Killed my first hen yesterday by broomstick method (mercy kill) and I need some affirmation

Fluffy_Feathers

Songster
Jul 6, 2017
209
263
156
Missouri
I'm not sure if this is in the right forum section, sorry if it isn't. I'm not quite sure where to put it.

Yesterday I killed my first hen, and frankly my first animal, ever. She had an infection that I failed to cure, and I needed to put her out of her misery. I care for my chickens and think of them as pets, so this was very hard for me to do but I knew it needed to be done. I watched lots of videos weeks prior using the broomstick method and I knew exactly what to do. The fact that I killed her doesn't exactly bother me, it's that I keep second guessing myself and thinking "what if she wasn't dead after I pulled? What if she was alive and she died in slow agony?" but I keep telling myself that that is not, and can not be, the case.

Immediately after the dislocation:
  • She started flapping uncontrollably, which is a good sign that she was dead, that is the body's natural response.
  • I checked her eye, as I have seen suggested as a good way to check for life/consciousness. Her eyes were closed so I pulled her eye lid down. There was no voluntary/involuntary movement that would indicate brain function. Her eye lid did slide back closed but I think that was just her eye lid moving naturally. Her third inner eye lid did not move.
  • I felt her neck at the site of the dislocation. I could feel only flesh, no spine. Her neck was also limp. Her spine was separated from her skull, which would mean nothing other than death.
  • After a minute or two I felt her neck again and I think I could feel the blood pooling, which is also something I read that will happen using this method with the head still attached. No blood going to the brain, also means death.
Given all this, she had to of been dead instantly, right? There's no need for me to second guess myself.

I think part of the reason that I'm second guessing myself so much is because when I pulled, I don't remember doing it. This may sound silly but I think I just kind of blanked out and my body took over, and because of that I didn't feel the pop. It's all fuzzy and even more so the more time that passes, even though it only happened yesterday. But even so I knew that the dislocation had happened. It's as if I didn't feel the pop but my brain registered that it happened. There was calm, then the hen flapping. It was over so quick, and it was so easy and went so smoothly... it felt almost too easy as if I didn't do it right. But I KNOW I did... right?
 

MarkJr

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
Jun 15, 2020
4,786
25,352
631
I'm not sure if this is in the right forum section, sorry if it isn't. I'm not quite sure where to put it.

Yesterday I killed my first hen, and frankly my first animal, ever. She had an infection that I failed to cure, and I needed to put her out of her misery. I care for my chickens and think of them as pets, so this was very hard for me to do but I knew it needed to be done. I watched lots of videos weeks prior using the broomstick method and I knew exactly what to do. The fact that I killed her doesn't exactly bother me, it's that I keep second guessing myself and thinking "what if she wasn't dead after I pulled? What if she was alive and she died in slow agony?" but I keep telling myself that that is not, and can not be, the case.

Immediately after the dislocation:
  • She started flapping uncontrollably, which is a good sign that she was dead, that is the body's natural response.
  • I checked her eye, as I have seen suggested as a good way to check for life/consciousness. Her eyes were closed so I pulled her eye lid down. There was no voluntary/involuntary movement that would indicate brain function. Her eye lid did slide back closed but I think that was just her eye lid moving naturally. Her third inner eye lid did not move.
  • I felt her neck at the site of the dislocation. I could feel only flesh, no spine. Her neck was also limp. Her spine was separated from her skull, which would mean nothing other than death.
  • After a minute or two I felt her neck again and I think I could feel the blood pooling, which is also something I read that will happen using this method with the head still attached. No blood going to the brain, also means death.
Given all this, she had to of been dead instantly, right? There's no need for me to second guess myself.

I think part of the reason that I'm second guessing myself so much is because when I pulled, I don't remember doing it. This may sound silly but I think I just kind of blanked out and my body took over, and because of that I didn't feel the pop. It's all fuzzy and even more so the more time that passes, even though it only happened yesterday. But even so I knew that the dislocation had happened. It's as if I didn't feel the pop but my brain registered that it happened. There was calm, then the hen flapping. It was over so quick, and it was so easy and went so smoothly... it felt almost too easy as if I didn't do it right. But I KNOW I did... right?
Sounds like it was quick and precise.
 

TheAlrightyGina

Crowing
Sep 3, 2020
813
3,241
316
Memphis, TN
I'm not sure if this is in the right forum section, sorry if it isn't. I'm not quite sure where to put it.

Yesterday I killed my first hen, and frankly my first animal, ever. She had an infection that I failed to cure, and I needed to put her out of her misery. I care for my chickens and think of them as pets, so this was very hard for me to do but I knew it needed to be done. I watched lots of videos weeks prior using the broomstick method and I knew exactly what to do. The fact that I killed her doesn't exactly bother me, it's that I keep second guessing myself and thinking "what if she wasn't dead after I pulled? What if she was alive and she died in slow agony?" but I keep telling myself that that is not, and can not be, the case.

Immediately after the dislocation:
  • She started flapping uncontrollably, which is a good sign that she was dead, that is the body's natural response.
  • I checked her eye, as I have seen suggested as a good way to check for life/consciousness. Her eyes were closed so I pulled her eye lid down. There was no voluntary/involuntary movement that would indicate brain function. Her eye lid did slide back closed but I think that was just her eye lid moving naturally. Her third inner eye lid did not move.
  • I felt her neck at the site of the dislocation. I could feel only flesh, no spine. Her neck was also limp. Her spine was separated from her skull, which would mean nothing other than death.
  • After a minute or two I felt her neck again and I think I could feel the blood pooling, which is also something I read that will happen using this method with the head still attached. No blood going to the brain, also means death.
Given all this, she had to of been dead instantly, right? There's no need for me to second guess myself.

I think part of the reason that I'm second guessing myself so much is because when I pulled, I don't remember doing it. This may sound silly but I think I just kind of blanked out and my body took over, and because of that I didn't feel the pop. It's all fuzzy and even more so the more time that passes, even though it only happened yesterday. But even so I knew that the dislocation had happened. It's as if I didn't feel the pop but my brain registered that it happened. There was calm, then the hen flapping. It was over so quick, and it was so easy and went so smoothly... it felt almost too easy as if I didn't do it right. But I KNOW I did... right?

I totally get it. I felt the same way the first time I slaughtered a bird here recently. It's natural to feel this way when you care strongly about animal welfare--though you know it's necessary you don't want undue suffering, so you mentally reexamine what you did. I know it's easier said than done, but try not to worry. It sounds like you did everything right and your hen was gone in an instant.
 

BigBlueHen53

We will get through this... together!
Mar 5, 2019
12,207
44,856
1,047
SE Missouri, USA
I have not culled a bird using the broomstick method yet, but it sounds like you did an amazing job. What you describe sounds so quick and efficient, and painless for the bird, in fact, that you have inspired me and given me confidence to try this method the next time the situation arises. Thank you so much for sharing your experience in such detail. Please be comforted that you have nothing to worry about. You did right by your hen.
 

ScratchNbawk

Songster
Dec 17, 2020
114
233
121
The high desert, CA
I haven’t had to cull a bird yet, but I understand the response you had.
You were probably experiencing a fight or flight response. During which your body took over and completed what was necessary.
Now, you can’t stop thinking about it, and you’re analyzing every single second. You may have PTSD.
I wish I could tell you how to be at peace with what happened, but I can’t. I suppose you’ve already taken a big step by reaching out and talking about how you feel - I hope you continue to do this. A part of your mind wants to keep you “safe” and will go to extraordinary lengths to accomplish this. This is great when you’re in an extremely stressful situation, but it’s not so great when this response won’t stop. Whatever you’re going through, don’t let it take over.
You did what needed to be done, and your hen is no longer suffering. Knowing how/when to put an animal down is a part of good animal husbandry, although I know it doesn’t feel good. Be kind to yourself, and don’t fall prey to the primitive part of your brain. ♥️
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom