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The Shecht Haus

As part of my semicha trip to Israel, we visited a chicken slaughterhouse. Traditional semicha focuses on the laws of kashrut including the preparation of kosher meat, so we went to see the kashering process in action.

Warning! Some may find this content graphic!


Dressed and Ready
Dressed and Ready
We wore our best suits for the semicha ceremony, so we put on plastic guards to try to stay clean while chicken parts flew everywhere.
Reddin mit dem Shoichtim
Reddin mit dem Shoichtim
We had lots of questions for the shochtim.
Chatting with the Shochtim
Chatting with the Shochtim
Note that there are several shochtim — Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Teimani...
Shochtim
Shochtim
The shochtim are also the mashgichim.
The Chickens
The Chickens
Chickens are delivered in crates.
The Chickens
The Chickens
This schechthaus handles 6,000-12,000 chickens per day.
Assistant Shochet
Sgan Shochet
The assistant takes the chickens by the wings and hands them to the shochet.
Assistant Shochet
Sgan Shochet
Each shochet can shecht about 15 chickens per minute. We were asked not to photograph the actual shechita.
Feathers
Feathers
Feathers, plucked after the blood drains, come out this chute.
Feathers
Feathers
Feathers
Feathers
In the course of a day, the dumpster will fill with feathers.
Checking
Checking
After the chickens are plucked, another shochet checks the chickens to be sure they are kosher.
Checking
Checking
Each chicken is individually checked by hand.
Checking
Checking
After each chicken is checked, it is hung on the conveyor to go toward hadacha rishona.
Checking for Blood Clots
Checking for Blood Clots
The shochet checks for blood clots.
Blood Clot
Blood Clot
Here's a blood clot that he found.
Separating Organs
Separating Organs
The internal organs are removed from the otherwise whole chicken.
Sorting Organs
Sorting Organs
All the organs are sorted and grouped together in the blue bins. In the background you can see the hadacha rishona corkscrew.
Hearts
Hearts
The hearts are separated. They need to be split and salted separately.
Heart
Heart
Livers
Livers
The livers are also separated out.
Livers
Livers
The livers will be sold separately or repackaged with the whole chickens.
Split
Split
Some chickens are split for salting. This is a chumra that not everyone follows.
Approaching Hadacha
Approaching Hadacha
The eviscerated chickens approach the first hadacha.
Hadacha Rishona
Hadacha Rishona
First the chickens are hosed down.
Hadacha Rishona
Hadacha Rishona
The high-pressure water drives off any surface blood and grime.
Dom B%27ain
Dom B'ain
Dom b'ain is rinsed off by hand.
Hadacha Machine
Hadacha Machine
This giant corkscrew is used for hadacha. Each chamber is separately filled with water and chicken. The corkscrew turns slowly to gradually move the chickens down the assembly line over the course of 30-40 minutes.
Hadacha Rishona
Hadacha Rishona
Lots of blood comes out in the first hadacha. This is the view of one chamber in the hadacha corkscrew.
Hadacha Rishona
Hadacha Rishona
A view of the chamber from the other side.
Checking Hadacha Rishona
Checking Hadacha Rishona
Rav Jeremy Booty checks the first hadacha.
After Hadacha Rishona
After Hadacha Rishona
After hadacha rishona, the chickens go for a tumble to shake off the water so there isn't too much.
Hadacha Assembly Line
Hadacha Assembly Line
The hadacha rishona occurs in the corkscrew on the right. At the end of the corkscrew, in the middle of the picture, you can see the white salt mountain where the chickens are headed.
Salt
Salt
Each bag contains 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of salt.
Salting
Salting
Two yeshiva bochurs salt the chickens that come out of hadacha rishona.
Salting
Salting
Each salts about 15 chickens per minute.
