Edited by LeafBlade12345 - 12/14/15 at 10:05pm
Edited by LeafBlade12345 - 12/14/15 at 10:05pm
Oh I am sure this will not be popular. Sorry for that.
I like the cone method simply because if the heart stops beating before the chicken bleeds out you get those dark purple veins in the meat when you cook it.
Being upside down puts chickens in a trance like state. I think it is all the blood moving to the head.
Cornishx have been bred for the soul purpose of growing quickly to be a dinner chicken. To raise them past 10 weeks is inhumane. They are in pain their bones break and all of their organs start to fail. It is a painful way to go. A life does not have to be long to be enjoyed or even worthwhile. With all animals it is the care feeding shelter and cleaning that matter.
Please do not mistake the fact that raising a Chicken as a meat source for you family is not an act of love, because it is! no one I have ever met would do harm to the food they feed their family so I believe most chickens raised for food in a back yard chicken setting have a better life than the grocery store chicken.
It is okay to be human when you are processing the food you raise for your family.
It can be confusing to come to a forum for help and find that the very help you are looking for is clouded with the very emotions you were trying to resolve in your own mind.
Some people who have been disconnected from their food source find it comforting to
Pray for the bird and be thankful for the meat
talk to the bird and even cry
some turn off the emotion all together.
Make no mistake it is the Human in this scenario that has been "Programmed" or “Manipulated” not the Chicken.
I am in no way trying to be offensive.
I still remember the first Chicken I dispatched. Mikey, I saved some of his feathers and cried most of the time I cleaned him. When I laid him gently in the fridge I actually told him "There you go little man." He was a pet that attacked my grand daughter! Oh the tears and heart ache from my other children .... We ended up having a nice funeral for him. They are not allowed near the meaties!
I hope this has been encouraging and/or supportive to some one.
IMO no method is better than another, It is entirely technique and tools. And of course proper and quick transporting/handling of the birds to their final destination.
Do you make the effort to learn to sharpen your knife so it can cut through a frozen beef roast in a slice or two with little pressure?
Do you buy surgical scalpels and learn to do precise anatomical cutting?
Do you sharpen your hatchet and hone your chopping skill on logs until you never miss?
Do you (Not sure how you would practice it) place and commit to fully disconnecting the neck of a bird past making it a short term quadriplegic?
All methods have their moments of suffering caused by learning but I think any method carefully studied and practiced is more humane than 98% of anything else going on in the world.
Lastly is to never take the response of the bird heavy if you know you did the job right... I have had certain runs of birds that if on video while dying would make me look like a sadist while others would make me look like a guru ushering them into the light.
Not sure if we have this on the thread yet? just slow down and dont snip your finger like she did
Hello everyone - popping back in here to report on how it all went last weekend (I already posted some of this over on the Breeding for Production thread). I did the first 5 on last Saturday (five New Hampshire cockerels that didn't have names and were destined for the freezer since they were a day old), and then on Sunday 4 Naked Necks (cockerels with names that didn't make the cut) and one abnormal NH pullet (whom I should have culled earlier). Logistically, as expected there was a learning curve. Emotionally, the most difficult thing was the actual dispatch, the rest was just, well, processing. The hardest thing was that I was not expert at it yet, and I really wished I was - on Saturday, my very sharp knife still wasn't quite sharp enough. On Sunday, I had a scalpel, but they were bigger birds and I had had a few big boys flip themselves out of the cone (both before and after throat cutting) - one twice, and so I was trying to hold the head and cut and then get one hand back up to hold the feet. I finally figured out toward the end that I needed to gently restrain their legs, and then I could get a much better angle and cut more calmly and cleanly. I wanted them to have a quick death - that didn't always happen like I wanted, but at least I'm confident it will next time.
I won't go through a blow-by-blow. I did this alone, and used a killing cone. Things I learned:
- Mentally prepare yourself by reminding yourself that this HAS to happen. (Whether it's squabbling cockerels, or meaties that are having heart attacks/leg issues, or a bird that is sick and needs to go for the good of the flock or to ease its suffering.) It helps in getting through the tough parts, before, during, and after, to remind yourself of this.
- Wear a long sleeved red or black shirt, and same for pants. If you're having a hard time emotionally, it's easier if you can't see blood stains on your clothes while you're working.
- If it's a cold day, start the scalder very early and cover it. It's tough being nervous about your first cull, being all ready, having the birds set aside, and then having to wait a long time for the scalder to come to temperature.
- Organize everything very well. Really overthink it. Have everything available right there (including things you MIGHT need).
- Be prepared for your site to be very soggy from the water/rinsing. Best to do on a solid surface with good drainage if possible.
- Put your chickens in a pen or cage sized so that you won't have to catch them. (Last two on Saturday were caught with a fishing net, which was upsetting for them and me.)
- Don't name or get close to chickens you will cull, as mentioned before. (While this is not always possible, you can often predict, such as when you have 7 cockerels for only 6 pullets.) But if you do, you can still do it. It's just a lot harder on you.
- Sometimes holding the chicken upside down will make them drowsy, sometimes not. It's worth trying (be patient, give it a minute or two), but be prepared for it not to work all the time.
- RESTRAIN THE LEGS - to keep them from working their way out of the cone. I figured out to use a large gear tie to gently hold the legs together in while in the cone (I also used it to hold in the scalder and to hang to pluck). If you don't, you may have to rush the cut while trying to hold them in the cone, and they may still leverage and flip themselves out, even after your cut, which is beyond horrible. This is particularly important for big/strong birds. Ask me how I know (times 3). Also, this allows you to take any thick scratch-and-peck-resistant gloves you are wearing off before trying to make the cut.
- Use a scalpel (can be obtained at Tractor Supply or a feed store)
- If you use a bucket to catch the blood, put an inch or so of water in the bottom to dilute the blood when it falls in - it will keep the blood from coagulating (and then it's easier to clean up/pour on plants).
- A fish cleaning table (with a hose hooked up to the faucet) is very useful if you can get one.
- Except the neck skin, two cuts over the pelvic bones and opening the gizzard, all of the evisceration can be done with a good pair of scissors/poultry shears and your fingers (with less risk of contaminating the meat). But a lung scraper tool is very useful if you've got one.
- Small hands are always an advantage
- Non-chicken people are not that helpful, and it may be best not to talk about it to them about it (even if they support you - they don't really understand, and they may not want to hear about it, though my mother was pretty good). BYC is honestly the best.
- Though I was tired, the most calming thing for me to do after culling was not to go take a hot bath and have a glass of wine - it was to do chores to take care of the rest of the flock (bedding cleaning, roost scrubbing, poop scooping, etc.). I spent the entire rest of both days doing this. By the end of the day I was tired, but very much at peace about it.
I cooked the first of the birds a couple nights ago. He was delicious, and I was more grateful for my food than I had ever been before. I believe I am a better person for this. This thread was very helpful to me in preparing, and I want to thank everyone who posted anything here.
- Ant Farm
That is a very insightful and helpful post
You should consider entering this in the article contest.