• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Killing Cones for slaughtering meat birds

 
Allen Frost
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In addition to an occasional straight run of layers where I slaughter the cockrels, I also raise a few batches of 50 straight run cornish cross and slow grow broilers. The meat birds are raised on pasture in a Salatin style moveable pen.
I use two killing cones during slaughter. One I made from sheet metal and one was purchased. My problem is that very often during the final shutters of the chickens nervous system shutting down, the chicken will come out of the cone and then flail around on the ground until I pick it up and put it back in. This last batch was especially good at ejecting from the cones. The one I made is quite deep where the entire chicken is in the cone and the purchased one is less deep but wider and was designed for meat birds.
I am thinking of using a bungee cord to try to hold them in but was wondering if anyone else had come up with a better solution.
allen
 
Bob Blackmer
Posts: 31
Location: East Greenwich, Rhode Island
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It happens sometimes. I think the most important thing is to make sure the legs are pulled back before the kill is made. Sometimes smaller birds will get a leg or both forward and that gives them the leverage to kick out. The size of the cone and angle of the sides can make quite a difference, as well as the opening on the bottom. The bungee cord may help you , but I would spend more time fiddling with the shape and size of the cone. I'd say there is probably no perfect design but making the killing process as quick as possible makes the whole of processing chickens more enjoyable. Adding a step of securing the bird would slow things down a bit. We have purchased some real bad factory made cones so I wouldn't necessarily count on that being the best design. I hope you figure something out. Like you said about your last batch, sometime they're just a little more wily! I realize I didn't offer much help but it's another opinion at least.
 
Jay Green
Posts: 587
8
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes, I recently gave a processing demonstration where the people had these very deep, neatly made killing cones of aluminum flashing. They were a disaster as each and every bird was able to flail about so much that it popped out the top. I was quite disgusted with the inefficiency and ugliness of it all,as many were there to see chickens killed for the first time.

Finally I had to explain why this was happening so they wouldn't get the idea that this was all part of the process and necessary. It isn't. The cones that they were using are slick, not at all shaped to provide good conformation to the chicken's body and were too wide at the top to prevent the birds from getting their legs back in and levering themselves out of the cone. Because there was not allowance for the shoulder width in these cones, the birds could easily shrug their shoulders and wings enough to contribute to the flopping out as well. They also could withdraw their heads back into the cones making it necessary to reach up and get them over and over.

Then I pulled out my $3 2 gal. bleach jug cone, mounted it on the fence and showed them how a killing cone is supposed to perform. The birds we were killing that day were approx. 13 lb CX birds and a few BO hens. They all fit equally well in the bleach jug cone, not one bird was able to flop out, no excessive struggling could be performed because feet were outside the jug and could not be placed back into the cone, the shoulders couldn't shrug..they fit tightly into the jug that molded neatly around their bodies as their weight pulled against the plastic.

Here's a few pics of the cheapest, best cone one can use...and they've never let me down, last for years, are easy to clean and hold any size bird I've been able to grow~with never a bird flopping out even once:



 
Allen Frost
Posts: 7
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The bleach bottles are awesome! I paid a lot of money for the purchased cone and it is worse than the one I made. I think you are both right in that, if the feet get back inside the cone they can push themselves out. It's not that they are trying to get out but the convulsions that come with death just force their legs to contract and that is what makes them pop out.
I'll try to keep their feet out of the cone next time, which is next Friday and I will also try the bleach bottle cone.
Thanks for your suggestions.
This batch is a little smaller than last time too running around 4 lbs instead of close to 5 lbs. That probably allows them to get their feet inside.
While I was thinking longer cones were the answer, maybe it's shorter cones.
 
Kelly Smith
Posts: 699
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
18
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We use cleaned road cones similar to the picture below (not me)


we havent had any issue with birds working themselves out of the cones.

hope this helps.
 
Jessica Gorton
Posts: 274
Location: Central Maine - Zone 4b/5a
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Are there any other 2 gal jugs that people have found that worked as well? I'd like to raise chickens, but I'm not a fan of bleach...
 
Bob Blackmer
Posts: 31
Location: East Greenwich, Rhode Island
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jay~ I like the bleach bottle idea. That's some great recycling/up-cycling. I was wondering how you attached them to what ever you might be using, and how long do they hold up?
 
Allen Frost
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bob Blackmer wrote:Jay~ I like the bleach bottle idea. That's some great recycling/up-cycling. I was wondering how you attached them to what ever you might be using, and how long do they hold up?


I don't buy plastic milk jugs and try to avoid plastic as much as possible but when I need a jug (for picking berries) I go to the recycling center where I can get all I want.
 
Jay Green
Posts: 587
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bob Blackmer wrote:Jay~ I like the bleach bottle idea. That's some great recycling/up-cycling. I was wondering how you attached them to what ever you might be using, and how long do they hold up?


I attach them with roofing tacks..they have a broad head that doesn't pull through the plastic. They can last for quite a few years like that. One can even place a piece of wood over the jug lip and attach the nails to the wood so that the stress points are not on the plastic directly around the nails but I've never had to do that. I've not had one pull through and fall down yet and that's with many a heavy bird being processed.
 
Jay Green
Posts: 587
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jessica Gorton wrote:Are there any other 2 gal jugs that people have found that worked as well? I'd like to raise chickens, but I'm not a fan of bleach...


But your neighbor may be....ask around about who uses bleach and see if they can start to purchase it in the 2 gal. instead of the 1 gal. jugs...offer to pay for it, if you have no other way of obtaining one. I've not found any other kind of jug that conforms to the body as well as the bleach jug though some report using kitty litter jugs and such, I've not tried them. They don't seem to have the right shape, from just eyeballing them.
 
Allen Frost
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I wanted to provide an update on the self ejecting chickens. I processed more chickens this past Friday and added a bungee cord across the top of the cone making sure that the birds feet and legs were out of the cone.

Without the cord, the bird pulls his feet in which causes him to eject during the final shutters.

I just put nails on either side of the post to hook the cord to. This worked quite well and was easy to use. I did not have one bird self eject the entire day.
0802131827.jpg
[Thumbnail for 0802131827.jpg]
Killing Cone with bungee cord
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic