Last Sunday the chickens were tried and convicted of being food.
I opted for the hatchet method as it seemed the most humane and fool proof for the inexperienced. It took much less power than I expected to sever the head and the chickens were more cooperative than I had thought they would be. All in all it was a quick an clean process. I still had an adrenaline rush that lasted several hours.
The plucking was tedious. Fortunately there were two other people there who were interested in keeping birds and wanted to get some experience. I scalded the birds in 150f degree water to loosen the feathers but I think the water had cooled off a bit by the time my bird was dunked. It was under 20f that day. Since I ended up skinning the birds and keeping the skin for stock I will probably be less picky about how clean of feathers the birds will be in the future.
For the actual butchering I found this web site to be extremely helpful.
The first bird took a long time. Largely because we were fascinated with the anatomy aspect. The second bird was done in a few minutes. It had been at least 15 years since I prepared any kind of meat that still looked remotely like an animal. I was strangely comfortable with the process and it was not nearly as gross to me as plucking the feathers.
The next morning I ate my first flesh in 13-14 years. The livers were saved and fried with some eggs for breakfast. It was so flavorful that I had to eat small bites to keep from it being overpowering.
Now there are 3 frozen bird carcasses in my freezer ready for the crock pot. Some time in the next 2-3 weeks I'm going to have a chicken pot pie dinner/party and invite my friends over to celebrate this mile stone in my life.