What are the best tools to process birds?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by r4eboxer, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. r4eboxer

    r4eboxer Crooked Creek Poultry

    Sep 20, 2011
    I will be culling with a chopping block and using an axe. Dh and I have been shopping for some tools to butcher with. I have a cheap boning knife, and he has a cheap gutting knife. I bought a poultry set at wal mart too but none of the tools appear to be something that are going to last or do the job we want them to do.

    I have a very old sharpening wheel ( the kind you sit on like a bike and push the petals to turn) but I had a hard time getting things sharp.

    What does everyone use? I have looked around the internet and seen some really nice expensive knives but want some BTDT advice.

  2. Smiles-N-Sunshine

    Smiles-N-Sunshine Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 19, 2008
    Palominas, Arizona
    My feelings about slaughtering improved greatly after I shelled out for some quality knives and scissors. I use (and recommend) knives from Friedrich Dick, specifically their 6" boning knife, 8" double-bladed sticking knife, and poultry shears. The carbon steel holds an edge better than stainless steel, and the ergo-grip is very nice when things get messy.

    I usually have a professional knife sharpener do my knives, but after two years I haven't had to have my F. Dick knives re-edged yet. I just use a regular kitchen sharpening steel before use.

    If you're interested, I found Instawares restaurant supply to be a good online vendor of professional-quality items: http://www.instawares.com/cutlery.

    (BTW, "culling" just means you're removing an animal from the breeding stock. It can also mean rehoming, keeping as a pet, etc. Slaughtering is slaughtering.)
  3. r4eboxer

    r4eboxer Crooked Creek Poultry

    Sep 20, 2011

    Good to know, and thanks for the link I'll be checking it out and getting a budget together.
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Well... I just use a very sharp boning knife... for the whole process. No special tools. Just hold bird, slice neck, bleed out, pluck/skin, gut, and part out. The key to it all though is sharp. You want sharp sharp sharp. Dull knives are a pain. And re-hone often. Feathers dull knives very quickly.
  5. Darin115

    Darin115 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2008
    Asheboro, NC
    I pay someone to process most of mine but the ones I have done I used a boning knife that was razor sharp. I sharpen them myself. If you can't get a knife razor sharp you should pay someone to sharpen it for you.

  6. redfred

    redfred New Egg

    Jan 7, 2012
    I bought a Chef's Choice three stage electric sharpener for my mother for Christmas. They are awesome. Even if you can sharpen a knife, you will love how well they put an edge and rehab your edges. Well worth the money.
  7. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:I agree. I just take my two favorite knives and a good honing tool. They sell lung scrapers; I use my fingernails.

    And a decent clamp-on thermometer is handy, though not necessary, if you're going to hot water scald.
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    The sharpest knife you can get.
    Killing cone - mine is homemade from scrap flashing.
    Several buckets, clean one for dunking in hot water and one for feathers, one for guts.
  9. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    I use the sharpest object I can find - stainless steel scalpels from havels.com [​IMG] The only other knife I use is an older heavy butcher knife to chop the head off.

    Only other tools are a bucket, cutting board, and my canning water bath pot to scald in. I use a Foodsaver to bag and seal, and maybe a bowl to put organs in that I want to keep.

    If you'd like you can see pictures step by step in my blog:

  10. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    As sharp and as inexpensive as you can find. This is my processing station, made from a reclaimed yard swing frame & etc:

    The yellow 5-gallon bucket is for scalding, I heat the water on the stovetop and my teen son hauls it out when I'm ready to pluck. There are also wire hooks on that frame between the cones so I can hang my birds by their zip-tied feet for plucking, and have 2 hands free for the job.

    For the dispatch I use a fish fillet knife that I got at WalMart, for cutting between the bones to remove legs & necks I use my Joyce Chen Unlimited Scissors (bought on clearance at my grocery store), and for cutting into the cavity I use a paring knife I bought at Sam's Club. For removing lungs I use my fingers or a grapefruit spoon.

    To keep my knives sharp I use this little sharpener I bought at the hardware store.

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