Why Do Chickens Run Around After Head is Cut Off?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Barry Natchitoches, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2008
    I was out at a friend's farm, and he was butchering chickens. With the deep freeze we are dealing with here in the "south," he couldn't keep all of his chickens in the only heated chicken coop, so he was butchering his unwanted roosters sooner than normal.

    It was the first time I've ever seen a chicken beheaded, and it is really true: they run all around after they are beheaded. They do it for nearly a full minute.

    Why does this happen?

    How does it happen?

    Do you think the chickens feel pain during that time?
  2. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Last edited: Jan 8, 2010
  3. fordmommy

    fordmommy Dancing With My Chickens

    Jul 16, 2009
    I believe it is nerves that over-fire when it happens.

    As for still in pain???? I would like to believe no. But I'm not convinced. [​IMG] But that is part of the circle of life. [​IMG]
  4. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:He was getting away from the guy with the ax.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2010
  5. newchickmom09

    newchickmom09 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2009
    I have never butchered a chicken before but plenty of quail and dove. We hunt them and if they don't die with the bbs from a shotgun shot then we take the head off. The nerves in the body will twitch and spazzim for a while. I really don't think they feel any pain because the head is gone. You have to have the brain attached to tell the nerves to have feeling.
  6. Chicken Heir

    Chicken Heir Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 1, 2009
    Colchester, CT
    Exactly..pain receptors are in the brain.

    Also, why butcher them because of the cold? They would have been okay.
  7. Whitehouse Quail

    Whitehouse Quail Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2009
    It happens as the nerves endings start going crazy; just like if you chop off your head, the electrical signsals sent out will make your arms and legs go crazy (and your bladder to release)

    No, they don't feel pain during this time because they are already dead, and the pain would be felt from the brain, which processes the impulses sent by the nerves; the brain is no longer connected to the body, so there is nothing left to process what is happening.
  8. Ibicella

    Ibicella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 13, 2009
    Everett, WA
    It's just nerves, adrenaline, and the blood pressure dropping. Without the brain hooked up to tell them what to do, they start firing randomly, and that causes the body to move.

    No, they won't feel pain or have any conciousness. There are no longer any pain receptors. The head dies in less than a minute max.

    Its a fast and humane kill...just really kind of disturbing to watch.

    ...Or hilarious, whichever way you look at it.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2010
  9. 1acrefarm

    1acrefarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 3, 2007
    It is going to be 15 tonight and I am not heating my coop or killing chickens and they will be fine in the morning. Chickens do fine in the trees in the worse of southern temps. The worst they get is frost bit combs but dubbing or vaseline will prevent that.
  10. Chotii

    Chotii Chillin' With My Peeps

    When I had to kill one of my pet hens, I could not bring myself to cut her head off, but concussed her several times with a wooden hammer-handle until she went into the mindless convulsions of a chicken with its head cut off. It's pretty much the same thing, I think: no functioning brain, body goes berzerk for a bit, then realises it's dead.

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