The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

DIY Kill Cone alternative

Modfied 5 gallon bucket for killing chickens

We retired some chickens today, and for years we've been using this black bucket as an easy, DIY substitute to the traditional Kill Cone that has worked for thousands of backyard chicken people. My Mom made the hole so she could grow an upside down tomato plant back when that was all the rage in modern gardening techniques. She went back to putting her tomatoes in the ground and offered us the bucket one day.

That bucket collected dust in the barn for a year or two until we started processing our own poultry. We mounted a shelf bracket so it could hang at an easy height and it worked well at keeping the bird still while its head poked out through the hole.

Trial and error showed us the hole was too big. The more aggressive chickens could sometimes get one of their claws through the hole, complicating the procedure.

Today I finally modified an old bucket with a smaller hole which seems to be a huge improvement. A 2 inch hole saw makes the opening just big enough for a chicken's head without the extra room version 1.0 offered.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I've been using a bucket like that too, but I find the chickens (and ducks) pull their heads back up into the bucket after I've slit their throats. They then flop around, get covered in blood, and sometimes even pull right up out of the bucket.

I'm planning to make some cones and try those. It feels to me like they'd hold the birds more snugly and prevent them from flapping or pulling out. I've never used cones, though!

Or maybe I should just hold onto their heads until they bleed out and stop thrashing?

Comment by Darren (Green Change) Mon Aug 12 18:38:19 2013
Traffic cones work well, too, if you can get ahold of them. The opening at the top starts out too small, but you can trim them to the size you need. They're really tall and skinny, so they hold the birds in place pretty well.
Comment by Jake Wed Aug 14 03:00:11 2013
I've been using an old plastic gallon-sized vinegar bottle, with the bottom cut off and the neck widened out, for a kill cone. It works great! It holds the chicken snugly and minimizes flapping (I've never had one wiggle out yet). I screw through the plastic to mount it to a support post for our second-story deck.
Comment by Ruth Wed Aug 21 16:03:03 2013

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