When I was really little, really little, my Grandma Logan had a chicken coop on the back of her property. I only remember a few things about my grandmother’s house in Olean, New York. Like I said, I was really little. I remember I stepped on a rusty nail once and put it all the way through my foot, sneaker and all. I remember watching the “Howdy Doody Show” on TV in the afternoons with my sister. And I remember my Dad killing a chicken for Sunday dinner by swinging it over his head and breaking its neck. It could have been my Uncle Bill that killed the chicken, I’m not really sure, but I remember my Grandma Logan plucking it in the kitchen some time later. Killing and plucking were things a little boy thought about while he was eating fried chicken later that afternoon.
If you’re going to eat a chicken, you have to pluck it. Plucking a chicken involves pulling its feathers out. Its going to require rubber gloves and boiling water. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Well you boil the water, take the chicken and water outside and then immerse the chicken in the boiling water using a stick or a spoon to keep it from floating to the surface. Only about a minute because you don’t want to make soup. Then you pull the chicken out of the water and start plucking out the wet feathers. A good chicken plucker can do a chicken in a few minutes. I’m thinking it would take me several hours. The plucking of a chicken occurs before the eviscerating and butchering.
This is considered a more humane way to prepare chicken for eating. I don’t know how they pluck chickens at the major poultry companies, but I don’t see how it could be any more inhumane than this. Well, there are machines that do the plucking for you for one. There is a tabletop plucker that is basically a drum with rubber fingers on it. You move the scalded bird under and around the machine as it turns and you can pluck a chicken in 30 seconds. Another even better way is the tub-style plucker. Similar type of thing, only the rubber fingers are on the inside of a drum and the chickens kind of tumble around. This allows you to pluck more than one chicken at a time, and you have bare nekked chickens in 15 seconds. I’m sure the major producers use a tub-style chicken plucker. Now I ask you, does it matter whether this is humane or not. The chicken is dead.
So that brings me to the title of this short investigation into the daily life of a chicken farmer. What is the best way to kill a chicken? These seem to be our choices: break its neck, chop off its head, gas it, or drain its blood. Okay. Now which of these sound the most “humane” to you? Well, according to studies, cutting the chicken’s jugular vein and cutting the head clean off are the most humane way to kill a chicken. Okay, I’m done. Most of you probably won’t eat chicken ever again.
I’ll go with swinging the chicken over my head and breaking its neck as being more humane, but I guess I’m not thinking too much about how the chicken feels while they’re being swung around and then suddenly jerked back as their neck snaps. I think I’ll just keep buying my chicken in a package at the store. I don’t have any aspirations of being a chicken farmer and I don’t really care how they got in the package anyways. WTF