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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:49 pm 
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Golden Phoenix
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Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
I know there are a LOT of topics on the best way to dispatch one's dinner roosters, but there's not a lot on using things like culling pliers, neck crackers, and other pieces of equipment.

I've recently acquired the "culling pliers" sold by WA Poultry. I've met a lot of scepticism about their use - people evidently prefer to use their own hands/strength, such as hatchets/axes, or the various ways to break necks (flipping like a whip; pulling to dislocate; broomhandle), or cutting the jugular, or knocking firmly on the head.

That's fine, but I can't use those methods, and I know others can't either. It comes down to strength and accuracy in hands and wrist, and some of us who weren't taught the skill as youngsters simply don't have it. We would therefore like to use mechanical aids to improve swiftness and cleanliness of death.

I don't see how wanting to use these aids can be met with such scorn, but there you go.

I decided to see what might be around in the UK, where they've been keeping and killing chooks for centuries, and have enormous catalogues of stuff precisely for smallholders like ourselves. What I found was interesting.

Firstly, articles. These are almost identical but different enough to be worthy. They're pragmatic overviews but what they say will put quite a few people's hackles up, I know. Essentially, culling pliers like mine are NOT seen as a humane death. (Bugger). Mind you and however, neither is breaking the neck in general, chopping off the neck whilst the animal is conscious, or cutting the jugular whilst conscious.

http://www.countrysmallholding.co.uk/fe ... ly--211815
http://www.smallholder.co.uk/news/10854 ... ry_onfarm/

The key term is "whilst conscious". They recommend knocking the bird out FIRST and then immediately chopping off the head/cutting the jugular. I know many people in BYP already do this properly but frankly, accurately knocking out a chook is just as hard, if not more so, than killing it!

The articles' recommendations are for stunners - either bolt or electrical.

Bolt stunner for chooks: http://www.acclesandshelvoke.co.uk/index.asp?id=10&p=9.
Electrical stunner: http://www.ascott-dairy.co.uk/acatalog/ ... html#aPY91

Neither of these appear to be legal, available, or even recommended in Australia.

However, see this UK forum for counter-arguments and discussions: http://www.practicalpoultry.co.uk/cgi-b ... 15011695/0

The only Australian mechanical aids I can find are my pliers, and a wall-mounted set of pliers, both here: http://www.wapoultryequipment.net.au/ca ... -equipment

Here's the detailed search I used to find this information:

http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&q ... ic+OR+home)+(poultry+OR+chook+OR+chicken)+(process+OR+dispatch+OR+cull+OR+kill+OR+slaughter)+(tool+OR+pliers+OR+equipment)+site:uk

Now, replicate the identical search in Australia:

http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&q ... ic+OR+home)+(poultry+OR+chook+OR+chicken)+(process+OR+dispatch+OR+cull+OR+kill+OR+slaughter)+(tool+OR+pliers+OR+equipment)+site:au

The BYP article on how to kill your own chook for food is the most useful article in the list.

So what are our options? If Australians want to process 150-odd chooks a year in their own backyards, what can we buy - or make? - to help ourselves do it quickly, cleanly, safely, effectively, and above all, "humanely"?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:01 pm 
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Showy Hen
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I dont know much about mechanical aids except an axe just use that its easy i tryed braking the necks by hand heaps of times, my aunty made it look so easy but they didnt brake and i ended up pulling off the hole head lol i felt sorry for the chickens lol.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 7:52 am 
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Champion Bird
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Setting aside whether it is humane or not (and it sounds like if you don't have a commercial shocking system you can't do so) have you used the pliers info? And if so, how did you find them?

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:05 pm 
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Gallant Game
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I'm in contact with a company regarding electric stunner guns, I will let you know when I hear back from them.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:30 pm 
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Flock Master
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I love the pliers :thumbs: . I am 100% certain that death by my hand with those things is instant.As instant as I can do.
Quick and easy. I was able to break the neck easily. So quick that the chicken wouldnt have a clue it was coming. No mess, no fuss.Admittedly I have strong hands/grip.
I am very comfortable with this method. Bleeding out was done immediately after.
How anyone could think it is cruel is beyond me.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:18 pm 
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Golden Swan
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Location: Albany, Western Australia
Can you post a picture of the pliers, rayan? With something to give an idea of their size? Maybe in your hand? I am interested in trying them as I DO hate killing of any sort but it has to be done sometimes.

NellyG

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:04 pm 
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Golden Phoenix
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Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
I haven't yet personally used them, but th'Bloke has, and rayan has used mine.

I held the chook while th'Bloke actually used them, and I felt/heard the click as the neck broke. The difference in movement between chopping the neck off, cutting the jugular, and breaking the neck was indistinguishable to my eyes.

These are photos I've just taken, showing relative size. That's my hand in the photo.

Image

Image

Image


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:41 pm 
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Gallant Game
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why not try a set of fiskers bruning shears i have a small set i use for spachcock they work well they cut the neck very easy

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:37 pm 
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Golden Phoenix
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Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
Like one of these? http://www.fiskars.com/webapp/wcs/store ... reId=10001

I was thinking about that the other day. Of course, we're back to removing the head and having to contain the blood, but I reckon it would be cleaner and neater than chopping. I was trying to think about what sort of scissor-action things would do the trick.

Frankly, I think I need to invent a little guillotine ... :roll:


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:48 pm 
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Gallant Game
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yes like those but mine are alot older they keep there edge very well & easy to sharpen :thumbs:

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:23 pm 
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Golden Swan
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Thanks for the photos, info. Very clear!

NellyG

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:29 pm 
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Gallant Game
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Location: Humpty Doo NT
I think as long as you are happy that you have killed your bird as quick and as humane as YOU can it does not matter what method or equipment you use.

I would like to see a electric stunner for the hobbyist to be able to afford and use as I think that is the best way for all animals to be killed.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:54 pm 
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Golden Phoenix
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Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
Bumping due to recent discussions around the pliers, and my more recent experiences with them.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:15 pm 
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Deluxe Drake
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I know that I tried to use an axe once on my own and it was awful, I have rotten hand-eye coordination. It was definately not the kindest option, for either of us.

Since I have bantams I use the secateurs that I use on my roses, which are much like a miniature version of the culling shears. I have found this to be both quick and humane as I can settle the young bird first, they're not restrained in any way. Then I gently find their neck and hook two fingers of my left hand under their neck to stop them pulled away. I insert the blades of the secateurs between my fingers on either side of the neck and then close them hard. This instantly severes the spinal cord and often most of the neck. It is easy to then remove the head and bleed them.

They go from calm to dead instantly and without any stress, which is important to me.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:44 pm 
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Golden Phoenix
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Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:39 am
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Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
boxhead mentions using secateurs on his birds too.

Mine tend to be sort of larger in the neck region so cracking+cutting with chook shears (took me two goes to find ones strong and sharp enough for adult chooks, not poor little 8-week-old meat birds) is the best option.

On smaller ones, a straight cut with a scissoring action is by far the most reassuring. I practiced on chicken necks in a stocking (as Jackie French suggests) with meat cleavers, hatchets, and anything else requiring a downward striking action, and was not reassured by my results. Couldn't get the same place twice.

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