I am in the Asheville, NC Area at the time of this posting. Make sure, if you are in the area as well, to email me. I may be able to hang out one day, or even get a group of people together!
There are many methods of slaughtering the chickens. Let me teach you the 2 easy method of slaughtering chickens – by “cone” and by “bucket.”
When keeping chickens, whether for eggs or fryers, you eventually will find yourself at a point to determine whether to slaughter it yourself, or to take it to a butcher to do.
If you are doing fryers, you may do well to get a professional setup to make everything go quickly. There are also traveling butchers that will come to your place of business to do mass slaughter and butchering.
If you are an egg-chicken type of person, you will eventually get to a point that you should slaughter your prized hens, because after 3-4 years, their production will be extremely limited, but their consumption isn’t. They become a burden instead of producers.
So it is always good to have a rotation of your egg layers to the freezer before the meat is too tough. If you have 9 layers (and you should always have a few more than needed), you could rotate them in groups of three, using colored zip ties to keep track of them. This means that every chicken will have about a 3 year life and a month or so before those birds graduate poultry university, you can have a new set of producers almost ready to produce.
I will discuss the butchering process of chickens in another post, but allow me to cover the slaughter portion of it first.
The two methods for easily slaughtering your chicken is using “the cone” or just a bucket.
For those that have a commercial setup, the cones are a great way to do it, but for those that have just a few birds, I think the bucket method is best.
If you are using the cone, you will just put your chicken, head-down, into the cone, so it is hanging upside-down.
When chickens hang upside down, it calms them down.
It makes the slaughter easier and also will reduce the amount of adrenaline getting into the meat, which will raise the quality and taste of it.
The bucket is the same idea. You can place the bucket on the ground, but to make it easier, you can place a 5-gallon bucket up on a table just below a branch of a tree.
Grab a small rope and tie a basic slipknot around the “ankle” of one of the legs. I recommend having two slipknots pre-tied before doing this.
Next, throw the rope over and around the branch of a tree where you will hang your chicken.
At the end you will want the chicken to be hanging INTO the bucket just a little, to keep everything clean.
Place the second knot over the other leg and allow the chicken to hang into the bucket a little.
At this point, both methods are basically the same for slaughtering humanely and easily. Wait for the chicken to be calm, and (it will seem) almost asleep.
At this point you will bend the neck back just a little and slice into the jugular. Make sure it is a good clean cut and not to shallow and do it with a sharp knife. We don’t want to cause more pain than necessary.
The chicken usually wont even fight at all when you do this. It will probably end up flapping a few times at the very end when it starts to doze off due to how nerves twitch upon death.
If you have used the bucket method, you now have all of the life-blood in the bucket, and that is liquid gold that can be used for many different things.
At this point, you are ready to begin the butchering process, which is another post…
As I write tips for your adventures and hear about cool gear, I will let you know all about it!