Sick Chick

cute chickens

In the Brooder
Mar 15, 2015
Please no judgement, but what is the nicest way to kill a baby chick? It hatched almost 2 days after my first (I ended up helping it out of its shell towards the end), has splayed legs, had pasty butt (I've cleaned that), I'm hand feeding it but its getting weaker. Now its head is tilted in a funny position and it has blood in its poo. I think its time for it to go, don't want to let it suffer any more.
The other chick I am hand feeding seems to be thriving. It has something on its bottom, I think maybe part of an unabsorbed yolk, its like a red ball, but its not getting any smaller. Doesn't worry little chick tho, although it doesn't seem to want to eat unless I hand feed it. Chick happily runs around, is smaller than the rest but is feisty!
Sorry to hear you have sick chicks :hugs I too had the same thing happen in my last hatch. I'm not really one for helping as this usually means you will have sick weak chicks. But I did help one to finish its zip. Needless to say it went down hill and I had to cull it. I used the gas method. I mixed baking powder and vinegar in a small bowl. I then added the small bowl to a larger tub and put the chick next to the bowl in the larger tub and put the lid on. Took about 30 seconds for it to pass.

As for your other chick if it's not unabsorbed yolk it could have mushy chick. Here is a link all about it

Sorry your going to have to cull but it's best for it so that it's not suffering anymore. Good luck with your other chick.
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I think it is good you are going to cull this ill chick. Sometimes it is the most humane thing to do, and just a fact of life too.

I have heard the asphyxiation by gas method works.

Some folks will also snip the head off with a sturdy pair of scissors (like heavy duty kitchen scissors) with newly hatched chicks like you have.

The other method I learned from my Dad growing up and it is the "put them in a pillowcase and whack them on the head with a big shovel" method. Baby chicks tend to love snuggling into a blankie/cloth of some sort with their heads buried and they are very calm too as a bonus. You can use a pillowcase, or take some paper towels and put them in a plastic grocery bag, put the baby in the paper towels all snuggled in, take the digging shovel/a rock/other hard object, and smash them quickly and hard in the head with one swift blow to effectively smoosh them. Sounds awful yes, but they never see it coming, and when done right there isn't so much as a peep or time to feel the pain. This works best on little ones for obvious reasons.

I have also heard of folks using some sort of car/household product (can't remember what), that has ether in it. So when they soak a cloth with the ether laden fumes in it the baby breathes it in, goes to sleep, and stops breathing. The ether was an old time anesthetic even back in the past, and the chick dies because the dose of ether inhaled is so much that goes to being fatal rather than anesthetic.

Hope this helps, and that it is a quick and painless cull for everyone involved as I know these sorts of things certainly are no fun and sad too!
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