Delicate Question


8 Years
Aug 6, 2011
New Mexico
When culling is an unavoidable necessity...well-how do y'all go about it? To those who have birds processed - done yourself or taken somewhere?

I'm not currently facing this, but feel this knowledge is important for long term flock ownership.

Thanks in advance to those willing to respond.
There are about a million posts on this. Gas, Freeze, Chop head off, Pull head off, Drown (ugh!), take to vet to be put down.... I'm a head chopper myself. Over, done no suffering. You will have different people passionate about each method.

eta (do a search for 'culling' on this site.)
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I dont eat my pets. I cull as necessary for one reason or another, favorites included (it hurts) and I do it without the bird suffering...the quickest, painless way possible....a .22 bullet to the head.
Howdy! I am in Jesup but work in Savannah. Don't think I have the heart to do this deed perhaps I could employ your assistance in the future??? LOL, yes, I am a sissy!
Same here had to cull one this morning..As he was harming my flock in ways that I couldnt stop(I.E. Attacking my hens and his brother whom is the main roo.) It shattered me... His name was Nermal...R.I.P My feathered friend.
For straight-up killing (no processing), there is a tool you can get from a company in the U.K. called a Poultry Dispatcher (they come in chick/bantam and Standard size, and even a big one for turkeys). The dispatcher (the Std. size one) looks like a pair of pruning loppers - except that instead of the two blade halves coming together, it's two steel bars that don't actually meet. The dispatcher is designed to humanely and bloodlessly kill your chicken by snapping its neck. I have used it numerous times. The chick one works great for chicks (never used it on bantams). The standard size one works well too. But of course chickens are chickens and they flop around a little, but it's not gory since there's no blood. I can't remember the name of the company I bought it from, but a search for 'poultry dispatcher' or 'chicken dispatcher' ought to bring it up.
I think you are asking a good question. Sometimes you HAVE to cull a bird that was seriously injured or is very sick. A processor is not going to let you bring a sick bird to them - if you can even find a processor (we don't have any in our area).

It's good to understand what you might have to do even if you consider the birds your pets. The alternative is to let an injured animal suffer. I don't process our birds - my DH does - but I do know what to do if he is gone and I have to put a bird down humanely.
The dispatcher has been my kill-method of choice ever since my RIR hen suffered a viscious attack from a large owl (she had been blinded in both eyes & had other severe facial injuries). She was bleeding and shrieking and the whole thing was truly horrifying. It was obvious she could not be saved (and I AM one of those crazy people who will take a chicken to the vet & pay hundreds of dollars to try & fix it). At 2AM, what do you do? We don't own a hatchet, and her head, well, there wasn't much to grip for a neck break. Ironically, the dispatcher had come in the mail just the day before & was in the kitchen, and I used it and put Henny down. And it was quick and peaceful.

If you're processing though, you probably want that blood drained out while the heart's pumping, so a knife stick while they are in a kill cone or a head chopping off is probably the best method.

For humane culling without trauma and mess, I like the dispatch tool.

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