Need support - just really screwed up...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by GD91, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. GD91

    GD91 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 1, 2013
    I have 2 handreared cockerels, both good affectionate boys, both of which I'm attached to. But we only have four hens, so I decided to cull one of the roosters. It was not my first cull. Never had any problems before even with birds I've been very attached to (a house chicken ).

    Anyway, I got the machete & dumped the bird on the table held by its feet like normal..... a grey barred roo with a wonky crest, no name. He had gone for me in the past once, but never again & is usually very sweet & boss roo.

    My normal method of culling is the favourite "chop of its head".

    The bird just wouldn't keep still. All the over birds just lie there & off goes their head... After a second blow which took off half his neck feathers, but missed his neck I decided to try some thing different. The broomstick method. I was very forceful with this.

    Laid the birds head on the floor - check. Placed broomstick handle over the back of birds neck & place foot on it - check. Pull up hard - check.

    Bird went floppy. Then I turned to go inside & he opened his eyes & looked at me looking terrified & upset. Understandably. This didn't faze me, I just felt disappointed I hadn't done it well enough. Right?

    So I tried again - harder! He flopped again. This time we got to the kitchen when I heard a quiet croaky "Bock!"

    By this point close to having a nervous breakdown thinking about all the suffering I'm causing, I raced outside again. This time I pulled so hard I heard a crack & I nearly fell over backwards as his head got yanked so hard, it flew out from under the broomstick handle. I was pulling up & back on the body, incase anyone was wondering.

    This time I thought "Yes, I've finally done it. Roll on sunday dinner" before I heard the bl**dy thing quietly gasping for breath once I was back in the kitchen. He just hung limp with his eyes closed, beak open & I felt terrible. So I put him on the floor & fetched a bowl of food & water which he gulped down. He seems recovered already apart from being very quiet, but I just can't try again. Now he's perched on the back room sofa while I'm on the PC writing this.
    It was made even worse by him seeking reassurance from me about what just happened [​IMG] Why do animals have to be so trusting?!!

    I've just tried to kill him & he still wants to sit on my knee & be petted [​IMG]
    He's obviously got a very sore neck & missing feathers. I'm lousy [​IMG] I've always prided myself on how humanly I've killed my birds, but that one just wouldn't die. After this, no chance will he be sunday dinner [​IMG] just can't bring myself to cause him more trauma,

    Guess he'll be on his own until I buy him more ladies ....
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    You know, I think the little guy wasn't meant to pass on.


    Take care of him and he will hopefully just think you decided to flog him something fierce. [​IMG]
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    so very sorry!
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    That is hard. I can understand your feelings. :hugs

    Something that may help in the future. I use nails in the chopping block to help hold the head. Put two large nails in a Vee shape, maybe about 1” apart at the bottom but flaring out some, to hold the head. Position the chicken, put the head through the nails, and gently pull it snug, not real tight. This has helped me be more sure of humanely doing the job.
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j True BYC Addict

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.

    We use the nails in the stump, too ( and by "we" I mean my husband). It works very well. It is hard when they trust you so completely, isn't it? My husband had to put down our 10-year old lab this past summer. He told me later, "I knew he was dead, but the dumb dog laid there and wagged his tail for almost a full minute." I said, "Maybe he was thanking you for putting him out of his misery."

    As far as keeping your rooster alive after all that, I'd probably do the same thing.
  6. GD91

    GD91 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 1, 2013
    Thanks everyone. The nails on the chopping block... yes, definitely something I'm going to do now. [​IMG] I should have thought of that.

    As for the roo, he's been eating & drinking & roaming, but he's been closing his eyes for long periods & just standing in one spot hunched over. I've been finding him away from the flock, on the floor of the coop today, just laid down asleep. He clucks when I touch him but is obviously very traumatized. He's got a scab on his face where he just got nicked by the machete & a big hole in his hackles. [​IMG]

    I don't know how I'm going to tell my DH he won't be eating him after all.... there was many reasons he was being culled.

    1) we live in town & while there is no law preventing us keeping roo's, we keep ours quiet by bringing them indoors at night.... something that grates on DH.

    2) we only had 4 hens, although I guess we could get more or use hen saddles.

    3) he drew blood on the other roo.

    4) I couldn't rehome him because his wonky crest was really unattractive & DH won't give a bird away for free.

    5) He didn't weigh in as much as the other roo, although he's still big.

    I really feel like my DH is going to blame me for having to put up with the roo. I've culled roo's before & sold them to, but my DH wants our backyard farm ran for maximum productivity. The way I see it though, its me who manages everything, cleaning, feeding, culling, butchering.... he is not involved at all in it. I don't expect him to be, but as I'm the one whom obtained & cares for these animals, surely I have a say in what happens?
    All DH talks about is money & feed bills. Do you want to know what I did today? I built a 6 x 4 ft rabbit pen out of an old wardrobe & chicken wire & a tarp. How much did it cost? Barely anything.
    I went the shop & came home with a bag full of reduced vegetables for the animals. It cost 60p.

    I like our backyard farm, it gives me something to get upto in the morning & I love watching all the animals relaxing & playing outside my window.
    All DH sees though are "greedy" chickens "pointless" quail & "stupid" rabbits.

    I know what his problem is, the animals haven't started reproducing yet, so he's seen very little return for the money spent. All the birds are on natural light currently. We got our first chicken as a chick last year in june & have not had one egg yet. The quail are 8 weeks & aren't laying yet, either they are not ready or its lack of light or a bit of both.
    I think 2 of our does are pregnant as they are no longer receptive to the buck.

    I have lots of patience. My DH doesn't. I just hope he'll let it pass since its the first time I've failed to butcher a roo. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
  7. ChickenCurt

    ChickenCurt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2014
    I wouldn't be able to follow through after all that either but don't feel alone as most/all who slaughter have had a blunder or more. We don't behead anymore here, we use killing cones and a sharp knife and slit the jugular; they bleed out quickly with little pain and don't get blood in the lungs. Go to youtube for video, I was going to post a link but some may think it too graphic.
  8. GD91

    GD91 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 1, 2013
    Post it in the meatbirds section & I'll take a look. Thanks.
  9. GD91

    GD91 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 1, 2013
    Can I saddle the hens?

    Would this stop the 2 boys pulling their feathers out?

    I'm not sure if both boys will mount the girls.... the gardens small so sneaky matings would be hard..... Also both boys are 20+ weeks & are not mating with the girls. The subordinate roo crows once in the morning for about 3 minutes. These boys were hatched last year in September.


    Otherwise I'll have to get another 4 or 5 hens for the boy.

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