doesn't suffer. As far as the gutting, I'm just concerned that I'll do something stupid that will contaminate the meat. The skinning and butchering I would like guidance with but figure of out of the entire process, this is the easiest to learn from a video or a book.

HW
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: jetta2337 on July 29, 2009, 10:17:54 AM
Ask... I went out with a group of guys and told them straight up let me do it. We all shot and got something and I gutted them out. First couple times they stood over and pointed and showed me then after that I was on my way. Easy to do but very intimidating the first time.
As for the squeamish part just look at what you are doing pay close attention know that you got to do this and a lot of that leaves your mind. Also just think of the great meat you are getting and will soon be enjoying!!!!
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: Zef_66 on July 29, 2009, 10:25:17 AM
I expect to be pretty squeemish in the beginning about the act of killing an animal and I want to learn how to do it so that the animal doesn't suffer. As far as the gutting, I'm just concerned that I'll do something stupid that will contaminate the meat. The skinning and butchering I would like guidance with but figure of out of the entire process, this is the easiest to learn from a video or a book.

Yeah, most are a little weirded out by the killing initially of the animal and the blood. But I think you get over that pretty quickly. But as others have said, the best way to learn how to do it, is actually do it. You won't learn as well by reading a book or watching a video. If you know guys that hunt, tell them you are interested and want to tag along. Then, you can watch everything, ask questions, and ask to help after a kill is made. When I started hunting, my uncles gave me one free lesson on how to gut a deer. Then the second one was up to me. I am no where near as good as they are, but I got further that way than I would have if I tried to look at pictures of someone doing it.
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: khristopher23 on July 29, 2009, 11:09:30 AM
OK, not for the weak of stomach, as these are pretty graphic but here you go:

Rabbit:
part 1
YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3alV5xwwyE&feature=related#)
part 2
How to Kill & Prepare a Rabbit: Part II (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDedrGTDeS4&feature=related#lq-lq2-hq)

Chicken:
Chicken Processing on Custer Family Farm (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgo6Qlaff_4#lq-lq2-hq)

Deer:
YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?index=20&playnext_from=PL&feature=PlayList&p=259E793F5716109E&v=ECdaKBbmGnU&playnext=1#)

I have to confess I didn't watch these all the way through, but if that's not what you're looking for just search for "butchering......(fill in the blank)

Also, I heard somewhere (it may have even been on TSP, so forgive me if I've giving out information Jack already covered) that you can sometimes ask to volunteer to work for a meat processor (especially during deer season) to learn butchering. Just look in the yellow pages (especially if you live in a major redneck area like I do) for deer processors, or meat processors.
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: skiffgirl on July 29, 2009, 11:26:54 AM
There is a course called Becoming an Outdoor Women. It is for women only and I took a course that covered just what you are discribing. It does look like Tennesse has the course also and you might be able to email about when the next classes are.
http://www.tennessee.gov/twra/outdoorswoman.html (http://www.tennessee.gov/twra/outdoorswoman.html)
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: khristopher23 on July 29, 2009, 07:53:42 PM
There is also a similar thread about butchering game here:

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=1904.0 (http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=1904.0)

I started to combine these threads, but may leave them as they are since the other is focused more towards game animals, and this one we can use more for domesticated "farm" animals.
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: SouthernLiving on July 29, 2009, 08:34:00 PM
Don't pass up the opportunity to learn about butchering goats and cows.  If you end up maintaining even a small herd you will want to process the excess bulls and billies.

If you are physically able, this fall and winter will be the best time to get hands on experience.  Find a local deer processor and volunteer for two days during hunting season.  You will have your hands on more deer in that two days than most people will in a lifetime.  Another great thing about this is that you can see how they make their sausage, smoke the meat, ect...
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: khristopher23 on July 29, 2009, 08:59:07 PM
Don't pass up the opportunity to learn about butchering goats and cows.  If you end up maintaining even a small herd you will want to process the excess bulls and billies.

If you are physically able, this fall and winter will be the best time to get hands on experience.  Find a local deer processor and volunteer for two days during hunting season.  You will have your hands on more deer in that two days than most people will in a lifetime.  Another great thing about this is that you can see how they make their sausage, smoke the meat, ect...

Sounds just like the same thing I heard when I mentioned:
Quote
Also, I heard somewhere (it may have even been on TSP, so forgive me if I've giving out information Jack already covered) that you can sometimes ask to volunteer to work for a meat processor (especially during deer season) to learn butchering. Just look in the yellow pages (especially if you live in a major redneck area like I do) for deer processors, or meat processors.

Did you just make that up, and I've got really cool ESP, or did we both just hear that on the show?
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: Sid on July 29, 2009, 11:05:03 PM
My neighbor out here in the boonies makes a living doing on the farm butchering.  He and his wife mainly do cattle and pigs.  They come out by appointment, and charge a very reasonable fee.

Their technique is fairly simple.  They shoot at short range the animal just a little above a point  between the eyes with a 22LR or 22Mag except in the case of a bison or very large bull, in which case they use a 30/30.  The intent is not to kill, but to knock out the animal.  They then slit the throat while the animal is layed out on the ground and let it die of blood loss.

After that, they use their pickup truck to drag the animal to a nearby tree and pull it up by the hind legs with a chain hoist and meat hooks.  They then proceed to gut it, skin it, and cut it into quarters which they deliver for you to a local meat shop which ages it, and then cuts it for you, again at a very reasonable fee.

You can learn to do it by yourself just by watching.  The first time they did it for us, many, many years ago, it was a little unsettling to watch, but one becomes conditioned quite quickly to the reality of life, and now it seems just like a normal part of life.  I would much rather see a steer that was born on my farm and lived an unstressed life die quickly in such a manner than go through the bad experience than most supermarket beef passes through to reach the store shelf.
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: SouthernLiving on July 30, 2009, 10:15:49 AM
Sounds just like the same thing I heard when I mentioned:
Did you just make that up, and I've got really cool ESP, or did we both just hear that on the show?

???

Many apologies Kris...I missed the text below the vids you posted. 

But honestly, that's something I've recommended to people for many years. 
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: khristopher23 on July 30, 2009, 04:00:45 PM
???

Many apologies Kris...I missed the text below the vids you posted. 

But honestly, that's something I've recommended to people for many years. 

No, I wasn't implying anything, I honestly heard that several days ago somewhere, almost the same thing you said word for word. I was just wondering if you heard it the same place, or did I hear that from you on a call in show or something?
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: SouthernLiving on July 31, 2009, 02:58:27 PM
No, I wasn't implying anything, I honestly heard that several days ago somewhere, almost the same thing you said word for word. I was just wondering if you heard it the same place, or did I hear that from you on a call in show or something?

Don't sweat it bro.  I appreciate the work you guys do here.  I just didn't understand your post and for some reason the forum turned my three ?'s into a frowny face.

I believe Jack did mention this in a podcast a while back.  Maybe in the Survivalist Skillset episode - I'm not sure. 

I've watched a few of the guys working at a nearby meat processor that had been working there for several seasons.  One of them could gut, skin, and quarter a deer in about 15mins, by himself.  If you want to learn fast, that's the way to go.

