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How to Kill a Chicken the Humane Way, and Butcher it Properly

 
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Location: Tzununa, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, Central America
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"All eating is sacred"

How we kill and butcher our chickens here at Atitlan Organics. Hope you guys find this video helpful!

Best,
Colleen
Atitlan Organics
www.atitlanorganics.com

 
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The way that it was drawn out seemed a bit unnecessary, I don't like the cone method because I feel like it's traumatic and terrifying for the bird to be held upside down like that. It's much better to put them on a table, belly down with bird's neck flat down and it's back facing you, line up the knife to top of the back of the neck (right below the head) and make one very hard chop. It's instant, just as easy and less terrifying for the chicken.
 
pollinator
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I am moving toward getting some egg laying chickens.  I'd like to get broilers but I haven't wrapped my mind around butchering them.  I know that is really lame but I just don't know if I can raise something and kill it.   This isn't a judgement in anyway and I'm sure being separated from the act of killing what you eat is not a good thing.
 
Ælfred Micela
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Scott Foster wrote:I am moving toward getting some egg laying chickens.  I'd like to get broilers but I haven't wrapped my mind around butchering them.  I know that is really lame but I just don't know if I can raise something and kill it.   This isn't a judgement in anyway and I'm sure being separated from the act of killing what you eat is not a good thing.



It is difficult, I have raised rabbits for meat and it is much more difficult than chickens to do the deed because they're cute and we are socialized to see them like pets. My tips for you are don't name the ones that you plan on butchering to eat, and don't play with them either, save that for the laying hens that will be alive with you for many months. If you're going to be raising anything other than birds, like rabbits, my advice is different, handle them and play with them everyday so that when you take them out to process them they don't get scared and start screaming, because they do scream and they sound like a baby, I didn't know that the first time that I raised rabbits and it was hell. Since then I hold each one every day, get them used to being touched by me in a variety of ways so that when the day comes they don't get scared, it makes it easier.
 
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Location: Northern Maine, USA (zone 3b-4a)
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the old way is putting 2 spikes in a hardwood tree stump section then bending them to hold the head while chopping just behind the head with a very sharp hatchet i find is still the quickest humane method. one person holds the feet of the bird and the axe. the other person places the neck in betwen the spikes. one wack and its over. we just layed the dismembered bird on the ground till it bled out. use to do dozens of meat birds this way. after your done dispatching we would pick up and hose off the birds before plucking a processing. the whiole family got involved and everyone had a job. as kids we were the pluckers. my grandparents would come help do ours and we help do theirs.
 
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Location: South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
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I was talking to someone who worked in a chicken processing place, she said the industry standard method is to stun them with electricity then take the head off. Sounds like the most "humane" way but is it possible at the homestead scale? Taser?
 
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Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b) Rainfall 26"
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Steve Farmer wrote:I was talking to someone who worked in a chicken processing place, she said the industry standard method is to stun them with electricity then take the head off. Sounds like the most "humane" way but is it possible at the homestead scale? Taser?



I would say stun them by hitting the back of the skull with a short hard stick, then decapitate to make sure.  I'm uneasy about decapitating as a primary slaughter method having read theories about the head remaining conscious afterwards.  
 
pollinator
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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The head will only remain conscious if there's blood pressure enough to maintain consciousness. I wonder if the head landing upside-down would result in prolonged life in the head?

If that's the case, all that would need to happen is for the head to be encouraged to bleed out, too.

Personally, I wonder if a cattle prod on such a small organism would work to stun them for decapitation. Would it be overkill?

-CK
 
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Cutting the arteries keeps blood from reaching the head at all. No sustainable blood pressure in the head, even upside down.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
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That's pretty much what I figured.

-CK
 
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I have written an in-depth guide about this matter teaching people especially, the beginners how to butcher a chicken.

Article: https://www.desiredcuisine.com/how-to-butcher-a-chicken/

I hope it helps ^^
 
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Location: Northern Puget Sound, Zone 8A
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uehara shoyo wrote:I have written an in-depth guide about this matter teaching people especially, the beginners how to butcher a chicken.

Article: https://www.desiredcuisine.com/how-to-butcher-a-chicken/

I hope it helps ^^



Decent overview.  Some thing I personally like to do differently.  I prefer to just pull the head off after plucking.  It comes off easily and no need for shears to cut it off.  The plucking machines we can get here in the USA don't take 5-10 minutes to pluck a single bird.  The one I rented (large tub with lots of rubber fingers around the inside, and plate with more rubber fingers that would spin) could pluck 3 chickens at a time in about 20 seconds total.  I find 150F to be a nearly ideal scalding temperature, and dunking the bird and lifting it back out several times for about 2 minutes (roughly) makes the plucking go well.  160F or higher starts to cook the chicken, especially if you just leave it in the water rather than dunking and lifting out several times.
 
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