If you've been farming for any length of time and are not an avowed vegetarian or vegetable-farming vegan, you've probably bumped up against the issue of whether you will process your own animals on the farm. If you're selling the meat, you might not have a choice; laws will regulate where the animal must be slaughtered and processed (usually a USDA-inspected facility). If you're raising meat for yourself, homesteading, or just doing things on a small scale, on-farm processing is definitely an option. And, in some places, on-farm slaughter and processing is legal for certain animals, like poultry, even if the meat will be for sale to the general public. Please remember to check your local and state laws and make a choice that matches your needs and plans!
But let's just say you can slaughter and process on-farm, and you've decided to take the plunge and do it yourself. Kudos to you! Taking charge of the humane slaughter and processing of your own farm animals is something to be proud of. It will definitely connect the whole cycle for you: from birth to death to the freezer. When we slaughtered our first batch of meat birds last year, it gave us a whole new appreciation for eating meat. There is definitely much less left on the bones these days when we have chicken. In fact, each and every part of the chicken gets used in some way.
What's key: knowing how to slaughter humanely, and how to process efficiently and safely. Once you've got these skills developed, you will approach slaughter and processing with confidence and calm. If you can, go help at another farm to gain hands-on skills without worrying about having your animals suffer. Or recruit an experienced farmer to come help you the first time (promise him or her some meat to take home!).
So take that step...go ahead. You'll save yourself some money, but more importantly you'll gain confidence and a sense of self-reliance.