so we killed some roosters yesterday. we use a kill cone and a sharp knife to cut the arteries in the neck. one big difference this time around was the blindfolds.
before we moved each rooster to the cone, we put a makeshift blindfold made of gauze and medical tape over his eyes. it seemed to really calm down them down. none of the three seemed really thrilled to have the blindfold on, but their bodies seemed much more relaxed while I carried them to their doom and their heart rates seemed much lower than when I had picked them up to separate them the night before.
a little background about our birds: they're all incubated and raised by broody hens, so they're far from tame. they aren't afraid to be around us, but they really don't like being handled. it makes some things more difficult, but my observation leads me to believe that these birds are better foragers and watch out for predators better than chickens that aren't raised by hens.
slaughtering is not something I enjoy, so I'm always trying to make things less stressful for the birds and the folks doing the job and to streamline the whole process. there's a long way yet to go, but I think we're making progress. I'll be using the blindfolds in the future, though I might try for a better design. maybe a falconry blindfold if the price isn't exorbitant...