First cull.....when does the guilt go away?


12 Years
Nov 14, 2009
Boyers, Pa
I had a very sick 9 week old. He simply wasn't getting better, in fact he had gotten to the point of soiling himself and just laying on his side all the time. Except when he was having his spasms or seizures. Then he sorta just spun in a circle on his side. I had tried everything I could and he'd been in quarantine for 2 weeks. When he quit eating and drinking I made the decision to cull.

I tried the baking soda/vinegar thing and it didn't work. I think I opened the container too soon. So, I decided on the broomstick method. I covered his face with a baby blanket...I didn't want him to see me doing it. I did exactly what I read here on BYC and it worked. Maybe it worked too well cause the head came off.

I know it needed done, but I feel so guilty that I did it. I had carried him around and babied him for 2 weeks and the thought that he knew it came from me is just killing me. I know he would have suffered another day or 2 and died anyway. I guess I just wish there was a gentler way.

Thanks for letting me vent.


It's All About Chicken Math
12 Years
Apr 29, 2007
I have a "Cull Chamber" Plastic tote with tight fitting lid, it is large enough for a full grown bird but I use it for any size, except small chicks I have a small one for that. I use starting fluid, soak a rag, stick it and bird in container, close the lid and walk away for a few hours. It still hurts, but it is easy and better on me and them.


Lone Star Call Ducks
10 Years
Aug 3, 2009
Knowing in your heart that you did the right, humane thing should make you feel better.
You did what you did out of love for your bird.
The guilt will pass when you realize on a practical level that you made the best decision for a suffering bird.


11 Years
Nov 15, 2008
The guilt will pass
It used to really, really bother me if for whatever reason we needed to "put down" one of my birdies. My husband just processed 4 extras we had that I had no place for and it wasn't FUN, but I didn't have that awful, horrible guilty feeling that I used to.


10 Years
Jul 15, 2009
Woodstock, Georgia
The pain goes away faster than you think. Focus on your other birds or other tasks around the house. And know that you did the right thing. What you did is much more humane than letting the bird continue to suffer. You know that in your heart; that's what gave you the strength to do it, so now draw on that same strength to get through it.

When I had to do it, I got up early in the morning and did it as a first task. By the time I went to bed, I was fine with it. I hope you will be okay soon.

I think the fact that the head came off may have tramatized you a bit more than the event itself. When I did it, I also used the broomstick, and that was my biggest fear (that the head would come off). I got lucky and it didn't happen. I am sorry you had to see your baby like that, but you still did the right thing, and you will be stronger because of it.

Someone on here said (maybe even on my thread) that if we are going to have animals, we have to be strong enough to do what's right when it has to be done. You are strong!


9 Years
Feb 7, 2010
BackYard Chicken Ranch, TEXAS
Just keep telling yourself she is in a better place now and think of it as a lerning period the quilt should not even be there because you did the right thing by taking the suffering away from this bird are you raising them for meat or pets if for meat you will need to do this again and again so you will need to come to terms with it in time.
For pet's sorry for your loss but she is no longer sick.

I am sure she is thanking you for taking such good care of her cause the other's and the real momma would have killed it by starving it or pecking at it till it was dead but because you took care of her she knew a much better life even though it was short lived in the big picture you must think of it this way what you did was more humane then what the momma would have done besides this sickness won't travle to the rest of your flock now. Just think you were a good momma.

Hope this helps not really good at this sort of thing cause I raise mine for meat and eggs not pet's.

Sunny Side Up

Count your many blessings...
11 Years
Mar 12, 2008
Loxahatchee, Florida
Awww, I'm sorry you had to go through this, but see now, you have gone through this and are now a stronger & wiser chicken keeper. You've learned things to apply to similar situations in the future. You demonstrated fortitude in doing the right thing for an animal in your care even though it was an awfully difficult thing for you to do. And I don't think your chicken felt betrayal, if chickens can even formulate such a notion, but instead most likely felt comforted by being in YOUR hands instead of the hands of a stranger.

This issue is something I advise all chicken keepers to carefully consider right from the beginning of their planning to keep chickens. Few of us can find or afford professional health care for our birds & must learn how to take care of their illnesses & injuries, and if necessary, be able to humanely euthanize them.

I too use the broomstick method to cull chickens ailing beyond remedy. They die when their necks break, but sometimes the heads come off if I continue to pull after that. But I don't think the chickens feel that, they're already gone before that happens.

I don't think you need to feel guilty, but instead be comforted in knowing you did your best for your chicken and were brave enough to help him Cross The Road when he needed your help the most.

for you.


10 Years
Nov 13, 2009
Everett, WA
Your bird knew he was dying. And if he knew his death was from you, then I doubt he felt fear. Death is not pleasent, but the most we can hope for is having a loved one nearby to show us mercy and compassion.

You showed the ultimate love for a suffering being. You put aside your own feelings of pain and discomfort to help them. You stopped suffering. This is not something to feel guilty for. If you feel sad, that's ok. That's normal. That was a hard thing you did for a loved one.

You have a good heart and you did a grand thing. Don't beat yourself up.


Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
May 3, 2009
New Jersey
I feel that it is our responsibility to humanely and responsibly care for our animals. Part of that is the responsible process of euthanasia when quality of life no longer exists. Take solace in the fact that you did "the right thing."

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