Processing Plant Process and Question Please...

SillyBird

In the Brooder
Sep 4, 2015
79
10
43
Nova Scotia
Before we took our meat kings to the government approved processing plant back in September I had very mixed feelings. (We couldn't find a local person to kill them with conventional methods which I thought would be kinder). I had googled the killing process in a plant but wasn't sure if it was 'humane' enough in my books. I believe they are hung by their feet in an assembly 'line' fashion, then dunked in electrocuted water (which will hopefully kill them instantly), then throats slit etc. Even though I was told by a neighbour the birds did not appear to be distressed when they were "electrocuted", as she had seen the process herself at this same plant, I did not feel completely alright with it. My question: Does anyone know if the process in the plants is a relatively stress and pain free way of killing a chicken? Thank you for your thoughts.
 

OrganicFarmWife

Crowing
Oct 21, 2015
5,031
1,047
326
No where Nebraska
I do not know very much about processing chickens, but we do process beef. What I can tell you is if you allow an animal to panic their adrenaline spikes. Adrenaline sours meat. So with beef, we try very hard to keep them calm, and kill them as quickly as possible.
It is in the plants best interest to keep the birds as calm as possible (I do not know anything about hanging them upside down and electrocution them but if it is Gov. approved they are probably following a procedure)
Butcher day is hard, no way around it. It helps to remember your birds had a happy full life, and one bad day.
 

SillyBird

In the Brooder
Sep 4, 2015
79
10
43
Nova Scotia
Thank you for your reply. It is a very difficult topic and I think one many of us would rather turn a blind eye to. (Sure wish I had). I agree that keeping them calm is crutial. I did remind myself the day we took the birds to the plant that they did have a good life with us, plenty of space to move around, loving care, but I still cried when we drove away. Anyway, if anyone else has any thoughts on the processing plants, or experiences, I would like to hear them if you are willing to share. Thank you. : )
 

blucoondawg

Songster
6 Years
Jan 27, 2013
1,650
204
206
Northern Wisconsin
I'm not sure if that is exactly how they do it but I would think it would be a good method they birds will usually calm right down when held upside down and the electrical shock would likely knock them out instantly then throat cut and bleed out would cause death within the first few seconds of the electricity didn't kill them. A fast kill and calm bird is beneficial too as they seem to pluck easier that way which is why pithing used to be used, some still do it with success
 

blucoondawg

Songster
6 Years
Jan 27, 2013
1,650
204
206
Northern Wisconsin
Ya generally when you grab a chicken by the legs and hold it upside down it will flap and raise heck for a few seconds, some fuss a little longer but eventually they give up and will just hang there calmly. That's why kill cones work well the birds don't really kick about and try to jump out
 

Free Feather

Songster
5 Years
Aug 1, 2014
1,768
117
168
Southwestern Pennsylvania
I honestly cannot see how dunking a chicken head first in water, especially/even if electrocuted, will calm it down. You would be better off doing it at home. Regulations like that are to look better to people, I highly doubt it helps the animal.
 

blucoondawg

Songster
6 Years
Jan 27, 2013
1,650
204
206
Northern Wisconsin
Well it calms it down by using electricity to knock the bird out or "stun" them the kill is made by bleeding out just like the killing cone method at home but the birds are already unconscious due to the electric stun. It's no different than if your were to whack them in the head with a stick to knock them out before slitting their throat at home. They are calm when hung upside down just because that's the way chickens are it's a sort of tonic immobility many animals demonstrate that if put in the proper position, the calmness had nothing to do with being dunked in water
 
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Egghead_Jr

Crowing
10 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,482
3,548
436
NEK, VT
Chickens go limp when upside down. If I can't calm a bird down before dispatching I too hold it by the feet until it's limp then hatchet. Prefer to pet it and calm it by holding but sometimes it's not enough. The processing plant seems a good way to dispatch. A despaired bird would tense up and cause plucking to be harder; it's in the processors interest to dispatch the quickest and stress free way possible.
 

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