This is an older thread but still used, and I just wanted to note:
If you're processing, SHARPEN YOUR KNIVES.
I cannot emphasise how much easier it is with the right, freshly-sharpened knives. Really, really, never-been-used sharp. Use those little KlevaSharpen thingies if you must (we got given one for Xmas a few years back and it does a solid job, although I'm aware it's not how one properly sharpens a knife). Or a Wiltshire Staysharp. Just don't try to do this with blunt knives. (Ask me how I know).
As a minimum, you need one small knife to help gut and remove the crop, and one large one for cutting the legs and neck - poultry shears are best for this IF you can get ones that work.
I have poultry shears but most of them won't work on birds the age we tend to process - they've been designed for the babies in the supermarket, and just can't cope with mature bones and tendons. My favourite shears are from a KitchenAid set I got from Costco, rather then the more expensive, heavier, all-steel type I've got from kitchen shops.
I have a proper butchering set now, and find I use the curved filleting knife for the fiddly small stuff (cutting the skin to get to the crop and guts), and the heavy machete-type knife and/or the kitchen shears for taking off the legs and neck.
I have arthritis in my hands, so tend to lose fine motor control after too long - it starts aching and just losing grip. The correct knives reduce effort considerably and means I can process 13 birds in two hours without difficulty.
Absolutely agree. Blunt knives are more dangerous, period.
Personally I don't like pull-through sharpeners as they don't give as clean a finish as a proper sharpener. The cleaner the edge, the longer it holds sharpness. With pull-through sharpeners you can never get perfectly clean edge, and you run the risk of messing up your bevel and creating micro chips along the edge.
I have a fake version of an 'Edge Pro Apex' sharpener (which are known as 'Edge Faux', lol). With good quality stones you can get a fantastic finish, I'm too lazy to strop and get a mirror finish though, lol. Oh how I want for a Wicked Edge sharpener, but there's no way I can ever justify that cost, lol.
I use a very small 6cm curved blade knife, and a 14cm filleting knife for most of the processing work with my chickens. A cleaver or shears for the neck.