Another culling question- will ether work?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CityGirlintheCountry, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    One of my half grown babies got attacked by an out of control rooster. By the time I found him he had been pecked to the skull in an area a little bigger than a quarter. It looks really bad. I brought him in the house into the brooder cage, cleaned the wound and gouped on the neosporin. I just don't think he can recover from this. The wound is really bad and he is not a happy patient. Anytime he hears something strange he panics and throws himself around the brooder pen (I have it covered because he panics when he sees the dogs or cats.).

    So I have come to the conclusion that the humane thing to do is to put him down. The problem is I am a wimp. I just cannot do the neck snap thing and or the sharp scissors (although he is too big for that method). Given the way he has flapped around so far I would likely chop my hand off with a hatchet (and I'm too wimpy for that also).

    Please don't turn this into a discussion of "you shouldn't have chickens if you can't whack their heads off". I can and will do everything else. I just can't do this and I don't have a DH to do it for me.

    So my question is, after a bit of searching on here I've come down to some alternate options. I need to know if they really work on a half grown chicken about the size of a small cornish game hen at the store.

    A- feed him an adult size benadryl. The rumor is that it just puts them to sleep and overdoses them. True?

    B- the vinegar and baking soda method. I have done this with smaller chicks and mice, but have never tried it with a larger size. Does it work as fast?

    C- ether soaked rag in a bucket. Same principle as the baking soda/vinegar. Does it work faster? Could I put him to sleep with an ether soaked rag near his face while I hold him and keep him calm and then go for a big dose that will suffocate him?

    D- someone suggested a shot of arsenic into his breast. This one concerns me as I imagine it would hurt. I don't want him to suffer (and yes, I know that wringing his neck is the fastest way to keep him from suffering. I just can't do that.)

    My issue with the bucket is that it will freak him out. At this point everything will freak him out. He's a very freaky chicken. I was able to wrap him in a towel and hold him until he was calm last night. My preference would be that same thing. Hold him and talk to him until he is calm and then do whatever works. The ether seems like the most logical choice. I have the ether started fluid you use with the lawn mower and stuff and imagine that it would work okay.

    I need advice please. This poor guy has to be in pain and I just don't see a way out for him.

    Last edited: Oct 12, 2009
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    I would suggest NOT using the vinegar/baking soda method. I used to keep rats/mice as food for my pet snakes, because I didn't like the inhumane methods used by the local pet store to kill them (they would just stick them, live, into the freezer). Searching for a more humane method, I learned about using vinegar/baking soda and was assured that since it produced CO2, it would just painlessly put them to sleep. Well, after trying it with about a half dozen batches, I found that NOT to be the case. My set up was fine - a tube feeding the gas into the container the animals were in. The problem was that at the first whiff of vinegar, they went into a panic and scrabbled at the sides of their container in a futile attempt to escape. One time I stuck my nose in to get a whiff of what they were experiencing and it BURNED my nasal passages all the way down to my lungs. Once I realized this was NOT the painless, inhumane method I had been assured it was, I could not bring myself to do it any more. Therefore, I would highly recommend against using vinegar/baking soda.

    I did then learn that dry ice can be used to produce the gas (I can't remember now exactly how) but with no experience of dry ice or even where to purchase it, I never experimented with this as an alternative.
  3. raylastanford

    raylastanford In the Brooder

    Feb 16, 2008
    Goodells, Michigan
    I feel for you. I have a hard time doing what needs to be done also. I did learn the broomstick method out of necessity. I fed and coddled while holding them, then quickly stuck the head under a broomstick held down with my foot, and yanked up on the feet. The trick is to practice before hand with a stuffed animal or something so you can coordinate your movements. It was immediate, but of course, did have some of the twitching after. Are you sure your guy is hopeless? I had a hen shredded to pieces by a guinea. She had her whole side, wings, and the base of her tale just hanging in flaps. I literally thought her tail was going to come off. That was before I learned to do what I had to, and couldn't bring myself to do it. So, I kept her in the house, very quiet, encouraged fluids with electrolytes, gave her an antibiotics (penicillin for wounds), away from flies (fly eggs/maggots), and gobs of neosporin. She ended up not only healing, but now, over a year later is the healthiest of girls with the best feather quality of all my girls. Go figure. She didn't seem like she was suffering at the time either, although at first she cooperated with us which shows she knew I was helping her. I know it's hard to know when it's time to cull, or if there's hope. Best of luck to you.
  4. Lynn57