If you want to learn frugal butchering, find an old geezer that feeds his family meat solely from what his family kills.  It takes much more time but there is much less waste.
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: phuttan on August 09, 2009, 07:01:10 PM
If you have a small USDA inspected shop near you, see if you can watch on a kill day. If they nick the gut, any contaminated meat is trimmed off. The carcass is washed thoroughly. Any blood or clots that won't wash off, get trimmed out. Then the carcass go into the cooler. Learn how to keep meat clean and cool it asap. That's the most important lesson. Clean meat is good safe meat. Learn that and little mistakes won't hurt you. Everything else becomes natural in time.
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: UncleJoe on August 16, 2009, 04:50:03 PM
What a great thread!!! After all my years of hunting, last fall I finally decided to butcher a deer myself. It wasn't pretty, but I got it done. Ended up with a lot of hamburger.  :-[  Now we have a couple goats that are ready for the freezer. I never thought of volunteering at a deer processing center to get some experience and will make a stop in there sometime this month and look into that before I do a goat. Thanks for the tip.
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: causeway on August 29, 2009, 08:41:40 PM
Great videos Khristopher. Thanks for posting. great thread.
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: Hoxbar on August 29, 2009, 11:13:31 PM
There was a comment made in a recent podcast saying something like killing your food everyday or very often will desensitize you to respect you should have for animal life (or something to that affect).  Like Uncle Ted Nugent says, your food is killed everyday unless you are 100% vegetarian.  There is nothing wrong with killing your meals everyday, such as chickens, fish etc. It's a part of life and some city folk are not used to it.  I think this subject of butchering animals is needed. If you don't have a clue then learn. First learn on a squirrel or rabbit.  Once you have that down then most other game are done the same way.  The only difference is a deer is just bigger. Not much of a huge difference. Hogs can  be processed like deer, they could be skinned unless you want to scrape them, save the skin to make cracklings and render the lard.   Killing our food is reality and we should all be able to do this and then know how to prepare our kill.  In response to the podcast stating that killing our food can desensitize us from the respect we have for life, let me say this.  The Native American Indians had great respect for everything they killed.  They used everything, respected the animal, and respected the hunt as well. They never took the game for granted, and us that kill our food and eat our "pets" are not desensitized to the respect for life. We only realize that God gave us animals to eat and we are thankful for the bounty he has so graciously given. On our farm, our freezer is filled with pork that was raised as "pets" by our kids to show in school. My kids understand that pork chops do not come from the grocery store but rather come from our "pet" pigs. We also raise our own cattle. We eat beef almost everyday that comes from our "pet" cows. We respect our herd and again are thankful for them.  We raise chickens, and eat them too, and my children also understand where their fried chicken comes from,that's right our "pet" chickens . I'm sorry if this is somewhat a rant but I was a little offended by this comment. 
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: garden_noob on September 07, 2009, 12:00:05 PM
Has anyone mentioned your local FFA or 4H clubs?  They grow their own livestock, sell it at the local fair or auction (usually), and whoever buys it has the option of having it sent for slaughter.

I'd hit up an FFH/4H member and ask to be allowed to follow the process.  Observing in real life and being able to ask questions is still worth more than a video.  I doubt you'd be allowed to slaughter someone's purchase though...
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: phuttan on September 07, 2009, 04:36:40 PM
The shop I worked at allowed FFA/4H groups watch their animals get butcherred. (emotional for them) They would also come back when we cut/processed their animals. They could do the cutting. We would tell them where to cut and give help. But they would do the cutting.

If anyone has kids in FFA/4H, ask if they butcher/cut their own animals. If they do, you might be able to observe or help.

Pat
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: Cheeta68 on September 12, 2009, 07:17:16 PM
If you would like a DVD to look at there is an excellent one available from the Kentucky Dept of Fish and Wildlife. It goes step by step through the process of processing a deer. It is nice to have so that you can go back and re-watch sections if you have questions about technique while you are butchering and packaging.

This is the link to the sight where you can purchase.
https://secure.kentucky.gov/Mall/Store/7803440a42df458c815d9db55890b738/Home/9ed1752ec2f5417282de7dd895c43227/ (https://secure.kentucky.gov/Mall/Store/7803440a42df458c815d9db55890b738/Home/9ed1752ec2f5417282de7dd895c43227/)

If you want a preview it is available on youtube.
Deer Processing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0p2t6AXeWxQ&feature=PlayList&p=910121DC554B1ACE&index=40#normal)
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: akdentist on September 16, 2009, 11:32:37 PM
I will second the 4H and FFA families.  We have belonged to 4H for many years - 1st with horses then migrating over to livestock.  After 3 years of raising pigs, goats and a variety of small animals, I took the leap and butchered my first pig.  One of the other 4H leaders offered to help me.  I am sure that in every 4H district in the country, there are several people who are do-it-yourself butchers that would be willing to help. 

All we had was a few sharp knives, a small reciprocating saw (http://www.ridgid.com/ASSETS/ADD1648A3A5A40A896FC86C8946877AC/R3030_2a_Final.jpg), a revolver and a clean place to work.  I set up a piece of plywood with some visqueen on it, hung the carcass up with my skid steer, but a come-along and a tree branch works as well. 

I was amazed at how little it takes to do.  We were done in about 2 hours - and when I say "we", I mean "he" as I was pretty much in the spectator section.  With the cost of professional meat processing costing more than the animal and the cost to raise it, it is definitely worth doing it yourself

Cheers!
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: Citizen Zero on September 21, 2009, 11:41:28 PM
Quote
Videos on the internet are available but it's one thing to watch it and a completely different thing to see and do the same thing up close and personal. A video on the 'Net is almost on par with knowing you get your meat from the grocery store.

