Thirty some years ago, just out of college and starting my career, I rented a old cabin on a farm that the neighbor rented for a beef cow/calf operation. There was a about a twenty acre pasture next to my place that had a couple old hog sheds on my side of the field. Checking with the landowner and the neighboring farmer renting the farm, I got the ok to close up the front of these low structures and recoated the old tin roof. After some work I had a very low, but chicken, and predator proof, structure to get back into raising chickens.
Now your probably thinking that's interesting and all, but what does that have to do this thread. Well I'm getting around to that.
I used the second hog shed for setting broody hens. Before long I had pretty decent size flock, with a bunch of youngsters that did come back to the hog sheds to eat and roost, but free ranged the pastures full time. When the cockerels got to be butchering size, I went into the low shed, (maybe 4 ft. tall on the front side and 3 ft. in the back) before opening in for the morning. My mistake was letting the sun get up enough that these semi feral youngsters could see well enough that they wanted no part of this, and suddenly I was inside a pinball machine.
Well I could have regrouped and went back earlier the next morning with a flashlight, but the whole deal of 6'4" 300lbs of me, squatting, crab crawling, knocking my head around in there was getting old fast. Plus I wanted to keep a couple of the best young males back as replacement breeders, and it was very hard to evaluate/compare these guys under these conditions.
So what I opted for was to turn them out,(there was no catching them once loose), throw a little scratch, look them over good. take a rest on a wood fence post, and put a .22 long rifle round through the skull of a obvious cull. (this was back when you could by a brick of 500 for $12). This resulted in instant thrashing and flapping about by our chosen victim, drawing every other cockerel over to see what the heck is wrong with Jim, some even giving him a flog for good measure. After Jim became still, they all just looked around like "well that was weird". By that time victim number two had been selected, and the process repeated. When I had enough down, went out, pulled heads, and hung them on the fence to finish bleeding out, if needed. The head shot in itself seemed to do a pretty efficient job of bleeding them out.
Given the situation there, this method served the purpose. Once I moved and was better equipped, coop wise, I resorted to more conventional methods. I am a strong advocate for a stump with two nails to hold the birds head in place and a meat cleaver as a sure/quick/clean method.. .
Edited by big medicine - 11/13/15 at 6:00pm