Culling.... what do you do exactly?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by huckleberryfarm, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. huckleberryfarm

    huckleberryfarm Chickenista

    Jan 7, 2010
    Greenwood, SC
    I'm sure this is on here somewhere but I can't stand to read through the posts that come up. I've been reading and reading in anticipation of our first chicks. I keep reading about culling. The deformed. The strange. The not unhealty. The ones you don't want. Never have I read what exactly you do with these birds. What do you do? The whole thing makes me a little sick to my stomach but I know it's something you have to do. What do you do with the chicks or chickens you don't want? Specifically. Thanks!
  2. dichotomymom

    dichotomymom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 19, 2008
    Dayton Indiana
    Fortunately, I've never had deformed or sick animals so the only "culling" I do is actually processing but I will tell you that over the last couple years, my method has gotten easier. Hedgeclippers! It's the quickest way I've ever used. Make sure you burn or bury whatever you have to cull for disease prevention and/or to help ward off predator attraction.
  3. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009
    I sell or give away the chicks that are not the "best" for my breeding project. I have not had any issues with deformed or unhealthy chicks yet, but I suspect if they are suffering, I would have no issue putting them down. There are many different ways to euthenize humanely. Since I am most familar with how to kill a quail (from my dad taking me hunting as a child) I would probably do it that way. Maybe not the best way, or the "nicest", but the best way I know how. I would hate to try something new, and get it wrong.

    Edited: we also eat the roos: but we just quickly kill and skin them. Saves time and effort. Ditto on the burning thing.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    by hedge clipping, do you mean you cut their heads off with them?
  5. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    The only time i cull chicks is if they're sick without reasonable hope of recovery (birds for meat is another matter). I've used the cervical dislocation method twice, but it's easy to mess up by not pulling hard and quick enough. I think that in the future, i may use the hedge clippers - or in my case, limb loppers also. I know for sure that they're dead quickly if i take the head off. It's that simple.
  6. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009
    Well, the OP asked for specifics...

    I do not use hedge clippers. My chickens are killed quickly and efficently before any processing takes place. There is no need for them to suffer at any point. If you poke around here long enough, you'll see lots of different "preferred" methods. Some work better for other people because of experience, facilities, tools, etc. For example, my DH and I have different ways we go about things. He would rather break the chicken's neck, then process. I do not have the hand/wrist strength to ensure I had severed the spinal cord in one quick snap. The chicken would likely suffer a dislocated/broken neck and spend unecessary time scared/in pain before I could finish it.

    BTW- I am not being defensive here. I re-read my old post and saw it was a bit....glib. I do apologize. I love my chickens and respect them in life and death.
  7. rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2009
    Cut Off, LA
    I know it seems mean if you are not used to farm life, but really hedge clippers would get the job done fast and with mercy as far as I can see. But this kind of life is hard for a lot of people to appreciate. I didn't have any chicks with defects last spring and summer, but I did have a few roosters. I am not good with breaking their necks, so I slit their throats. I killed 4 today. Whatever way I would chose to kill a defected chick, would be fast and no doubt cruel in some people's opinion.
  8. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    [​IMG] This is a VERY ESSENTIAL QUESTION for which every new chicken owner needs to find their answer long before they may ever need to personally apply the information. Too many folks wait until they have an injured or ailing bird before they even begin to think about this, meanwhile the poor animal is continuing to suffer because of its owner's neglect.

    There is a very wide range of attitudes people have towards their chickens and purposes for keeping them. From pampered pet to producing livestock and all variations in-between. There is also a lot of variation in the amount of resources people are willing or able to use in caring for their chickens. Some have professional veterinary care that is available and affordable for them, others must contrive to tend by themselves to all their birds' emergencies. Also, some folks are willing and able to take the extra steps needed to care for a misfortunate bird that is handicapped or deformed, others keep chickens for a particular breeding program and will routinely cull chicks if they don't match their criteria.

    It's all good, but what's even more essential is to know just where YOU stand when it comes to YOUR birds.

    I have learned how to quickly & humanely dispatch both adult chickens & baby chicks. For me, I see no need to further stress my birds by driving them off to a vet's office, no need to incur that expense for something I can easily do myself. For adult chickens I use cervical dislocation. I either hold the bird under one arm and yank its neck out & bend the head up to break its neck, or hold the head down with a broomstick over the neck & yank up on the legs. With young chicks I cut their heads off with sharp kitchen shears. I wrap the chick in a paper towel with its neck exposed, hold it over a hole I've pre-dug near a bush, and cut quickly through the neck, and let both parts of the chick fall into the hole.

    I cull when the bird is beyond help, when I've tried everything I can think of to cure it and it's still suffering. And also if it's so badly injured it has no hope of recovery. If it were a bird that turned out to be the wrong sex or have the wrong appearance I would at least raise it for its meat, or give it to someone else. And it sometimes helps to have a dispassionate 3rd party to do the job for you, they can focus more on doing a good job & less on the emotional aspect of the event.
  9. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

    Dec 16, 2008
    Cull its a daunting word I'll give you that.

    very deformed chicks that are suffering get culled by way of snipping off their heads with shears ( always hard to do thank goodness is not needed often)

    cross beak or other not so bad problems (just had 2 ever so far...get kept and allowed to grow out till sexed or until I can find a home for them)

    Pullets that do not go into breeding program get sold as layers for others

    Cockerels get sold as breeders or what not or processed for family food.

    Sick chicken that is suffering is put down humanely via axe or shears
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
  10. saddina

    saddina Internally Deranged

    May 2, 2009
    Desert, CA
    For chicks that are born with clear issues (bowls outside of body, and such), Mr saddi wraps them in a paper towel and breaks thier necks. Fast, they don't know it's comming and efficient. For full sized processing, a razor blade and calm nerves.

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