to make a cut from just behind and below the left ear lobe, slightly downward and
forward to just behind the jawbone. This severs the jugular vein and the carotid artery
and is a relaxed kill. If the windpipe or neck bones and nerves are severed, however,
the feathers may set.
c. Pithing or Braining. In this procedure, the chicken is first stunned by an
electric knife inserted through the mouth into the base of the brain. The knife is then
pulled back and moved down the throat to cut the jugular vein. This method is not used
extensively, and is usually used for the slaughter of old (big) chickens.
The more blood that is removed from a carcass, the better the keeping quality.
Chickens do not bleed out completely, but, for practical purposes, young chickens bleed
out in about 30 seconds. Older, larger chickens bleed out in about 65 seconds.
Sufficient time should be allowed for the chicken to stop struggling so that it will not
inhale water during scalding.
Chickens usually will have enough reflexes left to struggle slightly as they enter
the scalder. This ruffles the feathers and facilitates proper, even scalding. Chemical
wetting agents in the scalding water also help. Scalding time is usually 60 to 90
seconds, depending on the age and the size of the chicken. Temperatures used and
their results are as follows:
Type of Scald
Results. No loss of outer skin. Easy removal of feathers. Skin retains original
color and bloom. Has longer shelf life. (Type of scald usually specified by the
Results. Cooks some of the outer skin layer. Easy picking, but part of the skin
comes off and these areas darken and appear leather-like if allowed to dry.
Results. Cooks outer skin layer. Harms both appearance and keeping quality.
Used only in small, live-poultry retail markets.