La Feria News

Chicken Processing

Grace Heritage Ranch

As with every week here at GHR, there’s always something new and exciting going on – a project that requires a learning curve. This past week, we decided it was time that we learn the process of processing chickens, from step one all the way to the end (of the chicken, anyway).

When a new requirement comes up, research is always the first step. Between learning turkey processing at a friends house last Thanksgiving and a refresher course with how-to YouTube videos, we were able to refresh our memory on the process and take a look at the tips and tricks for keeping it as humane and painless for the bird as possible.

Knowledge is only the first step however, as experience is sure to follow. We had six roosters that needed processing, and only one day to do it. With the chickens gathered and caged, it was time to get to work. A sharp knife is crucial. This was harped on continuously during the videos we watched, and so we ensured our blades were sharpened beforehand. Another note we encounted was to ensure that the throat is not cut during processing, only the arteries. This prevents the bird from suffocating during the process, and it instead falls asleep shortly after due to loss of blood.


Once the chicken is killed, it must be plucked, cleaned, and readied for freezing. With boiling water kept at roughly 150 degrees, we learned that dipping the carcass in for 30 seconds beforehand will greatly reduce the amount of resistance offered by the feathers, making them easy to pluck out with very little effort.

Finally, we came to the last step: cleaning out the inside of the chicken. With Matthew as our resident anatomical expert, he guided us through the process and touted one key message: don’t burst the gall bladder!

Whenever there’s a new experience to be had, sometimes the best method is simply to gather all the information you can and just jump in and do it.

Many times experience seems to teach us best.

To learn even more and get hands-on experience, join us at Grace Heritage Ranch for our Saturday morning tours. We are located just 30 minutes northeast of Harlingen, TX near Santa Monica. Please visit us at or For a recorded message, please call 1-855-447-8687. We offer both public and private tours.

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