Best way of snapping a chickens neck?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by ChickenKeep01, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. ChickenKeep01

    ChickenKeep01 Chirping

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    I've killed quite a few birds before and i did one yesterday (for eating) and the cleaver i was using had usually been fine, but i was doing bantams before and this was a full sized rooster, the blade wasn't strong enough to get through so unfortunately he had a bit of painful death but it was over in a few seconds, so now i need a new way to kill them as i'm doing one next weekend, so i've looked around and found the best option would be via snapping the neck, so what is the best way to do so, i've heard just picking it by the head and spinning it but i want to make sure first
     
  2. The Dapper Duck

    The Dapper Duck Songster

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    I can't say I would suggest doing it that way, but if you absolutely want to, there is a slight trick and we call it "ringing" at least when it is a game bird.

    If you were looking the animal straight on, facing it, and it's head and neck was stretched toward you, grab the bird like you were shaking someone's hand. This means when you close your hand, your fingers are under its chin and the head will be in your palm. This part is important, grip firmly but also pinch it with your thumb and the side of your index finger. This is going to force the vertebrae to separate during the ringing.

    At the same time that you start pinching, move your hand in a circle (pivoting from the elbow) really fast like you are winding up a towel to snap someone in the locker room, or like that 'woop-woop' motion folks used to do on the Arsenio Hall show but down low by your waist (hopefully that hits home with someone). The spinning action isn't like you would spin a sling or lasso with the body stretched way out from your hand. Try it with a rope first to get the action down. You should be able to spin the rope without it touching you.

    When you do this with the chicken, keeping a firm pinch on the neck, it will wind up that neck like the locker room towel and you will feel the vertebrae separate and only flesh will be between your thumb and finger. It's a very obvious transition from together to apart and you can stop spinning and let go of the chicken to let it do its death throws or you can cut the neck to bleed it.

    The reason I don't like this method is that it makes the neck messy and doesn't get the blood out, which will affect the quality of the meat. If you only do a chicken here and there, then maybe it's not such a big deal to you.

    If you have any questions on this feel free to PM me and I can probably put together a little video and send it. Animal welfare at slaughter is a very important thing to me.
     
    MomJones likes this.
  3. The Dapper Duck

    The Dapper Duck Songster

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    Here is an alternative I just picked up from a friend and am doing all my birds this way from now on.

    Get a chair, dish towel you don't particularly like, and either a paring knife, short filet knife or knife that is fairly narrow and has a good point and very sharp edge. If you had access to a #4 scalpel handle and no.36 blades that would be an excellent choice. Take the chicken and wrap it in the towel like a burrito and set it in your lap on it's side, with the head pointing away from you, slightly holding it with your thighs. It shouldn't be able to jump up if you wrapped it right.

    With your off-hand feel for the trachea (wind pipe) just under the chin and lightly pinch between that and the neck, and extend the neck away from you so it is fully stretched. There should be a space created between the trachea and neck because of how your fingers are holding it out.

    With the sharp side of the blade oriented toward the neck (where the veins and arteries are), pierce down between the trachea and neck, taking care not to cut the trachea, slicing through the blood vessels in the neck and then retracting. I like to cut slightly around the neck to make sure I get the vessels on both sides.

    Hold the head calmly until the chicken bleeds completely out and it goes into death convulsions. At this point you can let it out of the towel so the spasming muscles aren't meeting resistance. This method also allows you to catch the blood either by yourself (if you can place a container on the ground in the right spot) or with the help of a friend.

    Again, if you want some pictures or something to help, I can send something. Just let me know. Or if more people here are confused I'll post some media to the thread (it won't be the actual deed, but I can show the rope spin and the burrito wrap).

    Hope this helps!
     
    MomJones likes this.
  4. ChickenKeep01

    ChickenKeep01 Chirping

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    Thanks, if you could show me some pictures that would really help
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    What were you using to rest the neck on when using the cleaver? Part of your technique may have been wrong. I drive two nails in a stump to form a Vee to hold the head in place and so I can gently stretch it out. Then I use a hatchet. I've learned that if you cut into the grain of the wood, like the top of a stump or end of a log, the hatchet goes into the grain of the wood and you get a clean cut. However if I try that with the log laying on its side or with sawed lumber the blade does not go into the wood deep enough to get a complete cut. That cleaver was designed to chop through bone. Makes me wonder if the grain of the wood may have been the problem.

    I grew up using an axe and a stump but tried wringing the neck once. I grabbed by the head and swung the bird over my head a couple of circles to build up speed, then snapped my wrist like snapping a towel. The head came off in my hand. It was a very effective method but I went back to using a stump and axe.
     
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  6. The Dapper Duck

    The Dapper Duck Songster

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    Haha! I have had the head come off on a few game birds too.

    @ChickenKeep01 this is what I was warning against in my post when I wrote "The spinning action isn't like you would spin a sling or lasso..." It's a faster, tighter motion closer to whipping eggs with a whisk. I'll get some videos/pics up probably this evening.
     
  7. cottontail farm

    cottontail farm Songster

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    I cringed in horror at this... the head came off while you were holding it above your head?? You poor thing. I am picturing the blood scene in the movie Carrie.
    :lau
     
    wvchickenchick311 likes this.
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    I didn't get bloody, I just turned it loose. It was not over my head when I snapped, more out at arms length. That way the carcass bled out. as I said it was an effective way.
     
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  9. Willeum

    Willeum Hatching

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    Don't chop the head off, don't swing it around to wring it's neck. You raised these birds to feed yourself and your family. Do it right. It is also fair to the bird.
    Take a gallon bleach bottle, cut the bottom off at a slight angle. cut the top off at the handle. Screw the bottle onto a board you can hang. Push your chicken down into the bottle. The bottle keeps the chicken from flapping and breaking wings and contains the bird. Pull the head down and out the top of the bottle the taper of the bottle will keep it from coming right through. The chicken is now upside down. Take a very sharp knife and cut the side of the neck to the spine. Don't cut the head off. This bleeds the bird out with the heart pumping until it is dead. It dies fast and being upside down is confused so really doesn't know what's happening. The bird died for your table. You should do the best to make sure it died for a good reason.
    If you prefer to snap the neck, Youtube it to learn how.
     
  10. Mosey2003

    Mosey2003 Crowing

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    If you want to do it by cervical dislocation, use "the broomstick method." Hold the bird by the legs, near the hocks. Let it dangle upside down until it calms. Find some firm ground and lay the head and neck on the ground (the bird should be belly-down). Take a stiff stick like a broomstick or piece of heavy rebar and lay it over the neck right behind the skull. Quickly place your feet on the stick on either side of the head and, grasping one leg in each hand preferably, pull straight up until you feel the neck pop. You can then either continue pulling until the head comes off, or cut it off. If you want to cut it off, you're best to have a helper to do that, because within a second of the dislocation they start flapping aggressively. Personally, I'm now coordinated enough to get both legs into my left hand once the head is popped and grab ahold of the wings with my right so that I don't get beaten with them.

    Otherwise, most people either use a hatchet or they hang the bird in some manner (by the feet, or in a cone) and slice the jugular.
     

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