(You might want to skip
this post if you don’t eat your chickens and consider them to be
pets. It won’t really get graphic, but might be a bit
There are many ways
to kill a chicken, but most sources recommend slitting the throat
since the chicken dies very quickly and the blood drains out well,
resulting in high-quality meat. You can buy kill cones
designed to keep the chicken in place during this throat-slitting
maneuver, but it never seemed worth our while to pony up $50 for
something so simple. Instead, we’ve
been using an upside-down-tomato bucket for the last five years as
a kill cone for our broilers.
However, as Mark
mentioned in the previously-linked post, the large hole in our
tomato bucket (black in the photo above) allowed more-wily
broilers to get a toenail in beside their heads, and in the
worst-case scenario, a chicken has been known to break the rubber
band around her legs, push herself out of the bucket and run off
before we were able to turn her into dinner. Even after we
changed over from rubber bands to rope, that tomato bucket
seemed sub-par, so Mark finally decided to build a better
chicken-killing bucket. I kept notes so you could follow
along at home.
The first improvement Mark
made was to choose a taller bucket. Even though 5-gallon
buckets are the most ubiquitous, you can sometimes find 6- or
7-gallon buckets, both of which make it less likely that a chicken
can back out and make a run for it.
Next, Mark used a
hole saw to cut a 2-1/8-inch hole in the bottom of the
bucket. This hole seems to be a perfect fit for the old hens
we were processing at the time, letting the head stick through
with very little wiggle room. The smooth edges to the hole
will also prevent broilers from hurting themselves if they
Finally, Mark screwed
three pieces of 2×4 to the inside of the bucket. This
narrows the interior and wedges the broiler in place so it can’t
jerk around so much and become bruised after its throat is slit.
Mark still prefers to
hold the head of each broiler in place after slitting its throat,
but I suspect that even without that precaution, chickens won’t be
able to back out of this new-and-improved bucket. Total cost
for the bucket was maybe 50 cents since we had all the parts as
scrap except the store-bought screws.
One reader commented
on Mark’s post to say she used a traffic cone to kill her
broilers. What do you use?
the best life until the last minute, provide clean water in
our POOP-free chicken