How to cull chickens...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by ameador1, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. ameador1

    ameador1 In the Brooder

    What is the best way? Obviously this is a matter of preference, but I want to hear everyones particular best way so I can get ideas that work for me, or than I can modify slightly.

    Here's what I'm looking for, I need to kill my meat chickens in a bit (about a month and a half) and I want to have decided on what to do before I need to do it. I want a method that will kill them quickly, as painlessly as possible, and cleanly (as possible). I am not squemmish and will do what I need to do, but primarily I don't want the birds to suffer.

    I hear people talk about cutting off the head, but it seems to me that their brains will still have activity for a short time after that - so unless I'm wrong here - I don't like this idea. To be honest - hopefully this doesn't sound too gross, I was thinking or either using a small guage shotgun right on the head or something that could crush their head (very fast ways of eliminating brain activity).

    But, like I said, I'm open to any ideas that are hightly effective at instant death - but preferably less messy than a shotgun.
  2. eggchel

    eggchel Crowing

    Dec 26, 2006
    Both Coasts
    Ive heard that the best way is to put the bird in a killing cone so that they relax and stop struggling, and then slit the throat with a very sharp knife, allowing the bird to bleed out.

    Im sure others can give their preferred method. One of my friends just chops the head off. I tried breaking the neck but I either dont have enough strength in my hands or Im unable to manage the technique, because it never worked like it was supposed to. [​IMG]

  3. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    In Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens, she recommends using a cone, but sticking the knife up threw the roof of the mouth into the brain. Thus they feel nothing. She also says that culling this way ensures that no blood gets in through the neck and stains (bruises?) the meat.

    Me, I'm old fashioned. I think a stump and hatchet will do for me, but I'm open to tried and true and better ways too.
  4. Picco

    Picco Songster

    Mar 14, 2007
    Killing cones are the way to go. Simply cutting their heads off is the easiest and most fool proof method in my opinion. The other methods if they were used correctly would work better but I think that probelms could arise with them (such as aiming wrong) and could cause suffering. There really isn't any way to mess up with cutting a head off, as long as a sharp blade is used quickly. A brain can only last a very short time without a blood supply and I feel that this kind of death is pretty much instant and painless.

    I personally do not kill my chickens but have grown up in a house that puts its own meat on the table and think that this method is best.
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I just hold my birds in my lap between my knees slightly and cut their head off completely with a very sharp knife. They do flutter a bit due to reflex, but it is so quick it is minimally painful. The brain will not function without blood and it cannot feel w/o never connections, so as soon as it is disconnected, it is gone.

    To ease the process on them and make them more relaxed, I raise them with lots of contact and attention. They come waddling over when they see me and so when it comes to butchering time, they are calm and relaxed even while I hold their heads back.

    I feel kind of bad that they trust me so much but I feel that is is easier on them and me when it comes time because I know they weren't nervous and lived a good life in fresh grass and outdoor air.
  6. CashmereSussex

    CashmereSussex Songster

    Mar 28, 2007
    i just get a small sharp axe and find a tree stump and chop their heads but dont cut too high because after a few mins you will get a shock because when the stomach and lungs deflate it makes a funny noise

    another method is breaking the neck by holding the legs of the bird in your left hand and holding the head and neck of the bird in your right lower your right arm down so it is strait hold the legs so your arms are in a right angle with your right arm jerk down and this should break the neck
  7. EurekaSouth

    EurekaSouth Chirping

  8. Barnyard Dawg

    Barnyard Dawg Songster

    Feb 7, 2007
    Northern California
    My wife will sharpen her meat cleaver then hold the chicken upside down by the legs she will then bring the head up to the feet exposing the neck with one hand and with the other hand she will take the cleaver and slices the throat and bleed the chickens blood into a bowl it doesn’t last long and then the processing begins. We prepare our chickens the Chinese way, which is whole so we don’t remove the head and the blood is also used to make a pudding.
    1 person likes this.
  9. joanna

    joanna In the Brooder

    Mar 9, 2007
    I've tried killing cones (I used a modified bleach bottle for the cone), axe, knife. Of these methods, I guess the cone would be the easiest, but string it all up (without the live bird) before hand so you know you can just connect it to bleed the bird out. A good friend said he'd show me how to "wring it's neck" when I'm ready for the next batch in the freezer. I rarely do more than 2 at a time and I've gotten to where I just skin the whole bird and filet it. MUCH easier than scalding and plucking.
  10. Barnyard Dawg

    Barnyard Dawg Songster

    Feb 7, 2007
    Northern California
    My wife is very petite being 5’2” and 110 #’s the only chicken I ever seen give her a problem was a Brahma after slicing the neck it fought briefly spraying some blood and she has done hundreds of chicken. She doesn’t use scalding hot water but warm/hot water to dip the chicken in and plucks the chickens beautifully but she has had much experience
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2007

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: