We had to put down one of our beloved flock not too long ago: a production red that was succumbing to internal laying. We had always heard a kill cone was the most humane way to cull a bird, so that's what we tried. It was a disaster, actually. But we learned from our mistakes (didn't make the cuts properly at first) and will not repeat them. However given the involved process of the killing cone, I have to wonder how it would be less humane to just use a chopping block? I ask the question because we have one more production red exhibiting very similar laying troubles. For two weeks we've been carefully managing her, but we are unsure if she will get back to normal laying or if things will go bad the way they did with her "sister." If things do go badly (or even if they don't) I want to be able to put our girls down with the least suffering (most important) and the most dignity (secondary concern to suffering) as possible. Here are my concerns about the humane aspects of the typical kill cone process: - How long do they take to bleed out when the cuts are made well? Does it take a minute? - The cone restrains, but our girl flailed her bleeding neck and scratched constantly with her feet while she was bleeding out until she was gone. Disturbing is an understatement. We had her upside down for more than a minute before putting her in the kill cone so she would "red out" before the cutting. I'm sure that helped, but body did not seem to be "suffering minimally." I am considering a "hybrid" chopping block technique. Invert the chicken to calm it, put it in the kill cone. Hang the cone so that the bird's neck is adjacent to a heavy, fixed wood block (i.e. the chopping block's face is vertical, not horizontal). Gently stretch the neck out on the block and with a very sharp hatchet, take off the head. It is unceremonious to decapitate a loved pet, for sure. But it's over instantly in one stroke (at least the *suffering* is over, even if it takes the body some time to die). Even done well the kill cone process seems to take far longer. Anyone out there with experience along these lines? I have no interest in raising birds for meat and processing them. Just trying to send pets along as quickly/easily as possible.