Humane Dispatcher of chickens

ewesfullchicksJanuary 20, 2008

I'm trying to find a way I can bring myself to kill my own chickens, rather than taking them to my long-suffering neighbor. So far, I've only taken two to him, and gave him one pure-bred bird for breeding. However, I plan to actually get meat chickens and would like to become "independent", or at least strike up a proper business-barter relationship with him.

First of all.....I need the method to be as quick and painless for the bird as possible, and I've researched it.

Secondly.....I need to be able to do it. That's the hardest part.

I've been looking at "humane dispatchers" from the UK, and trying to see if I could actually use it. I cannot bring myself to wring a chicken's neck, slit its throat, or chop it's head off, so now I'm asking myself is driving a spike through it's head, or squeezing the nerves on either side of it's neck any easier for me to do?

I thought maybe I could shoot a bird point-blank, but I only have an ancient S&W. My neighbor assures me that I'll end up shooting myself from bouncing bullets.

If he would only say, I'm going to charge you xyz for killing each chicken, I'd be perfectly happy! Of course, he says, well you help me sell my stuff, and that's what neighbors are for...At the moment, he's killed two birds for me, and I've given him one.

I can do all the plucking and cleaning (which he can't).


First - what has been the easiest method for novices to begin to butcher chickens (relatively painlessly)

Two -- in the HIGHLY likely event that I just can't kill my own chickens, what is a fair trade? e.g. for each X chickens you kill you get one free?

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The simplest way and painless for the bird:

Get a tree stump or large log. On the flat top of the stump, pound in two nails so they're about 1.5" apart and protruding from the flat top of the stump a couple of inches. Grab the bird by the feet, slide the neck between the nails, lightly tap the nails together so the neck is snugly held by the nails. Stretch the neck a little, then cut the neck with one decisive stroke of a hatchet. Good night, sweet prince. This methods costs almost nothing, causes instant death, and always works.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 4:09PM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

There was a posting in the past year or so about killing chickens. As I recall, the recommended practice was to use a "killing cone" - a bag in which the bird hung upside down, and when the veins in the neck were cut, it died and bled out hanging there - no flapping or running around the yard. I would imagine that if you searched the forum, or googled, for killing cone for fowl, you would find info and instructions on making one.

Something about hanging upside down from their feet seems to quiet birds, so they just hang there.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 4:22PM
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McMurray and Stromberg chicken catalogs have killing cones.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 8:58AM
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I have killing cones and they do work, but they cost a little money and it requires more skill than the hatchet chop. Ideally you slice the jugular but not the trachea. Takes a little practice.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 8:09PM
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Someone who had chickens said you can make your own with a traffic cone. It works, I have used it when i butchered some birds.

Once you kill a few, it gets easier, as long as the chicken isn't a pet. IMO it's easier to kill birds is t the hard part!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 9:07PM
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Thank you so much for your replies. My neighbor kills my chickens with stoneunhenged preferred method - chopping the heads off with a hatchet.

I'll probably just need to continue to rely on him!

I've got stuff I can make a killing cone from (just not as sanitary), but I know I cannot slit the chicken's throat myself!

What a wonderful neighbor I've got.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 11:45PM
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beth_b_kodiak(zone 5a)

Dad and DH were the official "chicken dispatchers" occasionally we had a neighbor lady do it and she would kill and clean at a ration of one for three.
Take her 4 chickens and three came back ready to go into either the pot or freezer.
Since the killing is the quick easy (if you can do it at all) part of the job, I don't think three for one is such a good deal for just killing.
I do think it is easier with practise but I can't kill them either. Good luck

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 6:08AM
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metal cones put the bird in upside down hole in end of cone, cone is nailed to post, head comes out hole, take knife cut head from bird, it can not flop around and get bruised up it drains, dip it in boiling water pluck and clean. It is very simple, my mom and I use to butcher about 1000-1500 chickens, just the two of us a year for other people. I don't butcher any more animals, I buy chicken breast, I know shame on me, but after about 5 year butchering that many a year does it to you.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 5:45PM
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We use to do a few hundred a year and used the killing cone. It was quick and clean. We didn't sever the head because we use them for soup stock and run it on the picker while still attached to the bird. Tom

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 3:05PM
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instant painless kill-a can of pennies and a pipe.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 10:26AM
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jpatti(z6 PA)

If your neighbor can kill but can't butcher, that's a perfect trade.

My hubby can kill, but can't butcher. I can butcher, but can't kill. Neither of us is fond of plucking.

So... he kills a few while I start the plucking, then once I've got butchering to do, he takes over the plucking, etc. We're a perfect team.

Note we don't raise meat chickens, this is just culling our egg flock periodically. We only keep 8 hens and 2 roosters over winter cause our coop is small. The flock grows to 20-30 in the summer (we let every hen who goes broody hatch out a clutch), so we cull every fall.

This is a "compromise" in that we don't get enough chicken for our needs, but we do get way more eggs than we and everyone we know needs.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 12:07PM
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