A Squeemish Subject: Euthanasia

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kari_dawn, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As chicken keepers, many of us have come across the same road blocks, and have had to do a lot of our own vetting and treating of our beloved pets and livelyhoods alike due to lack of vet support for the animals we choose to keep. There seems to be a lot of strong feelings when it comes to euthanizing...a subject that many of us have had to face. Here, I would like to create a friendly and supportive environment to discuss the subject. Methods, results, and why you choose that particular method.

    Personally, I have not yet had to euthanize any of my flock, but I know there may well come a time when I might be faced with the decission. The method I would probably choose is as follows. This method is one that is often used in wildlife rehabilitation, and carries over well for my chickens, since I will be doing most of my vetting and treatment on my own (due to complete and utter lack of any vet that does chickens in my area).

    A largish storage tote with a lid, a heating pad, a bowl, and a block of dry ice. The bowl is to hold the ice, placed at one end of the tote. The heating pad placed under the other end. The animal (in this case a chicken) to be placed inside the tote on the end with the heating pad (I like to use blankets for extra comfort). Close the lid, seal it, and give it time. I also have the option of injectable methods at my disposal, but since most of us will not, I would like to share a somewhat quiet, "peaceful", and clean death (as far as death, which by definition, is really none of those things goes).

    You may not agree, but please do it diplomatically. Death is an extremely sensitive topic for many people. Please share your viewpoints and methods, but PLEASE do not try to force your views or methods on others. I merely want to make available multiple methods and options for those of us unfortunate enough to have to face this subject.
     
  2. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

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    Being someone who raises dual purpose breeds and eats my own chicken, death isn't as squeamish of a topic to me, but I fully understand coming to the hard decision of putting down an important bird.

    My beliefs though set the goriness aside. I want death to be as quick, painless, and least stressful as possible. I just can't stomach suffocating, starving, gassing, or doing other such related things to my birds. They're bloodless sure but they cause so much stress! To me, a quick removal of the head, the same as I do my food-poultry, is the best to my opinion there is. It is a sensitive method because of the blood involved, but, it gets the job done instantly and pain-free. The separation happens too fast for the brain to truly receive pain messages.

    I completely understand that some people can't even imagine doing in and eating their own animals, but to me euthanasia and processing for food go hand in hand. As long as the bird lived a quality life beforehand, and death was quick as can be, that's when I am happy. (well, okay, in the euthanasia part I'm less happy, but I'm happy that the bird is out of whatever misery it may have been in)
     
  3. BrattishTaz

    BrattishTaz Roo Magnet

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    First, let me say that I am not into killing anything. Most would consider me a wuss. I do not hunt or process my birds for food. Heck, I don't even kill spiders or snakes.


    I recently had to euthanize one of my 6 month old pullets due to severe illness. I researched euthanasia methods back when I first got into raising chickens. My personal preference (decided before 1st cull) is cervical dislocation. I used an axe although I would suggest a hatchet instead. Sharp scissors can be used for small chicks. It was harder on me than I would have liked but the chicken passed instantly. In my opinion it is the bird's comfort is most important. Other methods just seem cruel to me.
     
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  4. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I get where you are coming from. Lots of people use the same method as you do. I have not reached the milestone of processing my own poultry, and do not know if I could ever muster up the courage!

    I have not tried the dry ice method with chickens, but it works well for some of the badly injured wildlife that we sometimes get at the wildlife center. Anyone looking at this method needs to remember that wildlife react very differently to stimuli than domestic animals. The benifits of the solid walled, enclosed box is that it essentially blocks vision. When a wild animal cannot see, it tends to freeze, and remain very quiet and calm. Therefore, this method tends to work very well to prevent them from stressing during the process.
     
  5. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

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    Luckily I have not had to put one down due to illness but this thread is interesting. We have used an ax for those that we processed for food. I use to keep Ace for my horses, and I bet that would put them down pretty quickly and painlessly. My Vets are lenient as far as buying full bottles, some other bigger cities are not as easy to buy from.
     
  6. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Chillin' With My Peeps

    I actually just had to cull a newborn chick with it's intestines outside it's body. It was such a hard thing to do!!

    In this case I used kitchen shears to decapitate the newborn. It was very quick, but Oh my, was it hard to do!
     
  7. inputoutput

    inputoutput Out Of The Brooder

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    I have put down small mammals using helium which you can rent and now even buy tanks of at some stores. Rubbermaid container with hole in top and bottom. Helium kills without causing pain. You just have to make sure you run it long enough to do the job. Safety first, of course. I turned to this method because I used to keep rats as pets and veterinary methods of putting rats to sleep can be a little barbaric (needle to the chest, gassing that doesn't always work, ect). Also worked with rehabbers in high school who used this method. This was many years ago (10+)- I don't keep rats anymore because honestly I can't handle the emotional attachment, their lives are so short and bright [​IMG]

    I live frugally and would most likely end a chicken's life in the same manner one would harvest broilers. That is just me. I have not had to do it but again, just something I accept as part of life.
     
  8. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:We also use acepromazine and xylazine to a lesser extent...they are effective for sure. I did not add this method in, because I am unsure how many people have access to these tools.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  9. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:We also use acepromazine and xylazine to a lesser extent...they are effective for sure. I did not add this method in, because I am unsure how many people have access to these tools.

    Yes, Acepromazine [​IMG] I just say Ace for short. You can also use Rompi, but I do not know the full name for Rompi either. My dog was attack by a large dog and I could not find a Vet open, so I gave him a little Ace and knocked him out cold! I was worried all night until the Vet opened that morning. I thought I had killed him for sure. I didn't give him that much and the Vet said the dose was fine. It doesn't take much to put animals down.

    I aced myself once and it was a feeling I will never forget [​IMG]
     
  10. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ha ha ha we don't use rompum (a mixture of ketamine and xylazine) because it is regulated, and requires very specific housing and records keeping, plus with the amount of people that come through the center, it isn't a good idea to have that kind of drug on hand.

    ...wait, isn't acing yourself drug abuse? lol I could never do it...I am terrified of needles...

    So far, we have only three methods listed here. injectable, decapitation, and dry ice....I am sure there has to be more methods out there.
     

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