Pithing vs. jugular slice for dry pluck...?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by leamallett, Aug 7, 2010.

  1. leamallett

    leamallett New Egg

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    Next week my hubby and I are gearing up to butcher our 20 roosters. They're not getting along any more, so it's high time!

    This is our first time doing this (besides helping pluck as a kid), so I'm trying to do my homework to find the best way to off them (is there a better term that doesn't sound so callous?).

    From what I've gathered in my online search, chopping their heads off on the block causes them to retain their feathers (not to mention that the heads take up to a minute to die [​IMG]), so I want to avoid that if possible. Pithing (knife through the roof of the mouth to the brain) apparently helps to release their feathers and is swift, but I don't know if hubby will have the stomach or heart to do that. I know I won't!

    I'd like to go with the restraining cone method where you cut the two jugulars and let them quietly bleed out while they're still able to breathe. Seems the most humane. Does anyone know if this method helps release feathers, too? If we can dry pluck, that sure would be my preference.

    All hints/tips/words of wisdom from anyone more experienced than me most welcome! Thanks in advance!!!
     
  2. Kelebek

    Kelebek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just did my first butcher today - I did a slip knot from a tree and hung the rooster and cut the jugular on one side. It was very quick and easy - then I skinned instead of plucked - cleaned - put a rub on - put in fridge for 2 hours and then we put on the BBQ on aluminum foil and tented to keep the juices in almost do like a self basting - YUMMY!
     
  3. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    If you want to dry pluck you need to pith. It causes the feathers to release but does take some skill to do it properly. I just cut the jugular, scald, and pluck. I have never skinned a chicken. Don't see any need to but that is just my opinion. If you have the water nice and hot and put a little dish detergent in it, plucking is not all that hard. Like anything else it gets easier with practice.
     
  4. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

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    I chop heads off-its the only method Im comfortable with:-( I cant slice throats or pith-I did enough of that at work -pithing I mean) bleah cant stomach it! Good luck please post your results???
     
  5. Kelebek

    Kelebek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I skin as it only takes me about 5 minutes to skin a chicken and that way I can have the whole thing done in about 10-15 minutes and not have to worry about the boiling of water and then clean up - but that is me (I don't eat the skin either - so ...)

    But that is just "my" way that we do it :)
     
  6. rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hang them by the feet, slice, wait for them to bleed out and then pluck, unless I am in a hurry and then I skin. I have gotten into a routine and am a lot faster than I was 20 or so years ago. I have about 7 to do and I want it done yesterday, so I will do them very soon and I might try pithing them to get a comparison. I have heard about that for a long time.
    I used to have to help plucking scalded chickens when I was little and the smell still offends me. Don't care to go there, because even I won't want to eat chicken for a few weeks after that.
    Dry plucking is the only thing I am interested in.
     
  7. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I chopped three and slit one yesterday and honestly found no difference in the plucking.

    And the "minute to die" thing makes no sense and has certainly nor been my experience. It is instant. Besides, if loss of blood causes the bird to die quickly (the implication), then chopping is at least as quick as slitting since there is NO blood getting to the brain following decapitation.
     
  8. malignstar

    malignstar Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:I chopped three and slit one yesterday and honestly found no difference in the plucking.

    And the "minute to die" thing makes no sense and has certainly nor been my experience. It is instant. Besides, if loss of blood causes the bird to die quickly (the implication), then chopping is at least as quick as slitting since there is NO blood getting to the brain following decapitation.

    I have never butchered anything yet but I don't understand the aversion to cutting the head off because the bird is still somehow living afterwards. I'm sure any movement is nerves because if you think about it, the animal can only feel pain when the central nervous system is sending signals to the brain and the brain is processing them. If there's nowhere for the CNS to send pain signals, and the brain is not receiving any, there is no pain. I also am confused by comments I've seen on here about the head/body still being alive for x amount of seconds after decapitation. So is it the body or the head that is saying "Oh my God, I'm disconnected from my other half!"[​IMG]
     
  9. stanglover2001

    stanglover2001 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, if you don't have a strong stomach and don't know how to pith I'd go with the jugular. My uncle tried the pithing method once, it didn't turn out to well. The knife went through the head of the chicken and it never died, he had to dispatch it in another way.
     
  10. leamallett

    leamallett New Egg

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    Quote:I chopped three and slit one yesterday and honestly found no difference in the plucking.

    And the "minute to die" thing makes no sense and has certainly nor been my experience. It is instant. Besides, if loss of blood causes the bird to die quickly (the implication), then chopping is at least as quick as slitting since there is NO blood getting to the brain following decapitation.

    I guess I need to clarify that I'm speaking somewhat from recent experience as well. I watched our friends butcher a couple days ago so I could "learn the ways" (it's been 30 years since I watched my dad do the deed, so I needed a refresher). It took me by surprise as I watched head after head come off and they lay there blinking & gasping. Some more than others, but it was consistent nonetheless. Perhaps not quite as long as a whole minute, but it sure felt like a long time... too long in my opinion (bear in mind I'm a farm kid, grew up with 4 brothers and can take a LOT of "gross")

    I thought perhaps it was "nerves"--much like the headless body in it's final twitching throes. But after I read up a bit more on it, my understanding is that it takes a bit for the brain to register that it's not getting blood, and the brain continues to function in those last bitter moments until it finally shuts down. In any case, I'd choose having my birds "fade out" from loss of blood via their jugular and no struggle to breathe, etc., than seeing the bodiless heads in that gruesome, gasping state if even for a mere 10 seconds. It'd be the stuff of nightmares for my eight kids, no doubt!!! (doh!--exclude my 15 year old, she just read this and said "No, Mom, it was "cool!". Heavens.)
     

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