Had to cull my first rooster today...


5 Years
Sep 28, 2014
I made every mistake possible I think, but I won't go into the details. I will say that chickens are a lot harder to kill than I thought! And this 2yo roo was tough.

I had put this off for many months, but knew it was inevitable since he had attacked everyone in the family more than once. It was still difficult and sad because he was a great flock leader in every way, and a good daddy to his chicks. Culling has got to be by far the worst part of raising any livestock.

Anyways, could use some moral support because I hate killing. I hope there isn't a next time or at least that it will be easier. How do you get comfortable with it?
Sometimes one must take a moment to evaluate the situation in hand. My family is in jeopardy, the rooster has become uncontrollable. He must be neutralized. What goes through a person's mind at this time? Can I do this? How will I feel? Am I being a cruel person? You might find that for the next time, should it occur, you might want to delegate this responsibility to others. If you find this aspect of raising and culling chickens difficult, you might want to find someone else to "do the deed", even if it means not having a chicken dinner that night. People feel things differently, depending on how attached they've become to their flock. No one expects a Veterinarian to hand you the needle to put your sick dying pet down and say "Go to it". In the same way, if you feel that you are incapable of handling the situation, find someone else to do it that you trust to be quick and merciful. I've had to do the deed before in my younger days (chickens, turkeys) on my uncle's farm. Don't care to do it anymore. I've even given up shooting the bloody squirrels that go after my bird feeder. Becoming an old softy in my old age. Don't feel bad, you did the right thing. You don't want any negative genes introduced into a future flock. Take care.
Practice. And don't internalize it and over dramatize it in your mind or heart. It's a job, much like all other jobs..some are dirty and don't leave you with a feel good feeling and some are not and that's just life. The art of staying joyful about raising chickens is to dwell on the good things and purposely put the more hurtful things in the past where they belong. Killing a chicken is not a huge thing in the big picture, so keep it in perspective.

Killing the chickens becomes easier with practice and developing a method that you find to be the most quick and easy to do. I use a two gallon bleach jug mounted to a tree so my hands are free and the bird is cradled in a position for a good bleed out. All of this is important...when doing a dirty job it helps to be prepared and have the right tools.

Get yourself a set of sharp knives...they don't have to cost a lot. I use RADA brand knives, which are cheap, last forever and hold a good, sharp edge for as long as you will need it to butcher a chicken. They are also my every day kitchen knives, so nothing special about them other than they get the job done. If you are going to continue to have chickens, you will find the need to cull again, so you might as well be prepared by having the correct tools.

When cutting the neck, go high up towards the head, right under the jaw line where there are very few feathers, then push the beak down with your thumb to bring the skin into a tautness that keeps it from shifting when you slice. Then slice hard with a stroke in one direction only...no sawing motions or you will just have skin that moves back and forth with your knife.

You'll get better at it each time you do it and soon you'll not feel it for as long because it will just be part of your flock tending duties, much like poop management and such. It just is what it is and no need to feel it for longer than you should. Just take it in stride and go on with life. No one really likes to kill another creature with their bare hands and we aren't supposed to feel all happy about it, but we don't have to feel too horribly sad either...it's a job, no more, no less.
we haven't had to cull any yet but this fall we will. Sorry it was tough on you. The good thing is that is was hard for you. It means you are sane. Maybe next time reading more on what to expect will help. My sister has helped with meat birds. SHe can't handle blood and stuff. SHe did it with her friends and she found that her role to shoot the bird was the best spot for her in the process. They shot them and they cut off the necks to make sure they died quick. Don't know if that will help. maybe others to help with it wouldn't have made it easier.

anyways. You are a good person, that is why it was hard. SO that is a good thing.
The first time is the hardest to be honest. I find that using a hatchet is the fastest and more easing on the heart. One fast wack and you know the bird didnt feel it. My other half doesnt care for the process either. But she understands that the bird had to go for a reason. Our last rooster was going after her while we clipped our girls wings. Then he would attack her shorkie. I explained that safety of the things we love means alot more as a whole and a individual life shouldnt risk the well being of the rest
Really it is a tough part, but I hate having an un-peaceful flock. Culling is a part of this hobby or should be. It helped me to have someone else with me, a little moral support. Once the animal ws dead, it was not so hard.

Now, I rather want a feather picker.

Mrs K
My wife went into the coop while the chickens were inside of it for the first time ever today. What a difference it has made already! Now my wife and MIL can plant flowers and landscape without fear, and I don't have to worry about neighbor kids who are trying to pet a chicken getting attacked either. I know it was the right thing to do.

The next one I have to do something like this though, I will have a sharper blade and be more exacting. I had a hard time committing, and that made for a harder time.
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Good for you for taking on the job in the first place. You did it. You learned from it. I won't say that it ever gets easy, but with time it gets easier. My husband uses the hatchet and stump method to kill our chickens, but he grew up on the family farm, his mother raising chickens to butcher, and that's just what they did. Personally, if I ever had to kill one, I'd probably use a killing cone. (So far I haven't had to because DH does it for me.) Also, kudos to you for doing the right thing by your wife.
Yep, it's the hardest part...and it does get easier.
Might not get easier if you're only culling for behavior rather than for meat,
because when harvesting for meat there a purpose and a reward at the end - Rooster -N- Noodles.
Having the trouble gone is reward also.

I just did my 3rd and 4th and it was much easier having a couple under my belt. First one had my entire body trembling with adrenaline, making the cut and watching the death throes is not pleasant to say the least, but it is responsible and IMO there's a lot to be said for that.

Cone and utility knife with brand new blade and knowing just where the jugular is helps alot.
This was the most helpful butchering tutorial I found during my weeks of research prior to my first.
All I can say is that the first time is the worst. And now you have put that past you. I had to cull our 2nd rooster earlier this year. He was not the dominate rooster in the flock, but he was a bully with me and the hens. He'd sneak into the coop when the head rooster was outside watching the ladies. He'd climb into the nest boxes while the hens were trying to lay eggs and have his way with the hens. But he wouldn't get off of them after he was done. He'd just stand on them. Or, he'd corner one of the girls outside the coop and not get off of her until the head rooster came over and smacked him around. I hoped things would improve but I noticed a couple hens were loosing feathers on their backs. I tried to catch that second roo and take care of him. Sneaky lil sod he was... kept getting away from me. So, I grabbed my .22 rifle and we had chicken soup that night.

It get's easier after that first one though. Honest.

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