Question: slicing throat vs. cutting head off when processing

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Peruvian, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. Peruvian

    Peruvian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is there a benefit when processing in a killing cone to slicing the throat but keeping the head intact versus cutting the birds head off? The finality of cutting the head off seems more reasonable to me to ensure that I have killed the bird quickly and there is no pain, but if there is a reason not to maybe I will try to slice the jugular vein only in the future.
     
  2. UncleHoot

    UncleHoot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This debate keeps coming up here. From what I've seen, there are valid arguments on both sides. For me, it's sort of like asking, "Pull the band-aid off quickly or slowly?" Personally, I don't feel that one way is more humane than the other, as slitting the jugular is almost like going to sleep.
     
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  3. aladatrot

    aladatrot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've never processed a bird, but I have been trying to read up for my near future. Did I read that removing the head locks the feathers onto the skin whereas scrambling the brain after the chicken is dead helps to release them?

    Could someone vouch for this, or is it a maybe kind of thing?

    Thanks!
    M
     
  4. FutureChickenMan

    FutureChickenMan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The theory behind the slicing the throat is this, the heart keeps beating and pumps the blood out of the body more efficiently and there's less flapping and all that since the spinal cord isn't severed. However, the bird is fully aware of what's going on for however long it takes to lose consciousness.

    Severing the head means flapping around etc but the death for the bird is quick as the blood supply to the brain is cut off (no pun intended) instantly.

    I'm a chop the head off guy and I haven't noticed any excess blood hanging around in the body with that method. But I also hang them immediately after lopping the head off. I don't let them run around or lay on the ground. It's take the head off, hang it up. Becasue the spinal cord is severed the body goes nuts and at the same time the heart is pumping like mad so all the blood comes out anyway.

    I look at it this way, if I were to die, I'd want it to be quick and have no idea it was comming.
     
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  5. FutureChickenMan

    FutureChickenMan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:a good scald makes the feather come right out. Or, skin it.
     
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  6. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm doing mine this weekend and I plan to slice- from what I understand, it gets a bit more blood out, as the heart continues to beat, whereas severing the brainstem stops the heart and blood basically drains out, leaving a bit more in the meat. The bird lives longer with the slice method, but I hardly call it "cruel." It sounds worse than it is- we've all cut ourselves many times. A clean cut hardly hurts at all. While differences to the meat are certainly debatable, I'd rather get the blood out, personally. I'm sure that the bird would prefer neither method, but to be blunt, as long as it's not torturing or causing intentional pain, I really don't care much that the bird sees it coming or bleeds for a few seconds while conscious.
     
  7. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    I prefer slicing the throat. It seems less traumatic as they just 'go to sleep' and they bleed out with less thrashing about. I've also heard people who 'brain' them, by pushing the knife up through the rough of the mouth which allegedly loosens the feathers. But, I noticed my processor doesn't bother with it.
     
  8. dixygirl

    dixygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This thread is very helpful. I now understand the benefit of a cone over the animal's head like blinders so that it does not see anything coming. I guess I would lean toward the chop also because I could see that you could make a mistake trying to slice the throat and cause suffering and anxiety.

    I am still struggling with whether I could dispatch any of my animals. My only experience is once taking a poodle that I had had for 15 years to the Vet to be put down. He had been my friend for a large portion of my life but was ailing and suffering. I stroked him and talked to him gently as the injection was administered. We peered into each other's eyes for the last time... eye to eye as I watched the calm look in his eyes freeze and fade to blankness.
    [​IMG] I buried him in the yard.

    [​IMG] I don't know if I can ever do it at all honestly.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2008
  9. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Wow, what a sad and touching post- thanks for sharing your story. I think the key is being able to disassociate them from pets. I'm not even sure I could watch a vet put my dogs down- I have no idea how I'll be able to handle it when that time comes. On the other hand, I have no reservations whatsoever about butchering my birds- I could never do anything "cruel" to any animal, but the the Cornish Rocks are walking meat at this point, and all the feathers and guts are just standing between me and the fried chicken I've been waiting so long for.

    Another note about processing that I'm not sure about- if chickens are like mammals it's important to keep them calm before butchering. For example, I know that if you shoot a deer that has been running or stressed (or ran a distance after being shot,) the lactic acid built up in the muscles affects the flavor of the meat. Seems like that would be true in chickens as well- as in, it probably would be better not to kill the bird immediately after you chased it around the yard awhile trying to catch it.
     
  10. Shaun Hagan

    Shaun Hagan Out Of The Brooder

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    Another note about processing that I'm not sure about- if chickens are like mammals it's important to keep them calm before butchering. For example, I know that if you shoot a deer that has been running or stressed (or ran a distance after being shot,) the lactic acid built up in the muscles affects the flavor of the meat. Seems like that would be true in chickens as well- as in, it probably would be better not to kill the bird immediately after you chased it around the yard awhile trying to catch it.

    I was wondering if this was the case as well. I was planning on killing mine very early in the morning so I could grab them out of the coop when they are still dozy and take care of business before they were fully aware of it and could struggle. I figured it would be easier on all concerned too.​
     

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