Chicken Processing Knives

I got an email from a reader who corresponds with me fairly regularly.  In the email he was sharing what is going on as he starts.  He has a 3 piglets in Premier fence and 101 chicks.  He asked a series of questions including this one:

What tools do you recommend for the dirty work, knives, shears, etc?

We use victorinox knives.  A boning knife for killing, evisceration and foot removal and a 6″ skinner for cut-ups.  As much as I like that victorinox skinner I have an old Dexter knife that is better.  I think Salatin uses a smaller poultry knife for evisceration but we just use the boning knife throughout.  We originally got this from Grady’s post on knives.

You also need a good cleaver.  I said a good cleaver, not a cheap cleaver.  I had a neighbor who gave me a collection of knives and saws.  He was in his ’80’s and his parents had been butchers.  I’ve got some pretty neat stuff.  My cleaver is an antique…and it’s awesome.  If you can’t find an old one, buy a high-carbon steel one.  Don’t skimp here.  You’ll need this when you butcher your pig and quality matters when you’re splitting your hog.

I’m still looking for a good set of game shears.  A friend suggested Cutco but I haven’t really looked yet.  I just use my cleaver.  The friend was helping me clean a rabbit at the time and swears by game shears.