Braining birds...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by the_great_snag, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. the_great_snag

    the_great_snag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi,

    I remember reading on here several years ago about the practice of dispatching birds by cutting into their brain through the roof of their mouths. It was said to be good for ensuring the most relaxed and tender meat possible.

    I recall the trick was to insert a short thin-bladed knife through the bird's mouth into the back of their head and then twist. It is supposed to cause instant death and total muscle relaxation.

    Anyway, I am wondering if anyone does it this way and if they have had good results. I am always trying to find a less traumatic way to kill my birds, for their sake and the sake of those who eat them. [​IMG]
     
  2. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is often called pithing...sometimes 'brain scrambling'... Be aware that it does not cause death, but is supposed to immediately make the animal 'brain dead' and unable to feel pain. I'm trying to find a video of the process to see if it seems like a method I would be okay with, but no luck so far. Some people on here have reported great luck with the method, some say they will never do it again.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  3. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    My grandmother used to dispatch chickens this way. I don't think it has any effect on the meat, but it does cause the feathers to loosen. My grandmother would dry pick a chicken in less than five minutes. But then she knew what she was doing. I never tried it myself.
     
  4. goldnchocolate

    goldnchocolate Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've done it, I even bought a special pithing knife to do it with. It worked the first time but the next two times it really didn't do anything (must have missed the particular spot that it needs to go through) so I now I just hang them upside down in the cone and cut the jugular vein. I've read that if you cut the vein on the other side of the neck the blood will flow faster but it's less awkward for me to do just the jugular. I talk softly to them the whole time until they are gone. It's pretty peaceful--considering what is taking place.

    Someone on this forum had an awful time with pithing and the poor bird had brain matter dripping out of it's mouth while it was still awake and looking around.
     
  5. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm kinda curious where you bought your "pithing knife," what it was marketed as, and what it looks like...
     
  6. goldnchocolate

    goldnchocolate Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:
     
  7. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aaaaah, thanks. A picture tells a thousand words. "So THAT'S what one should look like!" [​IMG]
     
  8. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have tried the method, but don't use it, as I found it too hard to be accurate all the time. When the correct part of the brain isn't skewered the feathers are set harder, not looser; and of course it's terribly distressing if it isn't quick.

    With dedication I'm sure you could make it work. As I understand it you point the knife into the groove at the back of the mouth, then stick toward the back of the comb where it joins the head.

    best of luck,
    Erica
     
  9. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Erica. BTW I myself don't actually have any plans to try it soon, I was idly curious for "academic reasons" just to see what such a knife looked like. I agree with your assessment: I tried the method once, and let's just say I was not impressed with my performance or the results. Currently I favor dislocation for the young birds and hens (and a hatchet for the occasional old cock). The "English Method" suits me just fine now as it requires no investment in extra equipment, is not messy, is as quick a death as can be, and gives perfectly good results...
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012
  10. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I totally agree, Sky the Chicken Man. [​IMG] Fast and I think fairly humane (given that something dies in the process). But that's food...

    cheers
    Erica
     

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