"Broomhandle method" need advice on how to do it

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by RM44, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. RM44

    RM44 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a 7 week old chick who has been having seizures for 3 weeks now. His condition is not improving, he never gets on the perch or even off the ground. He's with a flock of 24 and the others don't pick on him, but I just can't, in good concious let him keep going. He stumbles, walks around with his head down, trembling and doing somersaults.

    It's time to put him down, and I am thinking I need to do it. (My husband is willing, but hesitant, and if he does it, he will shoot him, and I don't see wasting the lead or taking the risk of hearing the gunshot go off in the neighborhood.) I think I can do it, and I want to do it in the morning so that I will have the entire day to come to terms with it before trying to go to sleep tomorrow night.

    I need to be prepared. I am afraid I am going to pull the head completely off, and that will totally freak me out. I need to know how to do it quickly, and without causing the bird to panic, suffer, or without actually pulling the head all the way off. Can someone tell me how to position the broomhandle, how hard to pull the legs, and what I should expect (in case I need to take further action if I'm not successful the first pull).

    Thanks for your help.

    ETA - I have never put any living thing to death at my own hands, much less my bare hands. I'm okay with the concept, but I'm afraid of how I will deal with this emotionally, so any help/hints on that would be welcomed too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  2. chocolate m'scovy

    chocolate m'scovy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Put the broomstick across his neck right below his head. Place a foot on the broomstick on either side of his head. Just pull vigorously till you hear or feel a cracking. If you're worried about him not dying, I think it is always safer to pull harder. Don't stop pulling once you start. You will probably know if it worked if the chicken starts flapping or shuddering. If the head comes off do not panic because the flapping is a reflex. I have pulled the heads off because I didn't want to risk the poor birds suffering. I'm sorry this sounds graphic but if you pull hard enough it will be an easier death than many birds in the wild suffer.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2010
    1 person likes this.
  3. RM44

    RM44 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you. I don't mind graphic descriptions; it helps me prepare. I actually have a need to know what to expect, so graphic is fine. I appreciate your good description.
     
  4. chocolate m'scovy

    chocolate m'scovy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You have to remind yourself that the chicken is a farm animal and the most merciful thing you can do to it is put it down. I talk to my birds before I do "the deed" because I want them to have a peaceful death. Don't feel guilty. Sometimes we have to be brave and do difficult things.
     
  5. chocolate m'scovy

    chocolate m'scovy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't press your feet firmly on the broomstick until you're ready to pull. You must first gently find where your feet must go. This way the bird doesn't get stressed.
     
  6. 17roses

    17roses Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Personally, I use the loppers for trimming trees or the hand pruner depending on size. It is really fast and the chicken doesnt even know what happened. It is messier but I know the deed is done and no suffering. (the loppers break the neck very quickly) I am sorry you have to go through this. [​IMG]
     
  7. RM44

    RM44 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you. We've watched him for 7 weeks now. The first 3.5 weeks there were no signs at all. Then we moved him to a spot that was colder (60 degrees instead of the 70 he was used to), along with the other 23 all same age. This particular bird started seizing right away. We first thought it might be wry neck, (and it still might be), but none of the other birds are exhibiting any signs. I've watched closely and he gets his fair share of food and water and even the treats. He moves around, but always head down, curved in like his chin is resting on his breast. He never flies, or even attempts to get on the perches we've provided. He somersaults and twitches and flops around during his "episodes". He was a fluke as I ordered all pullets, and I can't have a rooster anyway, but I had found him a home with our preacher. (She will take 4 chicks, and wanted a rooster if we had one.) However, I keep thinking if there is something genetic, I don't want to pass him on to perpetuate whatever problem he has.

    He's not being picked on, so I don't think he's suffered. However, I can't see continuing to feed him, or growing him out since he's destined to be "off". Also, my space is limited (a 6' x 10' pen with 24 chicks), and I don't want him contributing to the bio load, smell, etc. either. I've been able to make this a very "matter of fact" decision, but it's still against my nature to kill something. I can kill bugs and set rat traps, but I've never taken a life of a warm blooded animal, especially one I've raised. I know it's the right thing to do, and I'm ready to do it, but it doesn't make it any easier. Tomorrow morning is the day. Sigh.....
     
  8. RM44

    RM44 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I'm afraid the messier method may totally freak me out. I can't watch horror movies because of the blood rushing. I can look at blood already on the floor, already spent, but for some reason I have a particular aversion to seeing it squirt or gush out. I may be in the sitation anyway, since this is my first attempt and I'm likely to pull the head all the way off, but I'm hoping to have a totally bloodless event. In a way I wish one of you BYCers was closer, but in another way, I need to prepare myself. I want to keep chickens in the long run, and this is the first of many undesirable tasks I'm sure I'll face in the future.
     
  9. faykokoWV

    faykokoWV Mrs Fancy Plants

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    I haven't used this on chicks, but I have used it on birds the cat has half kill and need to be put down

    Put them in a black non see through plastic bag (garbage bag) twist it down so its in just the corner of the bag, stick that corner behind the wheel of your car and back up over it.
     
  10. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    It's my preferred method. I had a 20ish week rooster to butcher. I had him pretty calm and laid him on his side, then put the broomstick on his head with only gentle pressure until I was standing in position ready to yank.

    I thought it was "nice" that I could feel the "life" go out of him. Not that it was a nice feeling, but it helped me know that he was dead almost as instantly as I yanked on his feet. That's the way I'm going to continue to do it in the future.

    I know some have reported yanking the head off of the younger birds, but really I think you'll do ok with this method.
     

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