**Sort of poll** How do YOU process your birds?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by PineBurrowPeeps, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. I wanted to take a poll of sorts to see the most popular way on this forum of slaughtering the birds.
    Please reply with a choice and how long you have been using that method.
    Here are the choices:

    Axe to chop off head

    Cleaver to chop off head

    Machete to chop off head

    Other to chop off head

    Knife to slice throat

    Other to slice throat

    Break neck with hands

    Break neck with broomhandle

    Other method break neck

    Other method alltogether, not listed here (what is it?)

    My birds are due to be done at the very end of this month of the very beginning of next depending on their weighs at the end of the month since they've been slower than I thought... I'm starting to make a short list of materials I need to gather for the job and yet I still have no idea as a newbie what method I should try my first time.

    Also, what is a realistic amount of birds I should expect to do with my husband our first time? We have 25 right now. I don't think we could possibly get them all done in one day. Do you think 10 is a do-able amount?

    Oh and what do you guys do with all the blood?! I'm thinking I'll get a couple 5 gallon buckets to catch it all in but then what do I do with it?

  2. LilRalphieRoosmama

    LilRalphieRoosmama Officially Quacked

    Oct 15, 2007
    Elyria, OH
    I used the axe/chopping block method. It worked ok but next time I might try the cone/knife.

    I drained into 5 gal buckets and just rinsed them out. There's alot less blood than you'd think. Good luck!
  3. Peruvian

    Peruvian Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    I've found the chickens are much more 'quiet' if the neck arteries are cut but the windpipe is intact. They don't seem to realize that they are bleeding.
  4. HillCountryMomma

    HillCountryMomma Songster

    Mar 16, 2008
    My husband and I have done it two ways now:

    Whacking the head off with a sharp object (we used a machete, but an axe or clever or what ever would be about the same. Just needs to be sharp!)

    And hanging upside down and cutting the jugular.

    The later works MUCH better in my opinion.

    A chicken's head is mounted quite securely to it's neck and the neck is pretty hard to cut through. There is a spot between the head and neck where it's pretty easy to make the two part company, but if you don't get that exact spot it's something of a challenge! I think the idea behind an axe is that you use a lot of blunt force. Great if your aim is true, the bird cooperates and you just take off it's head. If you have to smack it a couple times and it's flopping around odds are real high you're going to do something icky like smash it's crop (ask me how I know!!).

    If you hang them upside down (I want to get/make a cone to prevent them from hurting themselves when they flop as they die) the birds are very calm. You slice the jugular, they die quickly. The skin is tough and loose so it slides around. You almost have to poke the knife in, then pull out and slide the vein. I've seen/done this method twice now and it's very neat.

    There is very little blood. We did 8 birds this morning (DH and I) and just bled them onto the ground. What was left (after cats, chickens and the dogs dug through it) I just hosed into the dirt and it was gone).

    You could do 10 or more in a day if you have everything laid out well and no distractions. It took us about 5 hours to get our birds done, but I had all kinds of distractions. Realized as we started that the cows were up and I had to run down and feed them. My 4 kids wanted to 'help', we had to reheat the scald water, I hadn't already caught all the birds up so we had to walk back and forth out to their pasture. etc. Organized and without interuptions, it would have been a few hours work.

    The most time consuming part is plucking! I HATE hand plucking!!! Killing takes maybe 5 mins. Gutting only takes me maybe 6-7 mins (it's very easy). Plucking... ugh... way to long! Then there's all your clean up time of both the birds and your equipment.

    Oh, we did all our butchering outside. Under the shade of a big tree it was really nice this morning even in Texas!

  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I use a knife, cut the throat, and then pull off the head with my hands. If I'm not saving the blood in a bowl of salt water to make a tofu consistency blood gelatin, then it just goes on the ground. Rest of left overs go into a hole I used to dig and fill in... but without fail, it gets dug up, so just gets dumped into a hole in the woods now.

    10 can be doable, but if you want to "test it out" try like 4 or so and get a feel for it. I usually only do 4-6 at a time, but I do it myself. I also skin the birds so it's fast. Off like a jacket. Do have to scald the feet though so we can use them for soup. Don't forget to withhold feed for at least 12 hours so the mass of "guts" is much less along with risk of contamination.
  6. smith2

    smith2 Songster

    Jan 5, 2008
    Paris, TN
    I use a broomhandle to break the neck. When they stop wiggling, I cut the neck to bleed them. I hate the initial kill, but once I get it done, I'm OK with the rest.

    When I tried the chopping method first, the blood went everywhere. We were in the process of moving a little shed at the time which left a casket sized bare dirt spot in the yard. A couple of my students pulled up with their dad about that time. I had some explaining to do. Here I stand, covered in blood, beside this casket-shaped dirt area. The youngest (2nd grade) said "What does a chicken casket look like?"
  7. zatsdeb

    zatsdeb Songster

    Oct 2, 2007
    Lincoln, Illinois
    my hubby just holds them upside down and steps on the neck and holds it down ,quickly, and pulls off the heads, then he holds them for a bit and lays them down on the ground.
  8. menageriemama

    menageriemama Songster

    Feb 2, 2008
    Lake Nebagamon, WI
    We hang ours upside down by their feet and quickly slice the neck. We tried a cone, but had the unhappy experience of the bird flopping out of it [​IMG] .
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2008
  9. spook

    spook Songster

    Apr 21, 2008
    North Central Florida
    Now I've seen meat birds done 2 ways, the knife to the throat and the ax. I choose the ax because then they don't look me in the eye! Try to keep them calm lay them out and wack.
    What do you all do with plucking? Do you dip them into boiling water? Done both ways, hot water and no water. If we had 1 bird to kill, you could pluck it quick enough, but if you had a bunch, then you dipped them into steaming hot water to release the feathers.
    Seeing one reply of skinning, what else do you all choose to do, also what do you use to freeze your meaties? Aluminum foil, freezer paper, sealable bags or even the vacume type bags?
  10. LilRalphieRoosmama

    LilRalphieRoosmama Officially Quacked

    Oct 15, 2007
    Elyria, OH
    I don't skin because to me, that's the best part!! I use a Foodsaver and vacuum seal mine. Sometimes that can be tricky, so I also double-Ziploc them.

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