euthanizing chicken

cindy leigh

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 24, 2009
we have a pullet that was hatched at Easter. She apparently has a dislocated leg. It started when she was about 5 weeks old. We thought maybe it was a sprain, and waited to see if she ould outgrow it.

I can't spend hunderds of dollars on a $5 chick to have the vet attempt to fix (and my vet doesn't do that anyway). The leg, if for instance I was comparing to a human arm, is like this: holding your arm straight out in front of you, the elbow is rotated out and the shoulder is dropped. The lower leg crosses over in front of the good leg.The toes are curled and fairly useless. Instead of walking on just the foot, the chick uses the whole surface of the leg- the forearm to us humans. She does eat and drink and hops around her small cage, but I feel she would be beat up on when she gets into the hen house with the other 14 girls.

My daughter is raising the chickens, and although this one is not a "pet", she declines any "voilent" techniques, such as neck wringing, throat slitting, etc., by us or anyone else. The vet charges at least $75 to euthanize.

I do not have access to ether, or really want to do that.

We will not be using the chick for meat.

so my question is, if I ground up a few sleeping pills and fed it to the chick, would that work? I'm trying to find the best method that would be painless to the chick, fairly botch-proof (I don't know that I could chop of slit throat correctly the first time, or even have the stomach for it), not cost lotsw of money, and won't make my daughter hysterical.

I am sorry but the ONLY way to gauruntee a quick painless death is to remove the head with an axe, hatchet or loppers... The easiest way I have found to do it is the way i do my quail hit their head very hard on something and then remove the head, this way the initial whack not only stuns the bird but ensures that you will finish the job (once they are stunned I cant imagine anyone would be able to not finish as if they didnt then they guaruntee a slow and painful death... I dont think that giving a bird human medication is a good idea as you have no idea how the animal will react to it, i personnaly would not like to see my pet having convulsions while it MAY be dying...

I am sorry if this seems harsh but when you accepted the responsibilty to raise chickens you excepted the job of putting them out of pain ... I am saddened everytime I read about someone trying to (Humanely) kill an animal but they are only thinking of themselves and the inconvenince of killing it them themselves..
Thanks for your advice. We are trying to take many factors into consideration.
Why does nobody suggest sticking the chicken in a killing funnel sold at poultry supply houses, and using that little curved blade knife designed to puncture the brain from inside the mouth at the same time cutting those blood vessels in the roof of the mouth so that the chicken bleeds out?
The chicken seems to go to sleep or at least calm down when inserted into the funnel, yet I never see this as a way to put them down.
MOst folks who cant handle the ax , seriuosly cant pithe.. I can wack a head off but still cringe at the thought of the killing comes and pithing
Well, we are trying to balance a few things:
sparing the chicken from a life of pain
painless euthanasia
our daughter's feelings about the type of euthanasia
our own skill (not much with axe or knjife- we don't even own an axw!)

so the funnel and brain hacking method would not work for us.
but thank you for responding.
There are some threads on this forum about using starter fluid to euthanize. I've used it on very small chicks and it works well with no trauma, but have never tried it with an older bird. I'd suggest that under the circumstances, you call around to a number of vets as $75 is way too expensive. My vet charges $18 for a small animal euthanasia & I think it is well worth it in many cases. You might also want to consider giving this bird to someone who doesn't care about its disability since it sounds like it can still get around reasonably well. Only you can judge whether or not its quality of life would be good enough for this to be an option. You might be surprised at how many people are out there who are happy to own and care for special needs birds. Karen

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