Learn how to make a kill cone for chickens, turkeys, and poultry with free materials you already have around your homestead. This DIY kill cone only takes a few minutes to create and can be customized to fit various sizes of poultry based on your specific needs.
When we were preparing to process our first batch of turkeys this Autumn, the price of the equipment was concerning for us. Traditionally, homesteaders made use of the resources they already had before investing in new ones. For us, trying to live as traditionally as possible, this meant getting creative with our kill cones.
Kill cones sell online for anywhere from $20-100 dollars, yet they perform a very basic task. They hold the chicken, turkey, or duck upside down while gently hugging the body to reduce stress before and during the actual kill.
Processing poultry by cutting the neck allows the animal’s carotid arteries to be severed resulting in a humane and fast death. Being held upside down, and tucked inside a kill cone for culling ensures blood drains quickly for faster processing, too.
With a few standard tools and materials we had laying around we were able to create a reusable, custom-sized kill cone that worked wonderfully for a humane kill.
In the future, we plan on making several of these DIY kill cones so that multiple birds can be processed at the same time, resulting in a more effective processing day.
- Clean plastic five gallon bucket
- Zip ties
- Flat surface to hang bucket
- Power grinder or a reciprocating saw
- Power tool safety equipment
- Start but using a grinder or reciprocating saw to cut the very bottom off of a five gallon bucket
- Then, cut a acute triangle out of the side of the bucket. The base of the triangle should be about 6" across. The triangle's point should be where the bucket's raised rings start.
- Next, use a hacksaw to cut a straight line from the point of the triangle through the top of the bucket to split the bucket in half.
4. Use a drill to make three or more holes along the cut sides of the bucket, about 2" from the cut edge.
5. Use zip ties to close the gap. You may need to make adjustments to the drilled hole location or the zip tie length depending on the size of your animal. (it's worth it to adjust things a few times in order to get a snug and comfortable fir for your animals)
6. Affix the bucket to a wall or any flat surface where you are processing your poultry.
For smaller birds, try a smaller style of a bucket or cut several inches off of the bottom of the bucket in step one.
Ensure safety when using power tools by utilizing safety equipment for that purpose.
Give this easy and free DIY kill cone a try next time you are processing poultry.