As with the proverbial cat, I’m sure there is more than one way to clean a chicken. This is just one way, you can tweak it however you feel the need to for your situation.
Kill it first
Starting with a live chicken that you have a hold of, grab its neck with your strong hand down, so that your thumb is closer to its wings and your pinky is closer to its head. Now spin your hand in a tight circle fast so that the chicken’s body spins in a larger circle. This will kill the chicken for sure.
After you have wrung the chicken’s neck it will still probably move a little. That’s ok, just hold it down with its wings in tight with your weak hand, and lay its neck on a piece of wood that you can drive a sharp edge (like a machete) into. Chop off the head. Then hold it up by the feet letting the blood drip out until it has stopped. Then lay the chicken down again and chop off its feet just below the feathers.
At this point, most people would dunk it hot water. But wet chickens smell worse than wet dogs and you really don’t need to do this to get the feathers out, though it will speed up the process. Just hold the chicken down with your weak hand, and close to your weak hand, so as not to allow the skin to stretch and tear, grab some feathers and pull. Repeat until the chicken is bare. You shouldn’t have much trouble except with the tips of the wings, where you might want to use the hot water.
Make a cut around the neck, going low towards the collar bones, but trying not to go too deep so that you don’t hit the gizzard. Reach in and remove the neck innards and the gizzard (which can be eaten if desired, just make sure to separate from the intestines). Then flip it over and cut around the anus while keeping in mind that you do not want to puncture the intestines. However, if you do puncture them, there is no reason to throw out the chicken, just wash it well afterwards). Once you have a complete circle around the anus, remove it, with the intestines attached, then pull out the rest of the guts. If the chicken is a smaller breed you may need to enlarge the hole, but get the intestines out first.
Wash it off, and wash it out. Just water and vinegar should do the trick. This is more important if you are going to freeze it or marinate it instead of cooking it right away, but might as well play it safe, it will only take a second.
Now it’s ready to cook and eat. If you have not cleaned an animal before and are considering raising other animals like rabbits or pigs for meat, chickens are a great animal to train on. They aren’t as large as a pig or as cute as a rabbit, but they taste just as good. Who doesn’t love chicken?
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