Killing Cone Method Question

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by buffbrahmaboy, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. buffbrahmaboy

    buffbrahmaboy Chillin' With My Peeps

    So far I've processed 14 cockerels and have three to go. I'm self taught (thanks BYC) because I didn't know anyone to show me in person. I'm comfortable doing them in batches of three using a killing cone. Can I get some tips on finding the exact location to make the cut? My birds didn't seem to suffer much, but the neck wounds are large. I've noticed some photos where the wounds are small, almost surgical, and I would like to get better at this for next years batch.

    The first few I cut on one side, then I started cutting both. I've yet to try the brain stab. Does it matter? I got an arterial spurt from a couple but most seemed a venous bleed. What should I aim for? Should I be careful not to nick the esophagus/trachea? Thanks.
  2. eds500

    eds500 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 27, 2010
    Raleigh, NC
    Unless, it's a matter of personal perfection, I think what you're doing is fine. After all you're holding a moving animal and sometimes the cuts go awry. I wouldn't worry about nicking the esophagus. Considering some folks chop the head off, you're not doing any damage the way you're doing it. If you've only ever done 14 in your life and you're self-taught, congratulations. You'll get better with time. Keep up the good work and enjoy the meats of your labor.

    The link below is a youtube video from Polyface farms showing the killing cone station (warning: graphic and does require you to log in to view). Grady shows step-by-step on real chickens how to slice the neck for bleed-out.

  3. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I don't think the size of the cut is important, and don't think that the bird feels any more pain from a larger cut. Actually, it may be even MORE painful if you make a cut that is too small, and it doesn't bleed out as fast. Once the bird loses that initial gush of blood, it has officially Crossed The Road and has no more complaints. So I try to make the cut deep and decisively, in just the right spot.

    I put my birds in the cones, draw out their heads, stretch their necks a little and gently bend to one side. That makes the skin taut and helps expose more clearly the bare spot just behind the point of their jaw. I place the edge of my knife there and make a quick deep cut in & away from my hand. I like to help aim the flow into the can below, so I'll let it go for a moment, then bend the head the other way and make a second cut there.

    I'm right-handed so I make the cut on the side to my right first. I put the birds in the cone with their chests facing me, so when their heads are drawn out I'm facing their throats. So I'm cutting their right sides first. I may try putting them in the other way next time, see if it makes a difference. It would help to keep their feet farther away from my face as I stand so close to the cone to cut.

    The birds in the cones are usually calm, so it doesn't bother them to take an extra moment or two to make sure you have the knife positioned in just the right place before cutting. Each time you process you'll learn something to make the next session go easier & faster. I wish you great success!
  4. warmfuzzies

    warmfuzzies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2009
    Boondocks, Colorado
    I just stick the knife in backwards in front of the backbone, right under the jaw, and then cut everything from the backbone out in one quick slice. It is easy because you don't have the hassle of feathers getting in the way and it is fast. I cut everything- veins, arteries, esophagus and windpipe. And it takes about 2-3 seconds to bleed out, and another 5 seconds or so for the flopping to begin, when you know that everything is over.
  5. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 3, 2007
    Oberlin, OH
    Good advice given. It sounds like you are doing just fine. [​IMG]

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