    Lynn57 In the Brooder

    Aug 10, 2009
    Citygirl, I can totally understand where your coming from and wouldn't want to be in your shoes. I can't answer your questions except that the Benadryl sounds the most humane, although you have to get it in to him. Is it the pill or liquid form? would it possibly burn his crop first? do people actually know that this doesn't happen?
    I have decided that if I have to put one of my chickens down I will take it to the Vets. We take our dogs, cats, birds, horses and all other pets to the why not our chickens. If you can't afford this route then maybe you can phone your Vet and get the proper info from her or him. A lotta of people here have great advise, but alot I'm sure still think of chickens as livestock and say that they don't suffer "doing it their way" ...but really who's too know... but the chicken. I myself feel a huge responsiblitily to any animal under my care and couldn't stand knowing that because of me it suffered. I'm a wimp like you too...but I think it's a good thing...definitely do not feel bad about it. There would be alot less animal suffering in the world if more people were like you.
  5. CityGirl
    How bad is it really? Does it look worse than it really is? It is surprising what these birds can go through and still survive. We had one of our girls attacked by a hawk that literally ripped the skin from around her neck. About a 2 inch wide piece, to the bone, you could see her spine, all the way around except for maybe a half inch wide piece right in front. No blood, didn't stop eating or drinking so we left her alone and today she is one of our best layers and all you see is a bit of a ripple in her neck feathers.
    If this is a bird that you would like to keep and it is not bleeding, I would give it a chance.
    My mother always swore by giving injured birds, ones that flew into the house windows, a couple of drops of whiskey to calm them down so they could heal. I have given a few of our chickens a few drops of whiskey or rum or what ever was on hand, and it seems to work great with no ill effects. Helps calm them and makes them sleep so they tend to heal faster because they are not flopping all around.
    Whiskey has been used for hundreds of years as an antiseptic and numbing agent. Wouldn't hurt to try if you want to keep it.
  6. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    Apr 6, 2007
    CityGirl, you don't have any hunter friends you can ask? I know many have a hard time with the "chop" method. Trust me, after culling my flock this spring I never want to do it again. I just think you are underestimating your strength here. It's not really that bad and it's definitely the quickest.

    I'm in no way trying to get a debate going, just encouraging a friend. Many here have felt the same way but did what they had to do and got through it. You can to. [​IMG]
  7. JakRat

    JakRat Songster

    Apr 22, 2009
    I couldnt do it either and had a friend come by and take him to "the farm". My vet will put chicks and birds down for 10$. there are all these horrible ways of putting chicks down, but I would rather just take them to the vet.
  8. augustmomx2

    augustmomx2 Songster

    Aug 31, 2008
    Central Indiana
    I vote AGAINST the vinegar/baking soda method. I attempted to cull a pullet of mine a few months ago, using the vinegar method. She was 5 months old, very ill (would barely move her head) and I had her in a rubbermaid container. I heard her flapping around inside, I cried, sobbed until it stopped. It was awful [​IMG]

    I opened the lid and she was stretched out, not breathing and appeared to be dead. The next morning I went out to our pole barn and guess what? Yep, she didn't die, she was now in her usual position, like the whole incident never occured. My dh finally took her to work, a guy he works with has chickens and he culled her (neck breaking) in the parking lot.

