Friday, March 23, 2012

Killing Your Own Food Part 4: The Unhappy Chore

The Unhappy Chore

You don't realize how enjoyable it is to have chickens until you have them. Each one has it's own quirky little traits and personalities and here on our Roberts Girls Farm, each has a place in providing eggs and endless entertainment for us. It is not a happy day when we have to send some of them to the great farm in the sky known as the 5.0 cubit foot freezer in our house. But sometimes it has to be done. And in extreme circumstances you may not have a choice if you want to provide sustenance to your family. Below are instructions on how to build a killing cone to dispatch a chicken.

You will need:

One-and-a-half-foot-tall section of sheet metal



Rivet setter

Metal cutter or tin snips

Heavy-duty gloves

Sharpie pen


Adhesive bandages

A killing cone is a funnel-shaped metal device with the top end wider than the bottom. You insert the chicken or turkey into the cone head first. The sides of the cone prevent the bird from bruising itself during the flailing around of its death experience. These cones hang from trees or other structures to facilitate the bleeding out of your bird. One of these ready-made cones can cost upwards of $40 as of April of 2011.

Measure and cut a paper pattern for your cone. The paper pattern should resemble a large side view of a bowl. Measure 34 inches for the top edge of the paper pattern and 17 inches for the bottom edge. The height should be about 16 inches. Each side should angle downward at a 33-degree slant inward. At the center of the top edge draw a small raised half-bubble shape. This will be the pour spout to pour off the blood that doesn't spill from the opening.

Place this pattern over the sheet metal and, using the marker, trace around the edges of the pattern. Let the ink dry to avoid the smearing and distortion of the outline of the cone. Cut the sheet metal along the pattern using your metal shears or tin snips. Use extreme caution as the edges will be very sharp. Using heavy-duty gloves would be a good idea to avoid several painful cuts. Carefully fold up the edges to create a seam on either side. The seam should be about one-half inch wide. Fold the sides over and use a hammer to secure these seams into place.

Curl the cone into shape so that the narrow end is about three inches wide. Drill one hole into the bottom section where one side of the cone meets the other. Insert a rivet into the hole and use the rivet tool to fasten it in place. Make sure the top section lines up, and repeat the process to place a rivet about halfway up the cone and one at the top.

Drill a small hole on the top portion of the cone, on the opposite side from the pour spout. This hole will be used to hang the cone from a tree or other structure. You have the option of making the cone's location permanent by nailing the cone to the tree. Washing out a used cone, however, will be a chore. A removable cone is easier to work with.


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