We butchered our broilers and ducks for the year. In a larger household, a whole bird is probably a perfectly reasonable amount of food. But, for us? It’s too much food. Half a bird is a lot more reasonable.
In looking at techniques for grilling and smoking poultry, we came across spatchcocking — basically splitting the whole bird along the spine so it lays flat. It looked like a much quicker way to butcher — and, if we didn’t want to have a whole bird in the end anyway it isn’t like the approach would be counterproductive.
So we’ve been butchering by detaching the crop, airway, and throat. Placing the bird so the backbone is up and the neck facing you, cut along the spine. It’s a little tricky to cut at the hip joint — you’ve got to find the right spot to snip, but the oyster is always included with the leg using this method — and be careful not to pierce intestines. You can leave the spine with one half or cut down the other side of the spine. Cut around the vent, then clear out all of the innards — one entire mass is removed. Either finish spatchcocking to store a whole bird or use shears to cut along the breastbone and have two halves. I’ve found this approach to be a lot quicker than the normal technique — and, since the carcass is open, removing the innards is very easy.