For those who have done it both ways: Hatchet vs. Knife

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by ninjapoodles, Aug 8, 2008.

  1. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    Now that butchering day is in sight for most of our roosters, the hubs and I are of slightly differing opinions on how best to do the deed.

    I'm kind of leaning toward a quick beheading, my main reason being that it's fast and humane. My husband would prefer to cut their throats (and possibly do the brain-poking thing), his main reason being accomplishing a clean and rapid bleed-out.

    To be fair, he's the only one with any experience at this, being a hunter. I've never killed anything. But my concern is that the birds' end be calm, quiet, and as brief and painless as possible. My husband says, "Why have you been raising these roosters--to eat, right?" And I answer, "Well, yeah, but I didn't raise them kindly all this time just to give them a bad end."

    I told him that I would check here, and get opinions from people who have butchered their chickens by BOTH these methods, and could tell us the pros/cons. In the end, I know he'll do it the way I want, even if I'm dead wrong, so I'm trying to collect as much real-life experience as possible.
  2. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    And now, an additional question, from my husband: Is there a way to stun the birds first before killing? If so, that could satisfy both our requirements. He was reading a British poultry magazine that mentioned some sort of electrical stunner. (We do have stun-guns, but I'm thinking that they'd "stun" a chicken completely dead!)

    Would the brain-pithing method, done before cutting the jugular, render the birds unaware?
  3. Emzyyy

    Emzyyy Runs with Deer

    Jul 14, 2008
    Derby Kansas
    i wouldn't know I don't kill my birds but my oppion would be chop their heads I can't stand the flapping and the sounds they make.
  4. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    I just recently learned to pith. (stick the knife into the brain) Yes, they'd be rendered unaware because they are rendered instantly dead. However, I've so far only done this once, with a bird that had been badly injured, it was a mercy killing. She was suffering horribly. I use a thin-bladed paring knife with a very sharp point, right up through the roof of the mouth. If you look at the roof of a bird's mouth, you'll see sort of a slot there. With a fair bit a pressure, (but less than it would take to poke into watermelon rind) you just push the blade right into the slot, I also moved the blade a bit (from front to back) so all accessible parts of the brain got stuck or sliced, very quickly, just to make sure. The bird instantly went limp and relaxed, there was no flapping or anything. Then I removed the head and there was no reaction at all.

    I'm going to try it next time we butcher. I think it's less traumatic for the bird than beheading or throat cutting. I read one comment about this method that a guy who hadn't done it for awhile said he tried it and it wasn't as quick as he'd been able to do it before. I don't know if he didn't stick deep enough, or what. I know when I did it, the bird was just instantly dead.

    This might be a dumb question, but if you have a stun gun, and you think it would stun a bird dead, isn't that the goal? I mean, it would be an instant, non-traumatic death, wouldn't it? When we butchered turkeys, my DH walked up and shot them in the head, they just fell over, and it was done. They never knew what hit them, that's a good thing!

    They bleed out just fine, even if they're dead before you cut the throat. When one of my hen got hit by a car, it was several minutes later before I had her in the house and the head off, she still bled out fine. You can always soak then in salt water for a little while, if you think they aren't bled well enough.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2008
  5. moodusnewchick

    moodusnewchick Songster

    Feb 15, 2008
    I like the way Purple Chicken taught us to do the deed. We use the stump and axe method and hold the body for the bleed out instead of letting it flop around. It feels humane and right to me. And my last great tip from him after me being upset at not hitting my mark on the neck: practice on a stick.
  6. SamG347

    SamG347 Songster

    Mar 4, 2007
    Stump...2 nails about half an inch apart(for quail)....and a good sharp hatchet....QUICK...EASY...And humane!
  7. jjparke

    jjparke Songster

    Apr 20, 2008
    Whatever you do just don't let them flop around- they can break their wings and it makes it difficult to skin and clean around when they do.
    I personally like the axe and stump. Quick and easy. Don't have to think about where to stick what. Big easy target.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2008
  8. KellyGwen

    KellyGwen Songster

    Apr 28, 2008
    Lake Luzerne, NY
    I've heard a lot of people use the cones and then slit their throats. The cones keep them from flapping (and from what I've seen it keeps them calm)... That's probably what I'll do when the time comes...
  9. moodusnewchick

    moodusnewchick Songster

    Feb 15, 2008
    Someone emailed me and unfortunately the email became part of my select all and delete. oops. So, the link below will bring you to a posting of pics and video from when we processed my four meat birds. There's another posting from perfectly_polish...actually when you go to her youtube video, you'll see another video or two from other processing days. good luck!
  10. freeholdfarms

    freeholdfarms In the Brooder

    Dec 30, 2007
    Put them in a killing cone (old traffic cone) hang it over a collection tub (wheelbarrow) and slice with knife. Walk away. Finish scalding, plucking or cleaning the one before. Come back and repeat. No sound, no flapping, no mess.

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