We've gotten our meat chickens from Tractor Supply in the past, but they only get them (here) in the spring.....so...... Ordered some Cornish X from McMurry Hatchery back in August to for freezer chicken this winter. Got the chicks at the Post Office early morning of 4 September, they were hatched probably the 1st or 2nd of Sept. Ordered 25,(min order) they sent 26, plus threw in one "exotic chick" ( which seems at this point to be a Barred Rock....don't know if hen or rooster yet ). So, raised them in a 100gal Rubbermaid cattle watering tub the first week, under heat lamp, then split into two tubs as they grew. By the end of the 3rd week, moved them to a pen I have just for raising young chicks, where they have been since. Sent 6 of them over to a buddy's house about week/half ago for his freezer.....my guess is they were in the 3lb range then. Today, we processed 8 of the 20 left at 7 1/2 weeks of age. Average weight dressed out was about 4 1/2lbs. I use a homemade killing cone, made out of some scrap aluminum coil stock. Works very good. Put the chicken in it, head sticks out the bottom, cut throat and bleed out. Then for scalding, I use a propane fired turkey cooker burner with a big stainless pot. Water temp needs to be in the 150 range, give or take 5 degrees. Any cooler, and the feathers will not loosen, much more, and you cook the skin and it falls apart while you're trying to pluck. (Temperature gauge is one I bought to use in a solar water heater I have yet to get around to building. Bent a pc of sheet metal to hold it on the side of the pot. SO many projects, so little time.... ) Pluck, remove legs right in the joint: Flip over on it's back, use a REALLY sharp knife ( I use a disposable scalpel, compliments of medical buddy ), make a transverse cut from over near one leg to the other, pulling up on the skin and being VERY careful not to cut too deep.....the intestines are just below the skin and real easy to cut. I cut off the head/neck back into the body slightly, and loosen the esophagus that lays right along the neck. Then reach back in the above cut, and pull an the 'inards' out including the esophagus. Remove the liver at this point if you're a fan of them (I'm not) and discard the rest. I hose out with cold water, and finish up plucking anything that didn't hose off, leaving this: Wife takes them inside at that point, goes over my pluck job to get anything I missed, puts them in ice water for final cooling. She then puts them in a gallon sealer bag, weighs it, and seals/marks bag and puts in the freezer. Takes us bit over 4 hours to do 8. Around 35lbs of chicken in the freezer now, and have another dozen to do in the next week or so. before they get too big.