How to fit 18 Chickens on one Shelf of a Side-by-Side Freezer

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Recently, I wrote an article on food storage.  I mentioned in that article that we use our freezer as part of our food storage plan. We have a large chest freezer and the side-by-side freezer that is part of the refrigerator/freezer combination.  This past year to maximize our freezer space we decided to not just to freeze our home raised chickens whole.  By cutting up some of them we could really increase our storage space.

Not only did we realize much more freeze space but we also now have additional options compared to just roasted chicken. I love going to the freezer and pulling out a package of chicken breasts or of hind quarters.  This really increased my meal planning options!

Even if you do not raise your own chickens, buying a whole chicken and cutting it up yourself is usually a much more cost effective option than buying the pieces.  Looking for pastured or free range chickens in your area? Check Local Harvest. If you are in Wyoming, be sure to check my local resources page.

Not sure how to cut up a chicken? You Tube has some great videos, like this one.

Did you notice at the beginning of the video that the chef removed the fatty pieces? And later when some of the fat came off of the breast? We save the removed fat to render down for schmaltz.

We also keep the carcass and the wing tips to use for broth. This time we left the hindquarters complete but next time we’ll break those down to package the thighs and the drum sticks separately.

For our family of 5 we make the following package sizes; 6 breasts, 6 hindquarters, 18 wings. So from 18 chickens we end up with 3 meals for breasts, 3 meals of quarters (this was too much for one meal, which is why we will do separate the quarters next time), 2 meals of wings plus 18 carcasses to make bone broth (the basis for many, many meals).  Everything but the carcasses fit on the one shelf in our side-by-side freezer. The carcasses went in the bottom bin of the freezer and the few that didn’t fit there were put in the chest freezer.

The first time that I cut up a chicken, I struggled a bit and it took several minutes.  After a little practice it got easier.  But in all honesty, my husband is still much better at it than I am.

Next chicken season, we plan to double this amount. It is not yet March and my shelf is just about empty. All that is left is 4 small packages with 2 of those being wings. At least I have carcasses left so we can still make broth!

Have you cut up a chicken?

 Be sure to pop over to Homestead Host for my weekly guest post there. I’m sharing a week of dinners with links.

Millie Copper
Millie Copper is a Wyoming wife and mama. After reading Nourishing Traditions in early 2009, her family began transforming their diet to whole, unprocessed, nutrient dense foods—a little at a time while stretching their food dollars. Millie is passionate to share how, with a little creativity, anyone can transition to a real foods diet without overwhelming their food budget. Millie began blogging in late 2009 and has amassed a collection of frugal recipes and methods. Her specialties include cooking with wild game and creating “Stretchy Beans”. Discovering a love of writing, she has penned four books focusing on healthy eating on a budget and is trying her hand at fiction writing. Learn more at


  1. Erin Darling

    I really need to practice this skill. We buy maybe two whole chickens per month from our farm, but about 12 packages of boneless breasts. I’m sure it would save money to break the carcasses down ourselves, but they come frozen so it would mean a lot of additional time. Hm. Something to think about for sure. 🙂

    1. Post

      Yeah, I’m not sure how it would work with frozen chickens. Of course, you could always thaw one and cut it and then you’d have cut up chicken to use in different ways as opposed to just roasted chicken. I love a chicken cacciatore type dish that uses pieces. mmmm. Just thinking of it makes me hungry!

  2. Patty

    I use to cut up whole chickens all the time a long time ago. I picked up some good tips from the video, tho. Thanks!

    1. Post

      Hi Patty,
      You’re welcome! There are some great You Tube videos. The same people put out one on how to cut up a chicken in 60 seconds. I’d need alot more practice before I could do that.

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