How to Kill a Chicken?

If you raise livestock for meat, naturally part of that process will be learning how to properly euthanize the animals. However, even if you only keep a few loved pet hens for eggs, you still should understand how to put down a chicken in the event of a severe injury or other emergency.

Do a simple Google search for how to humanely put down a chicken and you will find a whole slew of different answers some of which work very well while others shouldnt be used. The purpose of the nails is that you can stretch the chickens neck slightly (this wont hurt the bird) so you can get a clean cut.

Have your helper pick up the bird, place the head gently between the nails so the neck is straight, and then chop. This is difficult to describe to in text, so I recommend you watch a video on how to do this or ask for an experienced neighbor or fellow chicken owner to show you. Putting down a loved hen or favorite rooster isnt an enjoyable process but it is important to know how to do it properly and is necessary if you are raising chickens for meat.

What can kill a chicken suddenly?

Causes of sudden death in chickens. Parasite, poisoning, egg binding, injury, poor nutrition, organ failure: most likely heart, Salphingitis and other disease that show very few symptoms. Any of these can be the reason your chicken died suddenly.

Can I kill my own chickens?

Because birds, including chickens, are not legally required to be slaughtered humanely, many are paralyzed but fully conscious and able to sense pain as their throats are slit. Some chickens are boiled alive by being dunked into a scalding hot tank of water to remove their feathers.

Most of us spend a great deal of time preparing for the arrival of our first chickens, but few of us give much thought to how we would handle serious injuries, illnesses and end-of-life decisions until they are upon us, but there inevitably comes a time in every flock when a sick or injured bird will need to be euthanized. Most vets, even if they do not ordinarily treat chickens, will euthanize a sick or injured bird. Find out whether a vet nearby is willing to perform this service in advance of needing the help. If you do not have a vet who can assist you with helping your pet chicken cross over, you should know how to humanely euthanize a chicken when the need arises.

If the cost, distance or circumstances preclude you using a vets services, I would far rather see you do the job properly yourself than botch something as important and emotional as this.Now, some general information about euthanasia. The yuck factor is an important component of the effect on the doer, and this is something to take into consideration, but doesnt necessarily affect the well-being of the bird.

It is called exsanguination (or bleeding), and is identified as an unacceptable method of killing a bird by the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association). Blunt force trauma is very difficult to do properly, and emotionally disturbing for the person delivering the blow..the odds of mis-hitting among people who rarely do it are too high for me to recommend it to you. Its important to realize that it takes a lot of discomfort for a bird to stop eating and act sick .hunched up in a corner of a coop.

It is part of your responsibility as an owner to care for your birds, and if her situation is painful and seems hopeless, it is time to start seriously considering euthanasia.~Mike, The Chicken Vet

If you keep chickens for meat or if you need to cull a chicken you obviously want to do it in the most humane way possible. There are sites offering advice that I think are, quite frankly, rubbish so this is how I handle killing a chicken.

Now bring the bird into your chest holding its legs tight into the body and taking a firm but gentle grip on its neck extend and put the weight of the top part of the body onto the neck forcing the head down in one clean movement f you feel unable to do the job by hand then you can get a humane dispatcher from your seed and feed stockist.

If you have not killed a chicken before, it is a good idea to go to an experienced poultry keeper and learn rather than jump in. Sometimes it clarifies things to have them explained in a different way this explanation of the same method of killing a chicken taken is from Wrights Book of Poultry circa 1912. The neck is drawn by the right hand to its full length, the head thrown slightly back, and by a sharp but not too vigorous pull the vertebral column is broken, the neck thrown fully out immediately behind the head, the veins and nerves torn right across.

I’ve added a couple of modern additions which should make the job of plucking a chicken… Remove the Head
Taking a sharp knife, 2 inches up from the body go round the neck skin, cutting…

*Warning: This story deals with the practicalities of humanely euthanising a bird, and also why some old techniques are not considered to be acceptable, except in an emergency.*

Euthanasia is an unpleasant topic for people who find it difficult to make a decision on when to end an animals life, but knowing how to do it humanely is a necessary skill to learn if you have poultry. Research has shown that poultry can feel pain and distress but often dont show it until very ill or even near death as their instinctive prey reaction is to hide any weakness.

You can take it to a vet, get a trusted person to do it, or do it yourself, but whatever you choose, the birds death must be as humane and as pain-free as you can make it. The IASP also includes under this definition an important note: the inability to communicate in no way negates the possibility that an individual is experiencing pain and is in need of appropriate pain-relieving treatment. Method: Death is caused by snapping the spinal cord behind the skull along with the major veins and arteries supplying blood to the brain.

Tilt the head at a 90 degree angle towards the right (the beak should be pointing down or slightly backwards) this makes the dislocation as easy as possible. Benefits: it can be done quickly; only a wooden broomstick (or long, strong, straight stick or pole) is necessary; better used on larger birds/breeds and older birds. Drawbacks: it requires some confidence and skill; nerve tremors afterwards; you may need some help to position the bird and/or pole.

You will need a stiff, strong stick, pole or bar about the thickness of a wooden broom handle. Drawbacks: holding the bird and using an axe or hatchet; making it a clean cut; large volumes of blood spraying out. This is a quick method as long as the head is severed completely at the first blow; the bird is immediately unconscious and bodily functions cease.

Also, if you are killing a bird for meat and need to dunk it straight away into hot water (to loosen feathers to help with plucking), it can get very messy. For very young or newly-hatched chicks, the dislocation process using your thumb on the neck just behind the skull or against a sharp edge will do the same job as Method 1.