    This was a terrible ending for my poor sick girl, I haven't really shared it with anyone cuz I'm still traumatized by the whole experience. Hopefully my experience will help you not go thru the same thing. Good Luck in whatever you decide to do [​IMG]
  9. Barrett Farm

    Barrett Farm In the Brooder

    Jun 8, 2009
    Silicon Valley
    Hello City Girl
    Don't throw in the towel. You can mend the chicken. They are tough little birds.

    Look through your medicine cabinet. Grab some neosporin, have you even had a prescription of Silver cream for burns, betadine solution, this is good too. Got any crazy glue? Got any duct tape?

    Wash out the wound with the benadine. Dry it well but don't worry the crazy glue needs moisture to set.
    Line up the edges of the wound. Use small pieces of duct tape if you need additional hands (touch the tape alot to remove some of the stickiness if you want to remove the tape. I used it full strength to keep it covered and clean). When you have it together, pull it tight to bring the edges together, give it a drop of crazy glue. When the glue is set apply the neosporin or the silver cream (helps grow new skin buds)

    One of my little chick ripped open her head, I thought she was a gonner. But this is how I treated her and she healed so well all the feathers looked perfect as she grew older. Look at it this way, you have already written her off, you have nothing to loose trying to patch her up!

    Wanna hear my culling method for a wimpy city girl like me? A taxidermist told me about this method so I could save the bird if I wanted to stuff her. You need a running car, a nice solid cardboard box with one hole to fit the exhaust through. Can you see how this works? I used to use my 74 VW bug to do this. I recently culled 5 in one morning, I had to use a BMW 528iT. The smog equipment on this CA car works too good, it took longer to finish the job. I would recommend an older car to do this job quickly.

    Good can do this! You have nothing to loose! Take this opportunity to learn something new!
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2009
  10. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    I don't know, y'all. The wound on his head is the size of his head. The mean roo pecked it down to the bone across his whole head. There is nothing to super glue together. The hole is bigger than a quarter. How can this heal?

    He's still in the brooder pen and acts fine. He has calmed down some. I fed him grape bits this morning and he gobbled them right up. It has to hurt though. Sigh. I have a hard time putting them down when they are acting okay. He looks just terrible. Is it worth putting him through the pain of the healing process when as a roo he'll just get eaten? I can't get rid of my healthy, gorgeous boys, much less one that's mangled. Seems mean to heal him up to slaughter him. (And let me point out that it won't be me slaughtering him or eating him!)

    Unfortunately I don't have any hunter friends that are willing to help out. It's pretty much just me. The problem with the chop method is that I am an uncoordinated clutz. I really would chop my own hand off. Or my foot. Or my own head. The bird would be completely unscathed. [​IMG] I have come to terms with my own lack of grace and coordination and have learned to just not do things that might cause bodily harm. Giving me a hatchet is a baaaaaadddd idea. [​IMG]

    The car exhaust is similar to the ether. I'm thinking the ether would be less traumatic for the little guy since there would be no big scary car.

    Your story of the vinegar/baking soda takes that away as an option. What a horrible experience for you! [​IMG] I appreciate your honesty in sharing.

    I'm not really a drinker, so there is no whiskey in the house. Sounds like a good idea though.

    I can't get any confirmation on the benedryl method so I am hesitant to try it. Benedryl puts me right to sleep with no burning, so I would guess it would work that way on a chicken, but I don't really know. I have no idea how to get it in him anyway. The last time I had to medicate a chicken I mixed it up in some cucumber mash and it worked like a charm. Maybe that would work with him?

    Clearly I'm still waffling. If he would act sick or in pain it would be easier. As it is I don't know what to do with him. He hates being in the house and clearly wants to be out with his hatch mates. I thought about cleaning him up really good, dousing him in blukote and putting him back out in the playpen with his pals. At least when he died he'd be happy and among friends. The downside there is that I will NEVER catch him again after this so that would be the end of the medical care. It's rainy and muddy so the wound would instantly get infected. There is the chance that his hatchmates would continue to peck at him and I wouldnt' be around to catch it until they pecked him to death. [​IMG]

    Arg. I'll figure it out eventually. For now he's enjoying his grapes.

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