just had to disbatch my first chicken, and it was a 3 week old chick :(


8 Years
Mar 23, 2011
New England
I've had chickens for a year and so far I'd never needed to cull a bird. I had already read up on ways of killing because I knew the day would come someday. I was hoping the first and hopefully only times I'd need to know how to were for raising birds for the table. This morning I went out to the coop and in a pen I had a silkie brooding some chicks. There was a lifeless/squashed looking chick in the shavings so I picked it up to go bury it. When I was holding it, it opened an eye and looked at me and it was taking very infrequent gasping breaths. I held it for a few minutes thinking it was just about to pass, but it was still alive and I felt bad letting it suffer. I broke its neck, and I hope I did it right/quickly enough and that it died quickly and hopefully without much (any?) suffering.

I think that was the single most difficult moment of my life so far. That was earlier today and my hands are still shaking. I'm a very non-violent person (I don't even squash bugs in my house, I take them outside) so to have to a take a life with my own hands was something I wasn't even sure I was capable of.

On the (somewhat) bright side, I've been wanting to raise chickens for the table for a while, but wasn't sure if I could handle the killing part. Now that I've been in that position the first time, I think that while I really dislike doing it (especially with a baby) that I could muster up the courage to do it in order to provide food for my family (we aren't vegetarian, but quality of life and death are important to us with our meat).
I know how you feel. We (meaning dh) had to cull one of my birds last night. she was a little leghorn mix, almost a year old, and was suffering terribly with an impacted crop. I tried for two days to help her- oil, massage, the other remedies suggested on here. Just could not bring ourselves to perform an at home surgery. I kno wI would have bunged it up. The poor thing's crop was huge... bigger than a softball, and she was a tiny bird (big eggs though). Luckily DH was willing to end her suffering quickly and bury her. It's so sad to lose our chickens- no matter wha ttheir age....
the first time i had to dispatch a quail was hard as well. i've found the best thing to do is just chop the head off at the base of the skull where the spine connects. Instant dead and no pain.

good luck, it gets easier, sorta, the more you do it.

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