Butchering using a knife to the brain

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Isaiah53, Sep 21, 2018.

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  1. I didn't need to stick my gramp's chickens through the roof of their mouths to loosen their feathers. We did scald in batches and had a big commercial grade picker with a horozonal drum with rubber "fingers" that did all the plucking.

    What you are talking about is not used for killing but to help release feathers without burning all of that shoo-nasty-nasty fossil fuel needed to scald 1,000s of chickens per hour. You can do it at home and by hand pretty good with a little practice or if you have a mechanized killing line like the big prossers do, a computerized thingamajiggy works well. Because avian brains are sorta primitive when they are killed quickly volintary brain and mussle activity continues for a spell. Think of it like a snake with its head chopped off that keeps moving till Sundown and cooler temperatures halt movement. A small keen pocket knife pen blade is the best to use in my opinion.
     
  2. Mosey2003

    Mosey2003 Crowing

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    I really want to try this, as I have a couple people want for stewing hens so I need to pluck them, and gosh I hate plucking. Even with a good scald, it just sucks. For whatever reason, even though I temp check my water between 140-150, in order to get the feathers to rub out well I always end up with split skin. If the pithing really releases the feathers that well, I'd go ahead and get myself a cone made up and go back to that (I currently do the broomstick method).
     
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  3. AudieWarren

    AudieWarren Songster

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    I pith then scald. 20secs at 145° most of the feathers rub off
     
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  4. Geena

    Geena Songster

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    We have 26 chickens and 3 turkeys that need to be processed soon. I'm going to give the pithing a try this time and will report back with our results.
     
  5. Isaiah53

    Isaiah53 Songster

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    Looking forward to your report!
     
  6. Geena

    Geena Songster

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    Well, we processed 17 chickens the other day. The first one he killed in the way we usually do, so that he could practice before trying to pith a live one. It's actually surprisingly simple and not at all like I had imagined.
    First of all it's quite easy to get them to open their beaks. That's the part I dreaded the most because we are always very careful to treat the birds calmly and with respect. If it was going to be a struggle and hard on the bird, then it's not something we would want to pursue, but it wasn't like that at all.
    Chicken in cone with bottom of chicken toward him, he would cup the back of their head in one gloved hand, then with his other hand use the tip of the knife to get them to open up, then slip his gloved ring finger into the end of the beak to keep it open.
    He pithed first, then slit the neck and they bled out as usual, but much quicker. You don't have to use much force when doing the actual pithing, and I would caution anyone who tries it to be very careful not to thrust too hard, because if you do the knife will come out the back of the skull and go into your hand!
    As far as the plucking, it actually did make a big difference, even the wing and tail feathers came out quite easily. I tried a dry one on the plucking machine at first just to see what would happen, and that didn't work, so I did scald them.
    I would think that for people who are processing cornishx it might not be worth bothering with, since those young birds are so easy to pluck anyway. But for people who are working with dual purpose or colored broilers you might want to give it a try, because it does make plucking a lot less work.
    Like AudieWarren I think we will be using this method from now on.
     
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  7. Mosey2003

    Mosey2003 Crowing

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    Thanks a lot for actually reporting back, @Geena !
     
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  8. Isaiah53

    Isaiah53 Songster

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    I contacted our provincial animal health lab about an unrelated matter. We were discussing euthanasia options. I was told cervical decapitation or stunning (such as electrical charge ) first or an axe is the only humane way of killing a chicken permitted here where I live! Co2 is not permitted either unless it's pure Co2 like their lab uses. So, slitting the throat or pithing is against our humane killing methods in BC, Canada. So I'm back to an axe....?
     
  9. R2elk

    R2elk Free Ranger

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    What they don't know won't hurt you. There are far too many people that have no idea how things actually work making rules that are not necessarily right.
     
  10. Geena

    Geena Songster

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    Happy to oblige. So often on here people say they are going to update something and then they never do, drives me crazy, lol.
    If we attempt pithing on the turkeys I'll report back on that as well. But all we have right now are some BBWs , so I'm not too sure about that. Might have to wait until next year when I've hatched out some heritage poults.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018

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