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PITHING....The Real Story

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by LittleChickenRacingTeam, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. LittleChickenRacingTeam

    LittleChickenRacingTeam On vacation

    Jan 11, 2007
    Ontario, CANADA
    I keep seeing these posts on pithing as a means of dispatching/killing a chicken.

    Pithing was never intended for this purpose. In reality pithing is a means of rendering a specimen immobile for disection/study purposes.
    We used it in biology class with frogs & kittens. The objective is to have a brain dead but still breathing/heart beating subject that can be cut open without muscle reflex.

    If done correctly, pithing will scramble the brain & sever the spinal cord. What you end up with is a animal that is very much alive, but unable to feel pain, or move.

    If your chicken actually dies from PITHING, you are doing it WRONG

    From a BIOLOGY book....

    What is pithing?

    Pithing is a means of destroying an animal's central nervous system in order to study various physiological processes. Frogs and turtles are two species commonly used in pithing labs, and the procedure is commonly performed in undergraduate-level classes. If conducted properly, pithing severs the spinal cord of the live animal and destroys the brain by inserting a needle into the back of the skull and moving the needle around in order to "scramble" brain tissue; the needle is then inserted into the vertebral canal in order to destroy reflexes. The animal continues to function physiologically for hours following the pithing procedure. The organization is opposed to pithing of animals in the classroom and further believes that the overwhelming ethical and animal welfare concerns associated with pithing far outweigh its educational benefit, especially when there are suitable alternatives available to teach the same curriculum.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2008
  2. menageriemama

    menageriemama Songster

    Feb 2, 2008
    Lake Nebagamon, WI
    Interesting. Thanks for posting this! I had never heard of using this method as a way to kill a bird until I read about it in this forum. I had always thought that it was a technique to use after the bird is killed (with ax or knife) to loosen the feathers for plucking (de-braining).
  3. LittleChickenRacingTeam

    LittleChickenRacingTeam On vacation

    Jan 11, 2007
    Ontario, CANADA
    Quote:Yes, lopping the birds head off is ABSOLUTELY the worst way to go & causes the feathers to set & be difficult to remove.

    There are several ways of cutting blood vessels in poultry, the most common killing method. In the conventional industry, the cartoid arteries and the jugular veins are cut on both sides of the neck by a deep cut in the front. In kosher and halaal slaughter, only one side of the neck is cut, so the birds bleed more slowly. The spinal cord should not be cut (as when the head is cut off), because the feathers "set" and are hard to pick. The esophagus should also not be cut, to prevent microbial contamination from leakage.
  4. Wow... well.. I must say that I learned this the hard way this weekend. I expected the birds to be dead, not incapacitated, and when they weren't I felt as though I had failed them somehow.
  5. spydertoys

    spydertoys Songster

    May 19, 2008
    Munfordville, Kentucky
    How then do you slice them in the front without cutting the esophagus. That's where it is.
  6. LittleChickenRacingTeam

    LittleChickenRacingTeam On vacation

    Jan 11, 2007
    Ontario, CANADA
    Quote:Cartoid arteries/jugular veins are on each SIDE of the neck

    Edited to add....Esophagus is behind/deeper than the cartoid arteries which are closer to the surface than the esophagus.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2008
  7. kinnip

    kinnip Songster

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    I asked before, but didn't get a satisfactory answer, so I'll try again. What are pros and cons of using a chicken dispatcher. It's a tool commonly used in England to kill a chicken. It's like a pair of pliers that is designed to break the chickens neck. The throat is then cut to allow the bird to bleed out. I assume the damage to the spinal cord will cause the feathers to set. This isn't too big a deal for me, I think I'll be skinning mine anyway.
  8. LittleChickenRacingTeam

    LittleChickenRacingTeam On vacation

    Jan 11, 2007
    Ontario, CANADA
    Quote:Typically, in the comercial processing of poultry the birds are electrically stunned & then have their throats cut to bleed out. I honestly don't know if breaking the neck would cause the feathers to set.
  9. kinnip

    kinnip Songster

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    A little off topic, but what the heck. Just how funky is the smell when you scald for plucking?
  10. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

    Jun 11, 2007
    I think I prefer "PITHING....The Fake Story".

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