Culling a chicken (sorry if graphic)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by macybean, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. macybean

    macybean Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 23, 2009
    I just culled my first chicken, slit her throat instead of chopping her head off. She died quickly, although it seemed like a year:(
    My question is this: Her wings flapped for about 15 seconds...did I do something wrong? I was only trying to end her suffering (old hen, heart failure, no longer benefitting from tapping her belly), but my fear is that I made her suffer. I will really miss her, despite the fact that she was the worst layer I've had. Any tips for next time would be appreciated. Having a fox get them all when the time comes probably won't work as a plan for the future.
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    I don't think you did anything wrong - if the cut was done properly it would have all been over pretty quickly and she didn't suffer - despite the flapping. The flapping is just nerves firing. I think you did everything right.
    1 person likes this.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    15 seconds is quite a short amount of time in my experience. Honestly, no matter how you do it, it takes time for the body to get the message it's dead. They flap or flail sometimes for a few minutes.

    Next time you may want to look into a killing cone. It doesn't change the experience from the bird's pov, but it helps me. Especially if you plan to eat the bird and don't want them damaging the meat with flapping. Our killing cone was cheap and easy...we took some heavy duty plastic pond liner and cut to shape, wrapped with duct tape and there ya go. Don't spend a fortune on one.

    And thanks for responsibly putting your animal down. Kudos for that.
    2 people like this.
  4. lahowardjr

    lahowardjr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 15, 2012
    Bache Oklahoma
    I butcher two roosters Sunday. I hung them by their feet and they were quite docile. I then cut their throat and let them drain out. They both still flapped hard at the very end when the heart ran out of fluid. (sorry). After that they seem just to fall asleep. I hated to kill them now but they were being too rough on my hens. A killing cone would help the flapping and flinging of blood as suggested by donrae.
  5. macybean

    macybean Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 23, 2009
    Thanks all for your replies...I feel better now! Having never done (or witnessed this, other than on youtube) I was really unsure of myself. I am glad she's not suffering anymore. Next time should be slightly easier, I hope!
  6. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    I cried when I butchered my first chicken and this was one I raised for meat, trying not to get attached or give it a name. Later ones got easier because I was more efficient, but it sounds like you did a great job for your first time. You want it to be quick, and as traumatic-free as possible, but some flapping at the end seems to be unavoidable.
  7. kitmarlowescot2

    kitmarlowescot2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2011
  8. Fentress

    Fentress Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2012
    Chesapeake, Va.
    Does any one have a preferance between decapitation and throat slitting. I have been using the killing cone and a pair of loppers to decapitate with. I have heard that decapitation creates more of a nervous or physical response, but it seems to be over more quickly and they flap and shudder no matter what you do. Maybe I just need to get better at cutting the throat?
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    You might want to cruise the meat bird section, lots of discussion on how to do the deed there.
  10. lbrtyldy

    lbrtyldy Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 18, 2011
    I have read that cutting the carotid (sp?) with a sharp knife is the best way to go - let's the heart keep pumping to bleed out better. We raise meat birds and have rented a mobile processing unit from the small and beginning farmers of NH for a nominal fee. It's awesome! Has a station with 6 killing cones, a thingy to catch the blood (which is much less than I originally expected), a big scalder with a metal thingy that you can scald 6 birds at a time in, a plucker (3 birds in under a minute!), and some miscellaneous things like hoses and large plastic barrels for cooling tanks.

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