Hello again to all:
I have received a lot of questions concerning "Turkey Killing Trauma" and want to
respond. There have been many truths and mis-truths posted about the
realities of slaughtering. First of all, THE most humane slaughter is
the Kosher slaughter which I detailed HERE:
on August 14th. This
method pertains to ANY type of poultry.
While slaughter is never what I would term "fun", it does not have to be
terrible either. First, any knife used to cut the jugular vein must be
VERY sharp. You need a good carbon steel knife to start with and a good
STEEL to keep it sharp. A sharp knife will go through turkey wattles
with no problem. Follow the instructions in my tutorial, especially the
part about pulling the skin tight. If you don't the wattles will just
move back and forth as you try to slice through.
The bird should always be contained in a killing cone, or for large
turkeys, a 5 gallon plastic pail with a "head hole" about 5" around cut
in the bottom. The actual killing can be a one or 2 person job. One
can do it if they are strong and wrap a bungie cord around the legs and
and to the bucket to keep the bird in the bucket. The bucket should be
securely nailed to a 2 x 4 or large piece of would that can contain the
birds muscular contractions.
These contractions are NOT because the bird is in pain. As others have
said the bird loses consciousness soon after the vein is slit. The
contractions are nature's way of squeezing all of the blood out of the
muscles. The reason the vein is cut rather than using a axe or hatchet
is that the brain needs to tell the heart to keep pumping so the blood
is literally pumped out of the meet. That eliminates excess blood
residue in the meat and a resulting bloody bag. When the brain is
disconnected the heart just sort of quivers and does not pump the blood
out, it just drains by gravity.
The bird should never be allowed to thrash around the yard as this can
cause serious bruising of flesh, especially wings and thighs. Please
go and read the tutorial at the link above and print it out to refer to
in the future. Be assured you are not alone in your feelings, over 400
people have printed the tutorial in the last three weeks.
Here are a couple of lines that may console you:
Now, a few words about emotions: Taking a life of any type, even
harvesting vegetables, is a very serious event. First, in the case of
your birds, you are in the unusual position of going from a caregiver
who's goal is to give your bird the most natural, healthful bird life
you can. Then you turn to the job of honoring that bird's life by
slaughtering it in a humane way and honoring it's life by turning it
into the best tasting, most healthful meat for you, your family or your
I always hold the bird a little while before putting it into the
killing cone, and speaking in a soft voice, thank the bird for sharing
it's life with me and giving up it's life to nurture others. We did
this in our commercial operation by having a short ceremony before
slaughter began. If you ever come to a place that slaughter is just
another day, get a glass of tea, go sit in a shady, quiet place and
think about your role in the web of life. It's o.k. to shed some
Also, as far as getting someone else to do it: That is just a cop out.
You have given your bird the best life it could have. You should honor
that life and show your appreciation and how much it's life has meant to
you by giving it your personal attention and to think back upon that
life when the turkey nourishes you and your family.
Here is a link to our video that includes a real-time chicken slaughter: