Cone Culling Tips

UrbanChickie

In the Brooder
Jul 28, 2017
10
18
49
New Orleans
I've culled a few birds now and have not quite gotten my cone technique down yet. Could anyone give me very specific instructions on making the cuts? I've always sharpened my boning knife, and usually grab the bird by the comb for stability. I've found it very hard getting a good cut though, and I hate to have to make multiple attempts.
 

Mosey2003

Crowing
Apr 13, 2016
2,869
4,329
351
North-Central IL
Grabbing the comb is half your problem, if not all of it.

You need to scruff them like a cat (not forcefully). Use your off hand to gather the skin behind the neck, just above the head (above when they're upside down), and gently pull it taut. Otherwise, you're trying to slice skin that's sliding back and forth, and you'll absolutely have more trouble making a clean, fast cut.

I grab that skin and then wiggle the knife to get it between the feathers close to the skin, then a clean long cut.

Try it that way and I can guarantee you'll be happier. And so will the birds.
 

Compost King

Free Ranging
Apr 19, 2018
2,419
7,962
577
Salisbury, North Carolina
after I get between the feathers and up to the skin with the knife I grab the head and pull down rather forcefully as I slice, This breaks the neck and pulls apart the vertebrae as I slice through as cleanly as I can. Not sure if its the proper way or the best, no one told me to do it that way I just did it one day after some really messy attempts and suddenly it was easier. It doesn't always go so smoothly but 9 out of 10 times I can get a clean cut with minimal effort.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
72,860
77,340
1,557
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I hold the head too, comb and under beak, feel for jaw hinge and get knife between the feather shafts...those feather shafts will greatly impede the slice and dull your knife, but I am slaughtering layer breeds not CX and do not remove head, just slice juglars on both sides for bleed out. I use new and dedicated by pass pruning shears to remove head before scalding.
Where to cut shown well here:
http://ramblingredneckmom.blogspot.com/2011/04/how-to-process-chickens-at-home.html
 

aliciaplus3

Crowing
Oct 24, 2016
2,387
7,769
462
Colorado
Recently I have gone to using a pipe cutter. It was something recommended by another BYC member, just hang the bird put the neck in the pipe cutter and close it. Has worked very well, mine is a 2 inch version, just make sure it is Not the ratcheting type.
 

UrbanChickie

In the Brooder
Jul 28, 2017
10
18
49
New Orleans
Thanks everyone, this has been really helpful. I think my biggest problem was not getting the neck taut. I was using the comb in my left hand just to keep them from wriggling around, but the skin was moving around too much.

I've got a broody mama hen that keeps raising babies that I don't need for egg production, so I'll have another culling round soon enough. I'm curious about the pipe cutters, but I've read that the meat is better when they get their jugulars cut instead of lobbing off the full head. I do love the idea of a fast surefire method though.
 

UrbanChickie

In the Brooder
Jul 28, 2017
10
18
49
New Orleans
I don't know much because I've never done it. But grabbing them by the comb? :hmm I don't know if thats a nice way to do it.
Not lifting them by it or anything forceful, it's just an easy handle for positioning their head. From the other comments it sounds like I need to get a better full head grip to get that neck straightened out and tight first.
 

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