Chicken Processing, Part One

Warning: This post includes words about the evisceration of birds. Its kinda gross, and maybe not your thing. Intentionally not posting any pictures.

So, this past Saturday, I processed some chickens. 

What does that mean, you ask? It means that I got very well acquainted with the parts of the chicken you do not get at the grocery store. 

I feel I should back up and explain what got me to the point at which I could reach inside the cavity of a chicken, gloveless, and pull out its innards. 

Let’s start from the beginning.

My entire life, I have been terrified of taxidermy. Dead things pretending to be alive. I can’t look at it, I can’t walk by it, I can’t think about it too long.  This has resulted in a semi-love/hate relationship with meat, because, I mean, it’s dead animal in smaller parts. 

Two years ago, I could barely handle touching raw chicken breasts long enough to toss them in the oven to bake, let alone thinking about it even more to realize that someone else had removed it from, you know, a whole chicken. Therefore, I ate rice and beans quite often.

Then, I moved to China, and the restaurant supply shop next door to my apartment took care of their chickens on a nightly basis, and I heard it all. Squawk, chop. They would hang upside down in the window, and customer would pick up their naked but still quite whole chicken (head and feet included). I got used to it. 

Next, I discovered The Brain Scoop on YouTube. Its about an intern in a natural history museum, and all the things she dissects. Its fascinating, incredibly educational, and features animal guts on a regular basis. Emily, the host of this show, has an admirable respect for these animals and all that she learns from them (don’t worry they are humanely acquired). 

I was getting very used to the fact that animals come whole. Imagine that.

Finally, I moved to Boston to do this Food Justice thing, and I read a lot of books about factory farming and giant toxic pools of poop, and other gross things that I will let you educate yourself about. I started buying chickens from small farms. And it hit me, these animals have to be alive for a while before I can eat them. But first they have to go from alive to dead. I decided that if couldn’t handle that process, then I should not be eating them.

So I went to a processing. 

Next post: me elbow deep in a bird, bursting bile sacks, and lots of gizzards.

Thanks for reading, 



One thought on “Chicken Processing, Part One

  1. 1. I love the Brain Scoop.
    2. This is awesome. I think it’s important to have a close relationship with your food.
    3. You rule. Keep up the beautiful work.

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