Killing a Chicken

Take your right hand and slide it under the birds butt and grasp its legs with the hand closed take the legs with the thumb pointing away from the body as this is a stronger gripPlacing the fingers and thumb of the left had over the chickens neck just above the head. The first 2 fingers ie index and second fingers, close over the head with the neck in between like a V. The thumb then comes over the head closing it into the palm taking a half twist as it closesNow bring the bird into your chest holding its legs tight into the body and taking a firm but gentle grip on its neck extend and put the weight of the top part of the body onto the neck forcing the head down in one clean movementThe head will part from the body as the neck is broken and your hand will follow on down and away from the bird.This action is only nervous reaction and it will stop in about 30 seconds. Allow the bird to flap as much as it wants as this action forces any blood to go down to the neck and coagulate there. Now if you feel the neck between the head and the body you will find a large void where the neck joined the head. Closing the two fingers over it will show it’s dead.You can hang it for a day or two if you so wish, or you can carry straight onto the plucking.

Hanging the Chicken

Take your bird and hang it by the feet in a cool place for a day. The blood will pool in the neck end so draining is unnecessary.

Plucking the Chicken

Get a bucket of hot water (too hot for your hand) dip the bird in and count to sixty, then take it out start taking the wing feathers out. Next pluck the legs and then the breast. These feathers will all come out easily as the hot water melts the fat that is around the pen of the feather so it nearly falls out. I can pluck a chicken in 5 minutes or so, but I have been doing this for a lot of years.Once the bird has been plucked you’ll find there are a few fine hairs left on the bird, just ignore them.

Editorial Note on Killing a Chicken

It’s a good idea to practice first on some celery sticks, which will give you an idea of how much force is required and what it feels like. Always go for full closure with dispatchers.

How to humanely kill a chicken

Euthanasia is an unpleasant topic for people who find it difficult to make a decision on when to end an animal’s life, but knowing how to do it humanely is a necessary skill to learn if you have poultry.Deciding when is the right time is always going to be the dilemma. If you are at all in doubt as to whether it needs to be done, then a vet will be best to help diagnose and dispose of the bird if needed.There are two issues around this last point. Research has shown that poultry can feel pain and distress but often don’t show it until very ill or even near death as their instinctive prey reaction is to hide any weakness.The other is that the decision to euthanise is sometimes made too late because the owner isn’t willing to make the decision.Once the decision to euthanise has been made, there are a few options, but the decision needs to be made quickly. You can take it to a vet, get a trusted person to do it, or do it yourself, but whatever you choose, the bird’s death must be as humane and as pain-free as you can make it.
The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.The IASP also includes under this definition an important note: the inability to communicate in no way negates the possibility that an individual is experiencing pain and is in need of appropriate pain-relieving treatment.This is a very important statement that gives credibility to pain experienced by non-verbal populations of species, including all animal species.We are not yet fully capable of recognising when a bird is affected by pain, so it may be best to err on the side of over-estimation and assume that conditions thatwould be painful to humans are also painful to poultry.
Death is described as the cessation of all biological functions including respiration, circulation and brain function.
Humane killing requires that brain activity ceases as rapidly and as painlessly as possible, and that death ensues as soon as possible.In commercial poultry-killing plants, a bird must be stunned (most commonly using an electric shock), then bled out while in a stunned state, and must not be allowed to regain consciousness during the bleeding out process.
1. Hold the bird by its legs in your left hand so it is hanging upside down, with its beak facing to the left. Create a V with the forefinger and middle finger of your right hand.2. Slide your fingers down the neck so they are sitting either side of the neck, at the base of the skull. Don’t put your fingers right around the neck or have them further up the neck as this makes it much harder to complete a clean break and you’ll throttle the bird instead.3. Tilt the head at a 90 degree angle towards the right (the beak should be pointing down or slightly backwards) – this makes the dislocation as easy as possible.4. Holding the body against you and pull down in a firm motion on the neck. You will feel the neck bones separate from the head, but stay within the skin – if you are very vigorous with this movement you can completely remove the head. Check that there is a gap between the head and the neck – you should just feel skin between your fingers, before you let it go, rather than the bones.The bird will go into tremor and spasms will make it leap around if you put it down. However, the bird will be unconscious and the actions will pump the last of the blood into the neck space.Dropping it in a sack or an empty bucket at this point will help restrict it.
Dislocation using your hands is more difficult if a bird is bigger, and it also depends on the size of your hands and your actual pulling power.This method achieves the same result as Method 1 by detaching the head from the neck, causing an instant lack of consciousness. You will need a stiff, strong stick, pole or bar about the thickness of a wooden broom handle.1. Hold the bird by its legs using your left hand.As with Method 1, the bird will spasm and flap violently but it will be unconscious. Place in a bucket or sack until the spasms have stopped and death has occurred.
For many the historic and only way considered to kill a chook is by chopping its head off. This is a quick method as long as the head is severed completely at the first blow; the bird is immediately unconscious and bodily functions cease.There are a couple of negatives. One is holding the bird in the right position (you can wrap it tightly in a towel or blanket) and wielding the axe/hatchet with the other. There’s the risk of doing yourself an injury, or injuring someone else if they are holding the bird for you.Decapitating a bird also releases a large amount of blood very quickly, which tends to go everywhere as the bird will still move due to nerve spasms. Also, if you are killing a bird for meat and need to dunk it straight away into hot water (to loosen feathers to help with plucking), it can get very messy.
For very young or newly-hatched chicks, the dislocation process using your thumb on the neck just behind the skull or against a sharp edge will do the same job as Method 1.