slaughtering and butchering animals

Discussion in 'Breeding, Raising, Feeding and Caring for Animals' started by pebble, May 1, 2011.

  1. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    I suppose this is the right forum, tecnically ;-) Following on from the guinea pig thread, I had some questions about the best ways to kill animals that gives them (and us) the least suffering. Particularly interesting in guinea pigs because they seem like something that most people could raise but how many would know how to slaughter (and butcher) them?

    Anyone here killing their own stock and care to share how they do it?

    How to you manage your own feelings about the act?
     
  2. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    When I was a kid, it was my job to chop chooks heads off with a tomohawk.
    A recipe for PTSD! Wish I'd known about cutting their throats, which is much less horrible.
    All the people I know who have large stock consider shooting them with a .22 by far the least stressfull and painful way to kill an animal.
    As for guinea pigs, the guy in paradisi's link just popped out the back and bonked his on the head with a spanner.
     
  3. barefootrim

    barefootrim Junior Member

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    The way I manage my own feelings about butchering stock is,,, choosing not to do it, and choosing not to eat flesh.

    I'm nutritionally healthy and get by just fine on vegies, grains, nuts, fruits, eggs, mushrooms and water,,,,, even whilst doing vast amounts of strenous physical activity.
     
  4. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Pippi, slitting their throats, it wouldn't be instant like cutting off their heads, would it.

    Well i've only killed one duck so far. I didn't find it so hard with having someone to do it with me. I think you should do it with someone else the first time so that's its quick and properly done.

    I still haven't gone my other four but i think the key is to try not to think too much about it while you are doing it. Be as quick as you can from when you catch them to when the deed is done.

    I have read that catching them at night is the best as they are calmer. They can't see so they will be easier to catch. I have caught my ducks at night to move them and noticed it was so much easier. They also struggled less.

    Have a very sharp axe or machete available. With ducks you hold the feet and the wingtips with one hand. Position them so that the lower part of their neck is resting on the block. This means tip them up a bit from the feet. This helps stop their head move around too much. Because muscovies are so big and strong, (the drakes are anyway), it really is better to do it with someone else's help or at least practice catching them and holding them a few times before trying to kill them.

    I think to also make the whole thing quicker, try to tame your birds so they are easier to catch and will feel less stressed when you are carrying them. This is difficult with ducks because they don't like human contact at all and are nervous creatures. Chickens are less nervous. So anyway with all of them, as they are growing up practice catching them often. They males have very sharp claws so you have to be careful with those. They can give you a nasty cut.
     
  5. adrians

    adrians Junior Member

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    i only do chickens at the moment, soon sheep.. with my chooks I do the following

    1) get up around first light, when the chickens are still effectively asleep - ideally before first light
    2) put them in a large cardboard box - minimise squarking, they should be calm
    place a large cloth over the box to make it completely dark - I use an old wool-pack or heavy curtain
    3) take them to where I do the slaughtering, which is a nice spot in a little orchard area under some bannana palms - leave them in the dark - they will effectively be asleep
    4) while they are sleeping / settling down prepare everything I need, table, small axe, sharpen knives, get hot water urn going
    5) prepare the required number of looped bailing twine for their feet
    6) keeping the box dark, feel around for two matching feet, holding them firmly, place the slip-knot over them - they are basically asleep so don't really know what's going on.
    7) turn the chook upside down, and hold in the dark.. they make let out a litte sqark - but usually not - holding them upside down seems t o keep them asleep
    8) I then get them out of the box, put them on the table, hook the string onto a screw on the side of the table and hold the chook's head (covering eyes to keep them asleep) they are always quite calm, and never need holding down
    9) with one firm blow of the axe the deed is done.. their nerves will make them flap, but it is instant.

    I then hang them for a while before doing the rest.
    No-one enjoys this job, particularly not me, but our chickens have a good life, they scratch and do what chickens do.. they seem to have a natural range since we currently don't have a front fence and they don't cover more than about an acre or two during the day.

    I'd prefer to having chicken that has been raised this way, and figure I should be able to do this if I'm goign to eat chicken.
     
  6. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    Apparently slitting a chook's throat is just as fast and painless as chopping it's head off.
    The main thing for me was, I was basically too small and immature to manage an axe and a chook at the same time.
    What were my parent's thinking!
    On my PDC, our teacher killed a chook in the Halal way. It was the first time I'd seen someone take an animal's life with real respect and thankfulness.
    I realised that while killing a small animal is physically quite easy, I'd always avoided taking responsibility for causing death. It was a bit of an epiphany really.
     
  7. Susan Girard

    Susan Girard Junior Member

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    Rabbits and Guinea pigs have quite thin skulls so a knock on the head puts then out cold, then slit their throat.
    My suggestion is don't name them, and have them more or less the same colour, much easier.
     
  8. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Yes I think knocking animals on the head isn't the best for killing them. Making them unconscious and slitting their throats makes more sense. I seem to remember that once you cut the jugular vein, the massive loss of blood to the brain leads to death very quickly.

    Pippi, what's the halal way of killing a chicken?
     
  9. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    Pebble, halal is basically slitting an animal's throat, without severing the spinal cord. Pretty un-exotic!
    The teacher also said an Islamic prayer after he killed the chook, but I don't know if that's a prescribed part of the process.
    I assume you would have to be a member of the faith , otherwise you're just cutting its throat...
     
