Catching, handling and restraint

Birds for slaughter should be handled quietly and calmly, to prevent panic and distress, and possibly injury to both bird and handlers.

Birds should be caught in dim lighting conditions to reduce the risk of panic; once caught, they should be handled with care to avoid stress and bruising to the carcase. Birds should be picked up individually, with both wings restrained or, if that isn’t possible, by grasping both legs in one hand and supporting the breast in the other.

Handling a henProper handling doesn't stress the bird or the handler

Birds should be restrained during slaughter; this gives you both hands free and reduces fear in and risk of injury to the bird. After stunning and slaughter, there will be a fair amount of wing flapping and movement, which can damage the carcase, so is best avoided.

Any form of restraint should commence immediately before slaughter. For poultry, restraint may be manual but one of the most common forms of restraint is the cone; birds are inverted into the cone with the head lowered through the hole and slaughtered immediately.

We use an old traffic cone which has been cut to size, attached to a telegraph pole. This is large enough to accommodate the Hubbards we raise for meat, but when we have to cull laying hens, which are much smaller than the meat chickens, we insert a smaller cone into the large cone to prevent the bird slipping through.

Rosemary Champion

About Rosemary Champion

Rosemary lives on a 12 acre smallholding in Angus, in the east of Scotland, where she keeps Ryeland Sheep, Shetland cattle and assorted poultry. She was destined to be a smallholder from an early age.

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