(This post was split from Cookware at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7708... -- The Chowhound Team)
Cleavers are called meat cleavers because that is what they are designed for, they are not meant for chopping through bones. Instead of wrecking some knives ask the butcher to cut up the chickens for you. Are you sure you want to be feeding chicken bones to your dogs?
I had a customer a couple of months ago who was intent on making her own cat food. She was adamant about having the bone in the food for calcium. I suggested the butcher cutting up the chickens for her. Failing that buying some inxspensive cleavers because she will wreck them.