You are very right.. The smells that you will discover are hideous!!

Yes, watching and doing are two very different things. Doing, you get all the neat additions like the stench of death, blood up to your elbows, fatigue from cutting and pulling, etc. The smell is the worst, the first time that I opened the body cavity of a deer I just shot, I almost puked from the stench! Slippery, slimy guts, no problem. It was the smell that almost did me in.

But, this is something that everyone in the US should still know how to do.

Someone had to slaughter, cut and package the meat that you find in the supermarket. Even better to know how to do it yourself!
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: Joel on September 22, 2009, 07:29:12 AM
Consider the book "Basic Buchering of Livestock & Game" by John J. Mettler Jr.  You can learn everything you need to know about the topic. 
I have that book, and it's excellent.  I don't hunt much myself anymore, having become something of a vegetarian since bugging out to the boonies three years ago.  But there is a funny story concerning my son-in-law, an unfortunate rabbit, and that very book:

AtH The Assassin (http://theultimateanswertokings.blogspot.com/2009/04/ath-assassin.html)
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: Granny Miller on September 22, 2009, 01:35:24 PM
The USDA & many local ag extension services have put out good pamphlets on this topic (I hate the USDA so it's hard for me to admit this  ;) )
http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G2208 (http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G2208)
I agree it's best to watch someone first.

This topic is an important one and is dear to my heart.  I just this morning left this link
http://grannymillerblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/why-i-do-it.html (http://grannymillerblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/why-i-do-it.html)

for Barb H. & Jack S. because of comments made on yesterday's show.
I strongly believe that if you're going to eat an animal and have the means - you should take the moral responsibility for that animal and not leave the slaughter & dirty work to someone else.

Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: TwoBluesMama on September 23, 2009, 10:16:10 AM
The USDA & many local ag extension services have put out good pamphlets on this topic (I hate the USDA so it's hard for me to admit this  ;) )
t.com/2008/07/why-i-do-it.html[/url]

for Barb H. & Jack S. because of comments made on yesterday's show.
I strongly believe that if you're going to eat an animal and have the means - you should take the moral responsibility for that animal and not leave the slaughter & dirty work to someone else.


Thanks Granny I checked out your post.  Just so we are clear we were talking about my raising meat birds which would die at about 2- 4 weeks old from the altitude here in Colorado - something we did not know when we purchased them.  It was so hard to watch.  I firmly believe in a quick painless death for anything I plan to eat whether it be an elk or a bad rooster.  You sound like a good farm lady!  Blessings TBM
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: Granny Miller on September 23, 2009, 11:21:27 AM
  Just so we are clear we were talking about my raising meat birds which would die at about 2- 4 weeks old from the altitude here in Colorado - something we did not know when we purchased them. 
Would maybe Freedom Rangers be a better choice for your area?
They're not like the big white zombie mutant chickens  ;D
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: Maryetta on January 15, 2011, 05:50:55 PM
I didn't know how else to name the topic but here is what I want to know/do.

I believe it to be prudent to know how to:

- Kill, clean and fillet a fish

- Kill, pluck, clean and cut up chicken (and any difference to consider for other fowl)

- Kill, skin, clean and butcher a pig

- Kill, skin, clean and cut up wild game (deer, etc)

I would most likely not want to kill and prepare animals such as goats or cows, as I would want to depend on them for milk, etc.

Videos on the internet are available but it's one thing to watch it and a completely different thing to see and do the same thing up close and personal. A video on the 'Net is almost on par with knowing you get your meat from the grocery store.

I haven't had much luck finding a "school" of sorts to learn these skills and would really like to find someone within a reasonable distance of home (Nashville area) who would be willing to teach me (and maybe a group of others).

Hi Helen, Maryetta here. I'm in West Virginia and new to this site.  May I offer the suggestion that you purchase a whole Fryer (not roaster) chicken next time you go grocery shopping...  the reason being you can use it to learn how to cut up a bird ;-)
I've been butchering since I was big enough to hold a knife, and have done everything from squirrels to buffalo!  Once I'm better known here maybe folks will ask me questions - that would be great ~ I'm 58 and this knowledge should not be lost!

