Humane euthanization of chicks-what's your opinion?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by the lemon tree, May 14, 2009.

  1. the lemon tree

    the lemon tree Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 12, 2009
    I apologize beforehand if I've posted this in the wrong area so please let me know. For the past few days I've been suspecting that my 1+ week old Barred Rock pullet is indeed a cockerel after consulting folks here and resources online. I've posted an ad on Craigslist to see if someone wants it, but in case no one does, the only option I have is to humanely euthanize it (I can't have and don't want a rooster). What's the best way? I'm sure this will spark a huge debate but maybe that's a good thing. So far I've heard about the following methods:
    1. breaking its neck
    2. decapitation
    3. baking soda + vinegar

    Any others? In your opinion what's the most humane and painless option?
  2. sparkles2307

    sparkles2307 Terd of Hurtles

    I would go with baking soda and vinegar... it seems the nicest to me. I sure as heck wouldnt let my DH do it cause he'd prolly rip the heads off in the interest of saving time...
  3. Polish Chickens

    Polish Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2009
    Let it become fully grown and then kill and eat it
  4. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    In my opinion, decapitation is the surest, quickest and most humane method for euth'ing chicks and older birds also.

    For small chicks you can use a pair of sharp scissors/shears. For the squeamish you can hold the chick down in a plastic bag you don't even see the end result. One quick snip and it's done.

    For older birds it's the hatchet on the neck. Not fun for the human but very quick for the bird.

    Wringing the neck can also be quick IF you know exactly how to do it. Otherwise you end up just injuring the bird and causing unnecessary pain.

    All the other methods - ether, starter fluid, carbon dioxide/baking soda, freezing may be easier on the human (they are definately less 'direct' methods) but take a lot longer and cause stress on the bird - even WHEN they are done right and work.

    That's just my 2C worth from been there done that land. Your mileage may vary.
  5. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    I worked in medical research for a while. And there are really some awful ways that labs euthanize animals to be studied. However, as long as you aren't going to eat the animal one of the fastest ways (and pretty humane, also you don't need any trial runs at it) is with ether or starting fluid for a car (which contains mostly di-ethyl ether).

    If the animal is small you can use a gallon size baggie. Put 2-3 paper towels in the baggie and spray the towels with plenty of starter fluid (you can buy it at Walmart or any car parts store). Seal the bag and wait for the ether to begin evaporating, this will create the fumes which the animal will breathe. I usually leave the bag sealed for 3-5 minutes. Then put the animal in the bag, do it quickly so the fumes remain in the bag, and reseal. I've never had any small animal last for more than 15 seconds. If watching the poor thing die is too much you can cover the bag with a bath towel and just hold hour hand on the animal until you feel it quit breathing. Then just take the whole bag with the animal in it and dispose of it properly.

    The vinegar / baking soda solution is less irritating to the bird's respiratory tract. But it can take up to 30 minutes for the death to occur. I find the ether method faster and easier on me.
  6. BiggKountry

    BiggKountry Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 16, 2009
    CHickychicky.....I feel your pain. I had to get rid of my rooster too. I found the best way is to "snap" their necks.

    With out sounding cruel........I just twirled the bird and broke his neck. He will flop around for a few seconds. If that bothers you to watch, then break his neck and walk away. Come back in a few seconds and you have a dead rooster.

    It is sad and can bother some people to do this, but with keeping animals of any is part of the responsibility.

    When the chicken is flopping is nothing more than the body shutting down.

    One word of caution is make sure the neck is broken, otherwise ..........
  7. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Quote:That's why I use the hatchet. With the decapitation method you know with 100% certainty that the bird is killed immediately. I've heard too many stories of wringing necks that went wrong...
  8. HeatherLynn

    HeatherLynn Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2009
    Kentucky, Cecilia
    Ok, this will probably get me labeled as a wacko but...Had a duck that hatched deformed. Like insides were hanging on the outside kinda thing. I keep herbal valerian drops on hand for some a very relaxing additive to my tea when thats needed. Mild herbal sedative. I figuered my stress relief was his life relief. I gave him a really good dose. He just went to sleep and my husband finished the job just to make sure. Poor little thing never woke up. Good chance it was dead but I had these terrors of burying the poor thing while it was still alive just unconcious sooo. Anywho just an idea. No jerking or flopping or straining. Just closed its eyes.
  9. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    My approach is fried chicken at 12 weeks or when it crows. If it's an early crower, "cornish game hen." And if you're wrong you will have one more hen.

    For a 1 week old, I would use good strong scissors.
  10. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    Overall the faster the better. Chemical methods may be easier on us but are often rather drawn out and have the potential for complications. Best way to put down most animals is a well placed bullet or similar to the brain. Kinda hard on a chicken though so next best would be cutting off the head. It may be harder on the people doing it but it's instant for the animal.

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