Here in a nut-shell is how we process them. Hubby takes a sharp axe and with a swift blow cuts the head off, immediately rendering the chicken dead. The nerves of the body still cause it to move some for a couple minutes, but no pain is felt as the brain is seperate from the body. This procedure also allows the carcass to bleed out.
We immediately remove the feathers, skin and inerds, and remove the feet and legs to the first joint, then plunge the bird into a 5 gal. bucket filled with cold, cold water. The bucket will hold about 3 good sized birds, and we change the water frequently. After the chickens are butchered we cut them up into pieces; legs, thighs, breast, backs necks and wings, and put on the stove in large pots to cook until the meat starts to fall off the bone.
While it is still hot, we pick the meat off the bones, pack the jars, and pour broth over them.
Processing takes 1 hr and 15 mins for quarts, and 1 hr for pints, even though it has already been thoroughly cooked.
This makes for a wonderful meal that can be gotten ready in short order. It can be used for chicken and noodles, chicken and biscuits, chicken noodle soup, baked chicken cassarole, chicken sandwiches, and the list goes on and on....
We processed 14 quarts from 12 chickens, one did not seal and went to the fridge, and one went in the freezer. But doesn't this look absolutely yummy? We had chicken and noodles for the first meal with a side dish of fresh green beans from the garden. Another side dish of fried apples compliments it well.