Anyway, I was not lucky enough to be the commercial butchers daughter so all we had to work with was a knife and a saw.  Because of this I learned to do what few people ever really think about: I "joint butcher" almost everything.

So, thinking of the joints on a chicken (or rabbit if your store carries them, usually in the frozen section if at all) and starting at the feet:

You will have the legs, find your joint, put your finger on it and move the leg at that joint, it will move on one side and be stationary on the other, that is your joint area: cut the leg off the thigh

Then you have the thigh connected to the back, find your joint and remove the thigh from the back. You can pull the thigh away from the back to find the joint a little easier - watch the fold in the meat when you pull it back, the joint will dimple somewhat.

Now, move to the wings, again, they are joints.  To make it easier, pick the wing up directly out from the body of the chicken and cut from the bottom up through the joint.  You blade will be pointed towards the neck area as the joint is ever so slightly inset.

Okay, you've removed both legs, both thighs and both wings - gee you've got 6 pieces of good eating there and there's still more left!

What you now have is the breast, chest, and back.  Looks like 3 pieces, right?  Well, what the commercial butcher doesn't tell you - or sell you - is there is yet another moist morsel in your dish: the wish bone!!  How many geezers like me remember making the Wish Bone Wish with the turkey on Thanksgiving??? Well, if you do this, you can do it with every chicken too (or game hen after it is cooked, just carve it this way!).

Holding the remainder of the carcass breast up, use your thumb to feel where the breast starts dropping off towards the neck area. Between 1/4" and 1/2" (depending upon the mass of the critter) there will be a small 'lump'. That 'lump' is the top of your Wish Bone!  Set your knife BETWEEN the lump and the remainder of the breast and cut straight down until you hit bone, then angle your knife to follow the bone (towards where the wings were) and finish cutting down through until you reach the area where you remove the wings from, then grasp the Wish Bone, bend it back and finish removing it from the carcass.

Now, you have the breast, ribs and back left!
Approximately where the wings were removed from, insert your knife clear through, sharp side towards the tail end - you are going to cut between the breast and rib cage to remove the breast from the ribs and back.  Cut the length of the bird, just where the ribs tips end. It will still be connected in the area where the wings were - that is where you are holding it; simply bend it backwards to separate the joints and cut them loose.
Whaaa~Laaa, the breast!

Now, you have the ribs and the back. 
Where the ribs stop, make an incision towards the center of the back on each side, lay your knife down.  Grasp the ribs, the cavity toward you, with your thumb and forefinger of one hand, and your thumb and forefinger on the back with the other hand and break it as if in half, finish the separation with your knife.
Now you have the back and ribs separated! Two more wonderful pieces of chicken!

If you want to split the breast, run your knife along the top if it next to the bone, as the bone curves continue to follow the bone with your knife. Once you come to white cartilage  you can cut through the cartilage with our knife, or use a cleaver to slam through the bone at which ever point you so chose - I don't do that because I don't like the bone chips.

You should now have: 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 1 Wish Bone, 2 pieces of breast, the ribs (which can also be split if it is a big bird) and the back: 11 pieces of chicken, plus gibbets and neck if you use them.  The neck, by the way, is great fried.

If you have a family and have been buy chicken already cut up - next time count how many pieces the butcher gives you...

If you have any question, feel free to ask.  This will help you 'get your feet wet' so to speak and help you understand it can be done.

A fryer, a good sharp knife and the desire to learn is all any of us need!  Remember, Life lived to its' fullest is a wonderful adventure every day!

Bon App├ętit!!
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: jbm555 on January 18, 2011, 11:18:49 AM


FWIW I learned to fillet panfish by watching a few you tube videos.  Once I knew what to do it just took a little practice to get good at it. 


Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: ladieu on January 18, 2011, 12:20:07 PM
This is a great resource for chicken butchering

http://butcherachicken.blogspot.com/ (http://butcherachicken.blogspot.com/)
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: mike77 on January 18, 2011, 06:05:11 PM
Does anyone have suggestions of how to dispose of carcasses after butchering? I think that next time I get a deer I'll try to process it myself. I live in the city, so I'm not sure yet if I'll try to do so at home or try to debone it at camp then bring it home to finish. If I bring it home, I have a feeling that some of my neighbors might freak out but I'll deal with that. But I just realized that if I bring it home, I don't know how to dispose of the carcass. I'm sure that finding a deer carcass in the dumpster would REALLY freak out my neighbors and probably violate some health code.  :o At least at camp I could drag it into the woods for the scavengers. So anyone have suggestions of how to dispose of a carcass in an urban environment?
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: TwoBluesMama on January 18, 2011, 08:53:32 PM
Does anyone have suggestions of how to dispose of carcasses after butchering? I think that next time I get a deer I'll try to process it myself. I live in the city, so I'm not sure yet if I'll try to do so at home or try to debone it at camp then bring it home to finish. If I bring it home, I have a feeling that some of my neighbors might freak out but I'll deal with that. But I just realized that if I bring it home, I don't know how to dispose of the carcass. I'm sure that finding a deer carcass in the dumpster would REALLY freak out my neighbors and probably violate some health code.  :o At least at camp I could drag it into the woods for the scavengers. So anyone have suggestions of how to dispose of a carcass in an urban environment?

DH saws up the bones into more manageable pieces and we bag them in black trash bags and put them out with the trash.  We do the same with chicken carcasses and have never had a problem.  Only time it was really fun was when we butchered three buffalo at once. :D  The dogs love (some of) the bones btw .  I don't know if there are any laws against this but our stuff goes to the landfill and is buried.
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: ladieu on January 19, 2011, 09:09:04 AM
  We do the same with chicken carcasses and have never had a problem. 

one idea for chicken carcasses before they hit the trash bin... make your own chicken stock... it is pretty easy to do. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/chicken-stock-recipe/index.html (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/chicken-stock-recipe/index.html)

I canned about 10 jars of turkey stock after thanksgiving

-Nick
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: ladieu on January 19, 2011, 09:44:14 AM
Relevant information for this thread: http://www.saveourskills.com/processing-pork-kill-butcher-cook-pig (http://www.saveourskills.com/processing-pork-kill-butcher-cook-pig)

Credit goes to Mark Shirah

not sure if he is on the forum or not
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: Maryetta on January 19, 2011, 12:29:54 PM
Does anyone have suggestions of how to dispose of carcasses after butchering? I think that next time I get a deer I'll try to process it myself. I live in the city, so I'm not sure yet if I'll try to do so at home or try to debone it at camp then bring it home to finish. If I bring it home, I have a feeling that some of my neighbors might freak out but I'll deal with that. But I just realized that if I bring it home, I don't know how to dispose of the carcass. I'm sure that finding a deer carcass in the dumpster would REALLY freak out my neighbors and probably violate some health code.  :o At least at camp I could drag it into the woods for the scavengers. So anyone have suggestions of how to dispose of a carcass in an urban environment?

If you have 'property', you can take the remains (guts, hide, etc) out for the buzzards and other critters who will feed on it, they will generally be all gone within 48 hours of discovery.
If you have dogs though, you may want to cut up the bones into manageable size pieces and wrap and freeze them for dog food at a later date, if you have freezer space to do so.  That will help with the dog food bill too, you can even take them out of the freezer and boil them in as much water as you want and use the broth on the dog food too, the dogs seem to love a couple ladles a day over their dry dog food.
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: ladieu on January 19, 2011, 12:41:04 PM
If you have 'property', you can take the remains (guts, hide, etc) out for the buzzards and other critters who will feed on it, they will generally be all gone within 48 hours of discovery.
If you have dogs though, you may want to cut up the bones into manageable size pieces and wrap and freeze them for dog food at a later date, if you have freezer space to do so.  That will help with the dog food bill too, you can even take them out of the freezer and boil them in as much water as you want and use the broth on the dog food too, the dogs seem to love a couple ladles a day over their dry dog food.

great point.. ever heard of the "barf" diet?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raw_feeding (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raw_feeding)
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: Maryetta on January 19, 2011, 12:56:53 PM
great point.. ever heard of the "barf" diet?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raw_feeding (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raw_feeding)

