Slaughtering poultry at home offers a number of advantages for the small farmer, including reducing stress on the birds since they won't require transportation. When performed properly, slaughtering your own poultry is more humane than commercial processing and can reduce the safety risks associated with large-scale slaughter. Home slaughter without the right tools and techniques is risky, however. Use the appropriate tools, and take safety precautions to ensure a successful poultry slaughter.
Never use a dull knife for slaughtering as it reduces the chance of a clean kill. According to the University of Minnesota, you should sharpen all knives before any processing begins. Any sharp knife, including boning and cutting knives, is a useful tool for killing. Knives with thin, very sharp points and blades make processing easier.
A short piece of sturdy rope is used to suspend the birds for killing. The rope prevents them from escaping and reduces scratching and other injuries from simply holding the birds by their feet. The University of Minnesota recommends placing a small square of plywood with a hole drilled in the middle onto the rope. Secure the piece of wood with a knot to reduce the chance that the rope will come loose during the slaughter. Suspend birds from a tree branch, post, clothesline or any other secure point above the ground.
Use a metal cone or funnel when slaughtering chickens to help channel blood from the jugular to the ground or a container, reducing splatter and mess. Large cones also help secure the bird by pinning its wings to its body, preventing flapping. Place the entire bird upside down in the cone, with the head protruding from the bottom. Allow exposure of enough of the head for a clean cut just under the jaw.
Poultry slaughter can occur over bare ground or over a bucket or other container. Using a container to collect spilt blood greatly reduces mess levels and the chances of contaminating the area. Choose a container tall enough to catch all the blood without much splatter and wide enough to place both of your hands and a knife inside. If the bird is suspended with its head inside the bucket, the entire slaughtering process can take place without much mess.