Home Butcher Guide

Butchering At Home

The Home Butcher!

Welcome! We are so glad you are here to learn about butchering at home. While majority of the population chooses to purchase or bring their animals to the local butcher, you have chosen to be a home butcher. The feeling you get from pursuing, raising, butchering and preserving your own food is unmistakably irreplaceable. Finding ways to become more self sufficient will be useful for the rest of your life. You have made a great choice. 


Butchering meat at home can begin with a small arsenal of equipment. Especially if you start with chickens. Chickens are one of the easiest meat animals to butcher because they require very little equipment, space and money to purchase and raise. Once you have mastered chickens, you’ll be ready to move on to larger animals like pigs and beef. They require a little more equipment, time, and space to raise and butcher. 


Regardless how you decide to start, the fact that you are interested in butchering your own meat at home is already a step in the right direction! We have been butchering at home our entire lives and might know a few tricks in the trade. We can even help you build up a butchering arsenal of your own. Stick around for a while and you’ll see that we are real people, on a farm, in the Midwest, with real experience. 

raise butcher chickens

How Do you Start Butchering Meat at Home?

Beginning the process of butchering meat at home is no simple decision. No matter if it’s chickens or beef, it will require time, space, equipment and people to butcher at home.


Space. A great way to start is to decide what amount of space you have to raise meat animals. Chickens require the least amount and beef require the greatest amount of space. 


Budget. Decide how much money you want to spend on butchering. Butchering chickens will require small, simple equipment and a knife or two. Beef will require, heavy equipment, bone saws, a variety of knives, butcher paper and a large freezer to name a few things. 


Time. You can butcher 50 chickens in two hours on a Saturday morning but Butchering a pig takes two days. And beef, well that takes even longer when you consider the amount of time to slaughter, hang, cut and package. It’s all completely achievable and an experience you’ll never regret.  

Safety When Butchering

Safety when slaughtering animals at home is a priority. Animals that are slaughtered properly will keep the butcher safe and it will be good for the meat and the animal. This is especially important when butchering large animals such as pigs and beef. If a beef cow is killed properly, it will drop quickly and within 60 seconds the butcher is able to slit the neck. Imagine the danger if the shot didn’t instantly kill the animal. Not only would it struggle, but it could be dangerous to those involved. Learning where and how to slaughter each different animal is good practice. 


Safety using equipment is a priority. When handling knives, saws, grinders, tractors and other equipment, safety is a priority. Every year someone cuts themselves when cutting up beef. So to have band aids with in reach is a good idea. 


Prepare the area. Making sure the area is secure of children or other animals when slaughtering is a good safety practice. Anytime heavy equipment such as tractors or skid loaders are used be sure to clear the area of any harm. Preparing for butcher day ahead of time will result in smoother and safer results. 


Can I Butcher at Home?

Butchering at home can be learned and honed as you go. It’s one of those things where you just have to jump in and do it. Build confidence in the butchering by starting small. Butcher a chicken, butcher a goat or sheep then move on to the ultimate butchering experience of butchering a cow.


If your just starting out with a few chickens, butchering at home is easily achievable. Mistakes are very forgiving when butchering chickens at home. Mistakes are less forgivable when butchering larger animals. Regardless, butchering at home is achievable!

butcher equipment

How Long Does it Take to butcher at home?

For cutting and preserving beef at home, the process will take one man up to two days. If family or friends have gathered to help, cutting and preserving four quarters of meat will take one day. Cutting beef often occurs in a cooled area on sturdy tables, requires large equipment and a good pair of boots. The standing time is hours on concrete floors. Being prepared for this is worth it.


Beef cows and pigs require large equipment to butcher. I suppose it can possibly be done without, but it would make the process a lot longer. Tractors or skid loaders are handy to hang beef for skinning and quartering. If you don’t own one, find a neighbor who does. It would not be worth it to rent one. Pigs could be done without, but butchering beef without heavy equipment means slaughtering, skinning and quartering all in the same spot. Beef weight anywhere from 800 pounds to more than 1000 pounds at the time of butchering. Count on using some equipment to assist you. 


Cutting and preserving other small animals such as chickens, can take up to four hours to kill, cut and preserve. This doesn’t include set up and cleanup. Chickens are the fastest and easiest meat animal to butcher and do not require any large equipment to do it. Pigs take two days to kill, cut and preserve and sheep and goats are similar to pigs. Larger animals require large equipment and more time to butcher at home. 

Can Anyone Butcher at Home?

Butchering at home requires a person to emotionally detach from the animal they are butchering. If you have never killed an animal, be prepared for the emotion of killing it. It is never easy to kill an animal, until it becomes a regular occurrence. Even then, it can be difficult for the moment.


Butchering at home requires a certain amount of equipment. Depending on the size of an animal, equipment is required to do the job. Even if it’s just a few different knives and preserving supplies. There are different ways to preserve different types of meat so certain equipment and supplies are necessary. Smaller animals require less than larger animals. 


Butchering at home requires help. Many hands make light work. Preparing, slaughtering, cutting, preserving and cleanup is a long process, even if it’s just chicken. Having a few extra friends or family members to help you through the process makes is much more likely that you’ll butcher again and again. 


Butchering requires space. Having room to raise, kill and process your animal is required to butcher animals at home. Oftentimes neighbors and families will help each other out with this. Some may raise the animals and some might have a great place to butcher/cut up the animal. 

Some Animals Require Large Equipment

Farm Butcher

Learn How To Butcher Chickens, Pigs and Beef

Begin Butchering Chickens

Butcher Chickens

Butchering Chickens at home is a great place to begin your butchering journey. Find the best methods here. 

butcher pigs at home

Butchering Pigs is a two day job. Find the best ways to make butchering pigs at home a smooth experience.

Butcher Beef

Learning to butcher beef on your own is challenging. Learn the best methods for butchering beef at home.