And we can hope it does not return to this, if it does, I'd be much more careful what I fed them...
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/01/19/north-americans-domesticated-dogs-dinner-oldest-remains/?test=faces (http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/01/19/north-americans-domesticated-dogs-dinner-oldest-remains/?test=faces)
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: ladieu on January 19, 2011, 01:02:38 PM
And we can hope it does not return to this, if it does, I'd be much more careful what I fed them...
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/01/19/north-americans-domesticated-dogs-dinner-oldest-remains/?test=faces (http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/01/19/north-americans-domesticated-dogs-dinner-oldest-remains/?test=faces)

it's happening right now in china
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: TNDadx4 on January 19, 2011, 01:48:33 PM
I second (third?) the the book "Basic Butchering of Livestock & Game" by John J. Mettler Jr. we use it to understand the process and cuts, etc. although there is nothing better that having someone show you. We had the benefit of our pastor taking us hunting for the first time and showing us how to field dress, skin, quarter and butcher a deer.
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: jbm555 on March 31, 2011, 09:39:52 AM

My first experience dressing and butchering was a nice large female doe a few years ago.  My cousin-in-law and his brother helped me through the process.  They both knew that I had never killed a deer but had some experience with chickens and small game when I was younger.  They tried to field dress it for me but I insisted that I do the work and they supervise.  I made a mess of it and it probably took me 1/2 an hour to accomplish. 

After it was field dressed I asked where I should take it to have it butchered and how much it would cost.  The price was way higher than I thought it would be but I told them I didn't have a choice since I didn't know how to do it.  They both laughed at me.  My cousin-in-law just told me, "It isn't rocket science.  Once you get the hair off just cut off the pieces that look like meat.  Well, took it back to his brothers shop, hung it from a rafter and started skinning.  In about an hour and a half we had it down to the bones. 

The next year my daughter got one and I did everything myself.  It took a little longer and it wasn't nearly as neatly done but I did learn a lot and will make a better job of it next time.  Keep in mind that I don't get real fancy with different cuts of venison.  Backstrap, tenderloin and an large pieces get turned into steaks.  Small pieces, especially on the lower legs get ground up to make summer sausage.  BTW.  I rigged a pully from the ceiling in my garage to hang and butcher.  Some of my neighbors didn't like it but there's no law against butchering your own game in your own garage.  Butchering is a fact of life they'll just have to get over it.  Besides, I really have no other alternative. 

In my opinion the best way to learn how to do this is to either gather as much information as you can (books, pictures, video) and just try it.  Or, find someone to talk/show you the process.  It's one of those things that you'll never get perfect without some personal experience.  I find myself getting better at it every time I do it.  Oh, if you feel a little squeamish about field dressing and butchering (I nearly vomited several times the first time I did it) That may go away with experience also.  I'm better about it now.  I try to look at it technically instead of emphatically.  I try to identify the various organs from a technical perspective.  It alters my focus and makes me think about what I'm doing and how I can do it better. 

Tip:  I buy those thin blue rubber gloves from the hardware store (nitrile ?) and keep several of them in my hunting pack stuffed in an old pill bottle.  Makes clean up easy in the field.  I also use them when I'm butchering.  I get them in boxes of 100 at the hardware store. 
 
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: peytonriver on April 29, 2011, 05:35:49 PM
Here is a link on the way that I process my chickens, no plucking but no skin.
http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/grim79.html
The best way to gain any skill is to do over and over again. I never butched a chicken until two years ago now after about 150 of them I feel I ok at the skill but not great. If possible raise some meat birds and take them from day olds to your plate. start small and go from there. Good luck.
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: hoping4better on May 30, 2011, 03:57:19 PM
@Helen, I noticed you're in Middle Tennessee. Not sure what part, but so am I. I've got chickens and killed one for the first time ever (mean rooster) a couple months back using many, many youtube videos as my guide. It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought, but pigs and such would probably be a whole other ball game.

If you do find someone to teach you I'd love to tag along (if possible, you can PM me if you like). Also, if a bunch of my chicks turn into cockerels, they'll need to be killed for the freezer, but that won't be for a couple months.

