We have (had) some California White chickens. Those hens laid like mad dogs. Every day...even in winter. Wonderful layers. However, one day, one hen decided maybe it might be interesting to peck the egg she just laid and see why somebody was always rushing in to get them. And that's where the trouble began. One hen starts pecking and then they're all pecking. Well, I don't know that for sure because I didn't always see the offender in action. Once it starts though, I don't think there's any going back. There's no support group for egg peckers. Having realized, though, that you are no longer getting any eggs because they are being demolished before you get them gathered, you know something's got to be done. There's just not much point in feeding chickens who aren't doing anything but eating your money....and your eggs.
Knowing I had the six chickens from last spring that were laying most efficiently, I didn't mind so much knowing that the Whites were fixing to go to that big coop in the skies. I mean, they had good lives. They had room to roam, the two roosters enjoyed dueling with one another and waking the sun up every morning. They were happy chickens. But, the time had come. Ask not, dear chickens, for whom the bell tolls...it tolls for thee. Okay, sorry..got distracted.
The last time we had a chicken ...um, demising, we did it the ole fashioned way and chopped their heads off. However, after watching Joel Salatin (http://www.polyfacefarms.com/story.aspx) we decided to go another route. It seemed cleaner and more efficient. It was ...the Way of the Cone.
You put the chicken in, headfirst, and make a swift cut to the jugular vein. The chicken is dead pretty quickly and bleeds out more cleanly.
Darren found a pattern to make the cone here: http://hrafinstaad.blogspot.com/2009/07/killing-cone-or-holding-funnel.html and proceeded to make two of them.
I'm not gong to go into specifics, (as they are provided in the link AND I am a math atheist..you don't want me giving you an fractional increments.. seriously.. ) but here is the cone coming into being:
Nice handiwork, don't you think? :)