Any butchering tips from fly tyers?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Black wallnut, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. Black wallnut

    Black wallnut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My rooster has to go. He has attacked me for the last time. I'd like to know how to kill him without damaging the hackles. Any thoughts?
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    You can slit the throat with a very sharp knife, or cut the head off, going as high as possible. Fly tyers will be interested in the hackle and saddle feathers. I butchered out 3 roos and skinned them, gave them to a fly tying friend. He cured the pelts with dry Borax, said it worked well.
     
  3. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tie upside down by his legs while he is a live, and then slit his throat.
     
  4. Black wallnut

    Black wallnut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for your comment. For the record I am a former professional tyer. The most prized neck hackle feathers are generally closer to the top of the head. Cutting the head off anywhere jeopardizes the neck feathers. On roosters the Saddle feathers also called hackle is also desirable. On hens nearly all of the feathers are or can be useful but because of how they are used there is such an abundance that cost and sourcing is not really a factor. Although it has been literally over 20 years since I bought top quality necks of saddles $65 and $25 was the going price respectively. That said the top quality is from chickens that have been bred specifically for feather quality and most run of the mill roosters pale in comparison with feather quality.

    The good news is the way I scolded my Roo yesterday must have worked because he ran from me today. :) Maybe he might live long enough to allow me to have a hen sit on a clutch of eggs in mid February.
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Thanks BW. I was not aware that the feathers closer to the top of the head were more useful. Next time I harvest a bird with intent of giving the feathers away, I'll harvest accordingly. It's a shame to dump them in the compost if they are of use to someone. There's a guy out my way who raises a specific breed just for feathers. Good luck with your roo. I found them to be too noisy outside my bedroom window to allow them to stay. I thought saddle was at the lower back and hackle was neck feathers. The fellow I was talking with wasn't at all interested in hen feathers, I couldn't figure that out b/c hen hackles look pretty nice to me. I'm not a fisher, but if I were a fish, I'd be attracted to a hen feather! When you bought hackles and saddles, how were they preserved?
     
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    There is a method, though I'm not familiar with the name of it, where you take an ice pick looking like device and you put it through the roof of their mouth and it goes up into their brain. You hang them in a killing cone upside down then do it. I have not used it, but have talked with someone that does and it's apparently an instant death.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    The pick thru the roof of the mouth is said to loosen the feathers for easier plucking, so that may not be a good choice if harvesting for fly tying.
    You can slit the throat, front of the neck, and not damage the hackle feathers.

    I was wondering about this a while back and found this website for preparing the feathers for sale.
    Roosters are skinned and the hide is stretched to dry.
    Looks fairly simple, IF you could find a market to sell them to.
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    My dad used that method when he helped us dress a bunch of chickens a very long time ago. Or should I say, we helped him dress our chickens. (Why is it called dressing when they are actually being undressed?) Very narrow bladed knife through the roof of the mouth to the brain stem, and across the jugulars/carotids. He had a coffee can rigged to catch the blood so it was a pretty clean operation, though gruesome to watch. So many skills from the old timers being lost to the new generation. If I could capture just a fraction of that man's wisdom, I'd be a wise woman indeed.
     

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