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
The inside must be salted as well.
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
Salting
The salted chickens proceed up this conveyor belt.
Salting
Salting
Hundreds of chickens are salted on top of one another.
Salting
Salting
It takes 70 minutes to proceed to the top. The extra 10 minutes is to be sure.
Waiting One Hour
Waiting One Hour
Waiting One Hour
Waiting One Hour
Waiting One Hour
Waiting One Hour
At the top, the chickens will pass to another conveyor belt that will take them to the hadacha achrona corkscrew on the left. (That's Rav Benjamin Adler, shlita, on the left.)
Waiting One Hour
Waiting One Hour
Again, that's the hadacha achrona corkscrew on the left.
Nefitza
Nefitza
From the top of the salting conveyor belt, the chickens fall down to another belt, which shakes off much of the salt.
Nefitza
Nefitza
Nefitza
Nefitza
There is a constant "waterfall" of tumbling chickens.
Rechitza
Rechitza
Before being dumped into the hadacha achrona corkscrew, water is sprayed over the chickens to rinse off much of the salt...
Nefitza and Shtifa
Nefitza and Shtifa
After salting the salt is shaken and rinsed off before the chicken is soaked in the hadacha achrona corkscrew.
Hadacha Achrona
Hadacha Achrona
...then the chicken falls into the hadacha achrona corkscrew.
Hadacha Achrona
Hadacha Achrona
Unlike the hadacha rishona corkscrew, this one lifts the chickens out of the water and passes them from chamber to chamber in order that they should have three separate hadachas (in addition to nefitza and rechitza in the air).
Hadacha Achrona
Hadacha Achrona
Rav Aharon checks the hadacha achrona chambers.
Hadacha Achrona
Hadacha Achrona
Is there a problem, Rav Aharon?
Hadacha Achrona
Hadacha Achrona
There's lots of bloody tsir that rinses off in the hadacha achrona.
Second Hadacha Achrona
Second Hadacha Achrona
The hadacha achrona corkscrew lifts and moves the chickens from bin to bin to complete the three rinsings.
After Hadacha Achrona
After Hadacha Achrona
The chickens come out of the second hadacha and fall down the chute to the bin.
After Hadacha Achrona
After Hadacha Achrona
The chickens now look like we are used to seeing them at market.
After Hadacha Achrona
After Hadacha Achrona
One of the workers picks them up and hangs them on the hanging conveyor belt to dry out and continue their journey.
Freezer
Freezer
The next stop is a giant freezer.
Freezer
Freezer
The chickens spend an hour winding their way through the freezer.
Freezer
Freezer
This chills them thoroughly — much more quickly than they would be chilled after they are densely packaged, boxed, and stacked.
Packaging Area
Packaging Area
Here's the packaging area. The chickens are sorted into bins — some to be sold in pieces, others are sold whole.
Sorting into Bins
Sorting into Bins
These chickens have been chosen to be packaged whole.
Packaging Whole Chickens
Packaging Whole Chickens
Packaging Whole Chickens
Packaging Whole Chickens
Packaging Whole Chickens
Packaging Whole Chickens
Some chickens are packaged whole by sealing in a plastic bag.
Packaging Whole Chickens
Packaging Whole Chickens
Cutting
Cutting
Some of the chickens are cut up to be sold in pieces.
Cutting
Cutting
The pieces are sorted.
Cutting
Cutting
When you buy a whole chicken cut up, the parts may not actually be from the same bird.
Packaging
Packaging
The pieces are put into packaging...
Packaging
Packaging
...wrapped and sealed.
Packaging
Packaging
The packages are stacked together...
Packaging
Packaging
...and boxed.
Packaging
Packaging
Stacking Boxes
Stacking Boxes
The boxed chickens are stacked onto pallets.
  Ready for Market
Ready for Market
The final boxed chickens are ready for shipping.
Ready for Market
Ready for Market
Pieces are packed separately from whole chickens.

Photo album generated by album from Dave's MarginalHacks on Tue Jan 4 16:57:57 2005