I have to destroy my entire flock. I need a very humane way

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Boring Farm, Aug 28, 2010.

  1. Boring Farm

    Boring Farm In the Brooder

    Aug 6, 2010
    I posted a topic a couple of weeks ago, "PLease Tell Us, What Would You Do?" Topic 385173. To re-cap, We have a small flock which became a hobby that both my wife and I share. We sell their organic free-range eggs from a roadside stand in front of our 10 acres and decided to buy another 22 Rhode Island Reds from a local farm whose website and Craigslist Ads read like a first class operation. However, after I bought them I found out the Sellers bought them from somewhere else and re-sold them to us as their own. They not only feather picked and cannibalized their eggs, within two days they had full on respiratory disease. Even though I quarantined them, my flock eventually became sick as well.

    I recently found out that the antibiotics failed after an autopsy they have CRD, Chronic Respiratory Disease, caused by Mycoplasma bacteria that is considered to be one of the smallest cell bacteria that has no walls, where no antibiotic will cure and then it acts like a virus, only rearing its ugly head when your birds are stressed, over heated, cold, or during molt. I was hoping I could successfully treat them with two antibiotics, terramycin and streptomycin, but within the last two days they have started to show mucus around the nostrils and as of today, one has reverted to a pneumonia like symptoms, coughing, gurgling, swollen face and frothy eyes.

    I was told that I should destroy the flock because they are carriers which would infect any future birds and then burn them as not to infect the soil. Does anyone have a very humane solution to killing them?

    These are more pets than farm tools and I'm hoping some of you can empathize with this. I was not raised on a farm but I have little problem if one is hurt beyond redemption like when one of my goats accidentally stepped on one. I used a .22 through the side of the head thinking it would be so fast the hen wouldn't feel it. But the very first time, I slightly missed and it wasn't pretty but within a couple of seconds I was able to contain the lightning fast flapping and jumping to put another one through the skull which stopped most all movement except the normal reflex twitching. I felt so horrible over those two, in the past two weeks I had to put down 5 because they just couldn't breath so you can imagine now that I have to do over 35?!? I'm physically sick over this.

    Please help...


    I'm with EVERYONE on two issues...

    The Vet That put down Lurky's Cat at the least should have their license revoked. In anger, I would have probably clocked the Vet which is wrong, I know. I've had to put down my Father's dog 6 years after he died because the arthritis made it so painful to move even with the medicines (I can't remember the names). The Vet came to our house and to my recollection, used two injections. One to calm him down and the other to put him to sleep. We both gently rubbed his face and body and said calming words. It was so hard to let him go but he was so peaceful during the entire time. I can't imagine what Lurky went through and so sorry for the family and cat.

    Gas is out.

    The unabashed, clear and absolute best way is to have them injected by a Vet. The problem for me is cost. I believe it will cost about $8-10 a hen (42and the On-Site Vet fee of $68 for a total cost of $404-$488. I wish I could afford it. I will call Monday morning to our Vet and a couple more to get an actual cost.

    The other methods are any of the cervical methods which the broomstick seems a great way. In these methods, there's no noise to startle the flock and the brain is instantly disconnected from the nerves which signals pain to the body so if done correctly, there is none. The only thing is, I'm not quite sure what the hen's brain is processing during the final moments because it is still "thinking" (I know, I know... I'm probably "thinking" too much).

    So for me, I'm going to stay with the .22 on the side of the head to make sure I hit the brain matter. It will be so fast and the hens won't know what hit them. Since the brain is what processes impulses to the nervous system, the brain is instantly disconnected from the rest of the body where no signals/impulses are going anywhere... which causes pain in the first place. The muscles from the disconnected nerves start to spasm. But if there is no brain matter, there isn't any pain or horrified agitation which is my concern in the first place.

    We're going to take the hens from the roost in the very early morning, one at a time. The site is on the caddy-corner where the coop is, on the outskirts of our property so hopefully the shots won't startle them too much. We're going to use a tarp on the ground to capture the small amounts of blood after they're shot. We'll dig a hole in the side of a huge mound of dirt where the bullets will end up and refill the dirt after everything's done.

    Then I'm probably going to cry. I'm such a pansy.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  2. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I would look at containing them all in an inclosed area and using vehicle exhaust to gas them.

    If you decide to shot them, the best place to do it is at the base of the skull where the head and the back of the neck meet....at least that has always seemed the quickest to me.
  3. hudsonhousechicks

    hudsonhousechicks Songster

    Jun 2, 2010
    I just want to say how sorry I am that you had to go through all of this. I don't know the best way to destroy birds; I've read about the "broom method". There is probably a thread on BYC. I don't know that I could do it.
  4. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    The broomstick method... Its worked every time for us. Its over in a second...
    I'll try to find the video of it...'
    Just to warn you now...
    Folks will be chiming in here and saying things like... gas them... freeze them...
    I would not do that.... its easier on the person.. not the chicken..(IMHO..) but its your choice.

    A quick cervical break is the best way..or the hatchet... IMO
    My only problem with the hatched is..what if you miss and just hurt the bird? *shivers* I'd have nightmares forever...
    Thats why we use the broomstick method..
    Also... sometimes the head will come off with the broomstick method... but..thats FINE with me... because i KNOW its done right and over in 1/2 a second..
    I'll see if i can find the video that showed us how to do it... it was on youtube...
    Maybe try to go there and find it?
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
  5. Camelot Farms

    Camelot Farms Chickenista

    I agree with Katy. Its the quickest and easiest on the birds. They just go to sleep.

    I would consider purchasing a cooler that you will dispose of when you are done, placing 2 or 3 birds in at a time and placing an exhaust hose on the 'drain thingy' at the bottom of the cooler. Just make sure that they are completely dead before you open the top so you dont have to start again.

    I am so sorry that this is happening. Poor you, poor family, poor birds.

    This is for the craiglist seller... [​IMG]
  6. nnbreeder

    nnbreeder Songster

    Jun 22, 2008
    I'm with Katy on this one. Wrap the coop with plastic to tighten it up and use either an older car's exhaust, fewer emissions controls and more CO, or use a couple of big bottles of CO2.

    It's a tough call any way you go.
  7. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    Heres the video.. **warning it shows the killing of a chicken..**

  8. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Songster

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    OMG I am so sorry you have to go through this! I have not ever had to cull a bird so I have no input on that, but lots of sympathy for your pain.
  9. Boring Farm

    Boring Farm In the Brooder

    Aug 6, 2010
    Thank for the empathy and replies. On the vehicle exhaust, doesn't it burn the throat before they fall asleep? I know when I've been in an area with exhaust, it burns mine. My cousin said I may be able to do the same thing with either natural or propane gas, as long as I could ground the pen in an area that is away from any buildings and brush (for fires). I have 10 acres and have the access to those gasses, but I'm unsure about the safety.

    I would like to find someone who has ether without putting me on some kind of police watch.
  10. Highlander

    Highlander Tartan Terror

    Oct 1, 2008
    I'm not sure if I am comfortable with any gassing method. i have heard it is one of the most painful ways for a person to commit suicide so I would be concerned that it would be painful for the bird too. My preferred method is with an axe. Over and done with very quickly and you know there was no suffering. I wish you all the best with whatever method you decide to use. Sorry you are going through this.

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