How and Why to Caponize
Backyard Chickens and How Caponizing is Done
you are homesteading and raising
chickens you may want to caponize your chickens. To caponize a
chicken means to neuter
it. Neutering is done to make chickens fatter and more tender when they
What is a Capon?
A capon is a male bird that has had its testicles removed.
These organs are located just under the backbone, on either side, in
line with the
last 2 ribs.
What is Caponizing and Why do It?
chickens is, in short,
operation necessary for removing the testicles and neutering the
Yes, you have to surgically remove the
is done the bird can grow longer, gets larger and can also be used as a
broody as their hormones are now that of a hen's. If you raise chicks
an incubator these capons make wonderful surrogate mothers once they
hatch. However, the main reason for caponizing is because by doing so
you get a beautiful eating bird.
Which Chicken Breeds can be Used as a Capon?
Any breed can be used as a capon. The
traditional breeds are Orpingtons, Rocks and other duel purpose
I have found that if you have
discovered Silkie meat than this is one
way to get a bit of meat on your Silkie.
Silkies have black skin and
black organs. The chemical that creates the black color also contains
more vitamins and antioxidants than any other breeds
of chickens. Caponized Silkies are becoming quite
popular on the
health market. If you have Bantam
chickens caponzing will also plump up those little
birds a bit.
What is the Best Age to Caponize Chickens?
The best age to caponize backyard chickens is from 6 weeks
How to Caponize your Backyard Chickens
start caponizing you need to either buy
from NASCO, or use a pair of hemostats and tweezers.
An old method of
involves a straw with a horse hair running through it in a loop to
lasso the testicle. Other methods of caponizing involve cutting a "V"
pinkie fingernail and hooking them that way.
You must be careful of
anything sharp as there is a main artery that runs down the spine and
if you cut that, you have lost your bird. I recommend practicing on a
you have either recently killed or which has died. As a dead bird is a
bird, you certainly can't hurt it any.
You will need to start the caponizing process
food and water for about 24 hours. This keeps the swelling down and
allows you to see what you are doing better as the gut and intestine
are not full. You will also need to restrain the bird. I like the bow
method myself. I have seen many techniques, that range
from tying a
string from the wings to one brick and the legs to another while the
bird is lying on a table, the bricks are hanging off the edge. I have
seen nails posted into a table and the strings tied to them.
I like the bow method of caponzing as I
can hold it anyway
I want to and keep the tension where it is not painful to the bird, but
tight enough that I can work.
The bow is just that, a bow. You can
a green piece of willow and
a string from around the base of both
wings to the top part and tie the legs to the bottom
part. Adjust the
Locate the second posterior rib, (last
2 ribs) and make an incision between them. Note the skin is stretched
so when you release the bird the skin will cover the opening forgoing
the need for stitches. When you make your incision you will have to
spread the ribs carefully to see the first testicle.
Books will tell you to remove the
closest testicle first, however I advise you to remove the one furthest
away first. The reason is some bleed, some don't but if they do bleed
you can't find the second testicle.
In this manner the removal of the
closest one will not bleed onto your other one and you have a better
chance of finding it and not damaging the artery along the spine
looking for it. You will not have to cut these loose. They will simply
Don't feel bad if you loose a few
you first start out. It will happen. You won't loose a lot if you
practiced on a freshly dispatched bird, however you will loose a few
until you get the hang of it.
After you get the hang of it you will
be caponizing quickly and efficiently. I wish I had photos to show you
however my camera was lost over the winter and I'm planning on finding
it rather then buying a new one. I'm stubborn that way.
Here is a link to a PDF online book
that isn't complete but will give some photos and instructions.
By Gypsy, our resident homestead blogger
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to Cleaning Chicken Pens with Fire
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