  10. garnede

    garnede Junior Member

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    For chickens you have 2 quick and effective methods. First is a chopping block and a hatchet, death is instant but there will be a lot of thrashing and blood sprays all over. The other method is a killing cone and slitting their throat. When a chicken is upside down they reflexively relax. This is probably more painful for the bird, the spine is still attached, but it is still quick and effective. It also contains the movement and blood. Catching chickens after dark and transporting them by holding them by their feet and letting their body dangle is the safest for both you and the bird. This works for most poultry, but not large birds like emu's.

    Emu's due to the difficulty of catching even "domesticated" ones are best shot in the head for a quick kill and little meat damage. If you live in an area where firing a firearm is not allowed or you do not feel confident in your shooting ability then you will need to place a rope around their neck while they eat. Then lead them to a stall that squeezes their body but has an opening in the center to allow them to lower their head to the chopping block. I have never done it, but I have been told that placing a bag over the bird's head will make them more docile during all of this.

    Rabbits I have only ever used one method, and it requires 2 people. One person grabs the rabbit by the hind legs and holds it over the chopping block, while the other grabs the ears to extend it's neck and uses the hatchet. Rabbits will kick and flail after decapitation, so have a bucket or pail beside the chopping block for the person holding the hind legs to prevent the spray going everywhere.

    Fish are fairly easy, but for those who don't know: Take a stick 12-24 inches long and 1-2 inches in diameter to hit the fish between the eyes/on top of the head. This will stun the fish, but not kill them. This is because a large fish can be difficult to handle while it is squirming and it makes using a knife dangerous. Once the fish is stunned take a knife and cut the "throat" where the gills meet the lower jaw. This severs the main artery to the fishes gills and causes it to bleed out quickly. If you hit it on the head too hard you can kill it and the heart will not be able to pump the blood out.

    Pigs, goats, sheep, cows, and other livestock that you choose to butcher at home can all follow the same method. Take a .22 caliber rifle or pistol that shoots .22 long rifle cartridges. Place the muzzle of the gun behind the animals ear, aiming forward into the skull and fire a single shot. The bullet will have enough energy to enter the skull, but not exit. This causes the bullet to ricochet around inside the skull and destroy the brain. This causes instant death, without damaging any meat. Always fire from behind the ear, it is the thinnest bone in the skull, otherwise the round can bounce off of the animal and injure bystanders, pets, or unintended livestock.

    Large animals should be killed during cool or cold weather. This allows you a little more time to dress the animal before it begins to spoil. The traditional time for pigs is 1 month after the first frost on a cold morning. Many root vegies and plants become sweeter and more nutritious after the first frost. This lets the pigs take advantage of the extra nutrition and you to use the cold weather to your benefit.
    Small animals can be killed during warm weather, but should be slaughtered in the cool of the day, early morning or late evening. Mornings work best as it will be cooler and you will not loose the light in the middle of cleaning.

    If you get to the point where killing an animal does not bother you, then there is a problem. I have killed over a thousand animals from a dozen species, but it still makes me a little sad to kill an animal. You should never have to kill all day everyday, this will desensitize you. That is when people start abusing animals for amusement, often seen in commercial slaughter houses.
     
  11. rustguard

    rustguard New Member

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    I Totally respect your view, I have a vegan friend who also practices what he preaches.

    What I cant tolerate is people who are disgusted by the mention of killing and dressing your own meat yet happily go to the supermarket and buy steak etc

    Halal the animal is also supposed to be facing mecca at time of slaughter. Many slaugter houses are built with their killing floor facing mecca so they can get this market share. because of the prays said at the time of death most jews and many fundamentalist christians do not eat it.

    When killing game it is very important to bleed the animal, this is integral to both kushrite, and halal.
     
  12. garnede

    garnede Junior Member

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    It is also important to bleed an animal for the quality of the meat.
     
  13. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    I'd always thought halal slaughter involved facing Mecca, but I couldn't see it mentioned on Wikipedia and decided I must have made it up!
    I should have checked more thoroughly before posting.
     
  14. Cybil

    Cybil Junior Member

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    Fascinating and informative garnede
     
  15. garnede

    garnede Junior Member

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  16. Cybil

    Cybil Junior Member

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    Joe Salatin's book "Pastured Poultry Profits" is a great read for raising etc of chickens for both meat and eggs.
     
  17. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

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  18. adrians

    adrians Junior Member

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    thanks grasshopper.. should be usefull.
    On one hand, after watching 4 corners the other night, I was appalled and disgusted, and thought, far out can I do this?
    But on the other, I've helped my father do this, and I know it doesn't have to be cruel.

    It will, however , make me work extra hard on having a nice, secure and pleasant area prepared, and having an extremely sharp knife, and further more, to use every part of the animal we can.
     
  19. Glenn18

    Glenn18 Junior Member

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    A cone/knife for the chickens,small ball pien hammer for the wabbits and a .22 for the sheep.
    I named all our farm stock,I don't like No-name brands.
     
  20. Mudman

    Mudman Junior Member

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    Saw a show teh othe rnight about Mongolia.
    The yslaughtered a goat by knocking it unconscious with a hammer and then they cut a slit near its heart and pulled the heart out.
    All seemed very quick, clean and painless.
    Not my kinda thing, would only ever kill anything unless it was a survival thing
    Kurt
     

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