Lastly, I would strongly suggest against posting on craigslist. I've read of too many horror stories of PETA/ALF type people either trolling or flagging posts. Or at worst I read of a guy who sold rabbits for meat. They came to "buy" some meat, backed out, and stole his whole outfit that night (several dozen hutches in a tent outback). They can be some wicked wicked people!
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: Bonnieblue2A on June 04, 2011, 02:02:01 PM
Some of the BOW (Becoming an Outdoor Woman) programs offer courses in wild game butchering/meat preparation. A second the recommendation to check through your state and county extension offices as well. Another idea would might be to get a part time entry job at a small local butcher shop and learn from the pros!
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: HelenWheels on July 13, 2011, 01:38:48 PM
Hello all -

Sorry for the long absence... lots going on lately.

I did actually go to a small-game prep course a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, I didn't get to actually kill or clean my bird like the rest of the class due to weather and location (rainy and muddy, the processing area was on different levels, separated by a small hill, which I was not physically able to navigate).

I believe the instructor (who was very good) will be doing more classes. Let me see if I can find out when.

The location was at his farm about 20 minutes SE of Henry Horton State Park.

HW
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: Sweethearts Mom on July 13, 2011, 03:57:06 PM
http://coldantlerfarm.blogspot.com/

If you will leaf back through this girls blog, she raised and helped slaughter her own pig; she has a travelling butcher in her area that for a reasonable price will come and butcher onsite; they were equiped with a large hoist on a truck and everything. I sure wish they had something like this in the N TX area but I haven't been able to find anything.
I had watched granny do chickens so when I went to kill my own I made all the mistakes that you can because I had not read up as an adult and was going off of memory. It was not pretty.

When it came time to rabbits, first I watched Backyard food production. That made me know I could do it. Then I talked a long time to my rabbit guy. He was nice enough to come over and help me through the process at my home. I am still not comfortable doing it and will find a butcher in my area that I can hire...just because I cry when i kill rabbits (don't judge me) but it is nice to know that I could butcher any animal if I had to. It is simply not worth what little free time I have right now.

 ;D
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: Bonnieblue2A on August 22, 2011, 12:31:14 PM
Hello all -

Sorry for the long absence... lots going on lately.

I did actually go to a small-game prep course a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, I didn't get to actually kill or clean my bird like the rest of the class due to weather and location (rainy and muddy, the processing area was on different levels, separated by a small hill, which I was not physically able to navigate).

I believe the instructor (who was very good) will be doing more classes. Let me see if I can find out when.

The location was at his farm about 20 minutes SE of Henry Horton State Park.

HW

What area/state?
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: TexDaddy on August 22, 2011, 03:26:09 PM
What area/state?
Henry Horton State Park, middle Tennessee

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Horton_State_Park
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: ThePlainsman on August 22, 2011, 03:27:13 PM
While it would be a good skill to learn, it might be a good idea to get to know a butcher in your area and in the event of a break down, he might be willing to do it in exchange for some meat. We have a butcher shop in town and I can drop a deer and get it butchered cheap. I never asked him if i could watch, but I should. I have seen my dad gut a deer when I was a kid, but I have always taken it to the butcher. I think in a pinch I could manage it, but it wouldn't be perfect.
Title: Re: Animal Butchering
Post by: Cedar on August 22, 2011, 03:40:45 PM
Does anyone have suggestions of how to dispose of carcasses after butchering?

When I lived in the bush I drove the carcass way out where wild animals (bear, coyote, etc) would finish it off in 3 days or less. But I did not dump them within 30 miles of anyone's home/cabin. In the states, I try to butcher the day before garbage day. Rabbits and poultry are easy, just line a 5 gallon bucket with a heavy duty trash bag and when it is full, tie it and put into the garbage and repeat as required.

When I had land, I would bury all the rabbit and chicken parts. Also sheep were buried since it is illegal to put it into a renderer or dump.

For the larger livestock, I don't cut through bone when I am butchering them out. I just do steaks and roasts (and hamburger/sausage/jerky meat). When I am all done, I split the legs at the joints, cut the pelvis at the H, and cut through the spine in 2-3 places as needed. I also fill garbage the garbage can with those. This fall, I will be butchering out 3-5 animals at a time and my small garbage can (I only generally toss 5# of garbage a week) won't hold all that, so I have a couple dumpsters in mind. Down here I feel it is too dangerous as an attractant for bears and coyotes for me to just dump the carcasses somewhere.

You may also want to contact a local renderer about the remaining carcass.
http://nationalrenderers.org/assets/4d9621f9dabe9d18b500004e/nra2011directory.pdf

Cedar