Killing, plucking and cooking
Part 1 - Execution, slaughter, butchery etc.
Hold the bird by the ankles with the head hanging down onto the ground. Take a heavy stick, such as a broom handle or piece of pipe, and place it over the birds neck. Place one foot on each end of the stick, straddling the bird. Quickly pull up on the bird to break the neck. If you pulled hard enough, the head pops right off the neck. If the head should come off (I find it reassuring that the bird is certainly dead, not just paralysed) there will be some struggling that causes the wings to flap, but that stops shortly as the nerves and reflexes finish doing their bit. Try and avoid the bloody stump where the head was. Hang the bird upside down to drain any remaining blood.
Do not leave too long before gutting and cooking (or refrigerating)
Part 2 - Plucking
Heat sufficient water to cover the bird in a suitable bucket. I use a large stainless steel pan to heat water on our gas cooker and then pour it over the chicken into a plastic bucket.
Do not make the water too hot or leave the carcase submerged for too long.
62-65 degrees Celsius is recommended with the bird dipped for 3 - 5 seconds at a time.
Repeat the dunking process until feather from the tail or wing edge (one of the large feathers) comes out easily will little resistance then go about pulling out the feathers.
Put feathers (and guts) into another bucket for addition to the compost
Part 3 - Gutting
I followed the instructions found here - http://www.cultivatinghome.com/2008/10/how-to-butcher-chicken-easy-way.html and found them easy and suitable so, rather then replicate, follow the jump to complete the gutting phase.
Part 4 - Cooking
We like to roast the whole bird as it means you don't have to deal with cutting it up while still raw. Place the bird in a roasting dish along with your preferred vegetables or what you have available. Makes sense to cook as much as you can while the oven is going right.
Add herbs and spices (sage, thyme, rosemary, pepper, salt). I also like to roast garlic and onion. Add a little water to stop things sticking and help it cook.
Stuff a few chunks of potato or bread and some crushed herbs up inside the cavity for extra taste (and to fit more on the tray).
Cover with tinfoil and bake in preheated oven at 150 degrees C for an hour and a half. For a nice finish uncover and cook for a further 20 - minutes at 180 degrees C. You should end up with something resembling the above.
Making the most of it
To get a bit more out of the finished off bones you can boil the carcase in water before lifting out the bones and adding vegetables for a tasty soup.