Haven't done it yet...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by chickensista, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. chickensista

    chickensista Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 23, 2008
    CT
    Hi all,
    I'm slowly building up the courage to process my first chickens. Well, I'm going to start with 1 since she's got some issues. But, I do need supplies.
    I'm looking at hatchets - how big do these need to be?? At lowes they had 2 sizes, small and huge. Will the small work, or is there a happy medium out there somewhere? Someone mentioned a meat cleaver - do many people like these?
    Also, how far apart are your nails on the chopping block?

    If I were to use a cone and slit the throat - is it pretty easy to cut the jugular with out slicing the esophagus?

    Do most people prefer the chopping block?

    Thank you!
    Terry
     
  2. lynxpilot

    lynxpilot Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 19, 2008
    I use inverted cones to restrain them and cut the head off. I use very sharp knives. I can't imagine any use for a hatchet or cleaver. Sharp is the key word here.
     
  3. chickensista

    chickensista Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 23, 2008
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    Lynxpilot,
    So you just pull the head down and slice? Sharp I can do. What kind of resistance am I looking at? I guess my fear is not doing it properly and severly injuring the bird, not killing it.
    Thank you,
    Terry
     
  4. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    CS,
    If you don't want to buy one of those fancy killing cones, you can always enlarge the opening of a milk jug and then turn it over and cut off the bottom. Then you could poke a couple of holes on either side of the bottom to run string through and hang it up. We did this and hung our budget killing cone from a pole stuck between the two sides of a tall step ladder (think "A" here--it was the cross member). It worked really well, but the chickens looked ridiculous hanging there and looked sideways at me with this "how did I get here" look. The only down side is if you get a bird too big, it just won't fit. I too use a very sharp knife. You want to make sure there is some bit of tension on the neck as you pull it down, but don't do that forever (while you figure out the rest) as I don't think that is very humane. Then when you place the knife kind scoop it under the feathers so that it is in contact with skin before you really pull the neck and slice hard at the same time. Be sure your fingers are well out of the way on the other side. I got dangerously close a couple of times last week. Then step back as fast as you can manage so you don't get blood on you. Of course if you use the milk jug method you don't get as much of that as if you use a slip knot with bailing twine and hang them from a hook like we did this last time. It was just easier than feeding them into the jug as we had 48 of them to do and I didn't have 5 jugs to have going at the same time. Be prepared to sharpen your knife after about every 4-5 birds...that is if you are going to be doing any quantity of them.

    Sam's Club actually has a very nice set of knives for 8-9 dollars for a set of two. One is a boning knife and the other is about the same length but has a wider blade. The Boning knife is great for gutting the bird and cutting it up and the other is great for the actual dispatching. Also, they come with these textured white handles that make them very easy to keep ahold of even when you are dealing with slimy stuff. I sound like a commercial. But they really worked well.
     
  5. chickensista

    chickensista Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi BirdBrain,
    Thank you for all the info. Too bad I belong to Costco and not BJ's! LOL I don't think I'll have trouble finding a decent set of knives just for the chickens.
    I think I have a pair of those gloves for cutting - metal like ones so you don't slice a finger.
    Thanks again!
    Terry
     
  6. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    When we do our CC's....we use a hatchet and a block. Its a 2 person job, as we do several at a time. One holds the body...and the person with the hatchet pulls the head. One swift chop, and all done. Last year we didnt hang our to "bleed out" But, I think I will try it this year. Just 2 poles, with wire between them, and "S" hooks. Bind the feet..and hook em up. 4 weeks to go, and we will be cleaning another 24 CC's. Good luck with your's. Its NOT a fun job, but very satisfying knowing the meat is well raised without additives.
     
  7. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    As for the killing cone, another idea is to use an orange traffic cone. Even if you can't find one for free, they are about $10 new, and come in all sizes. You just need to enlarge the top, which you can do with scissors. I refuse to pay $50 for a metal one.
     

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