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#68636 - 10/31/08 07:58 AM Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Mad Max Offline
New Egg

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 5
Loc: Missouri
I needed a HUMANE method to end my roosters suffering. When I first posted my question in September "Burney" had lost his quality of life by going blind and no longer able to walk. But he had a healthy appetite, crowed regularly and always happy when being held. We kept a radio on in the barn and he would fly up and sit beside it back in the day. So daily I held him and danced in the barn with him and we got along. But when in the last week he became congested, wheezing, and gurgling, I had no more time to try and figure out "a humane method" Burney needed help now! I've had plenty of time to come to terms that my bird wasn't going to get better and I'd ask my husband if he'd be able take care of it.
He said he'd use a 4.10 and I hated it but when you see something you care for suffer, you can make yourself accept what's necessary. I would have hated any method. So when it was time after holding Burney and taking a slow dance around in the barn, I took him out behind the barn, my husband told me to go away and just around the corner I heard the gun and I looked back around the corner. Burneys' legs were moving still but I knew that was a normal reaction and I felt immediate relief for my bird. As horrible as I thought shooting him would be, watching him die slow was worse. I thank some of you who posted suggestions but those who posted for meat slaughter, you didn't understand my request. Burney was a member of our family. We buried him last night. And he will be sorely missed.

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#68637 - 10/31/08 08:25 AM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Art Ana Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 07/14/08
Posts: 160
Loc: Montana
I am sorry for your loss. I lost my favorite and personable hen to a dog two days ago and it hurts a lot so I understand you have pain also.

I am a novice myself with chickens.

I did look into humane ways for putting down a rooster in late summer and determined that the method I would use, given a choice, is dry ice in a cooler.

From my understanding, you can buy dry ice by the pound from a grocery store, place it in a cooler- best to seperate it slightly from the bird. Place the bird in the cooler with the dry ice and the gas from the ice should first put the bird to sleep and then cause death.

I defer to the more seasoned chicken experts on this forum and look at questions and answers to aid my education. I offer you this late and apologize that you didn't receive what you were seeking at the time you needed it.

I know it hurts.

I wish you the best, and peace for both you and Burney.

Take Care,

Ana

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#68638 - 10/31/08 09:43 AM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
madmax...in all honesty. I believe shooting to be the most humane. I can never know for certain if I "pop" the neck just right. So I prefer a .22 or a pellet straight to the head.

You did what you needed to do and that is one of the hardest things of being a pet owner. I'm proud of you for being able to make that decision.

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#68639 - 10/31/08 10:51 AM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Ridekool Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 313
Loc: Canada
Aww, I'm so sorry for your loss. You did the right thing.

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#68640 - 10/31/08 11:06 AM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Bushman Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/25/07
Posts: 1046
Loc: Wisconsin
Dry ice burns. I would think it would cause a lot of pain before the bird goes to sleep. A sharp crack to the back of the head on concrete or hard metal seems the quickest and most painless way to me.
_________________________
Pilgrim in a foreign land and true believer.
1st John 5:11-12

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#68641 - 10/31/08 04:37 PM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Art Ana Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 07/14/08
Posts: 160
Loc: Montana
Dry ice burns when you touch it, true. That is why you seperate the bird from the ice. Using something like a cage like those used for suet as an example and then physically seperating the bird from the dry ice so they do not touch each other. Very large cooler. We have huge ones we use to take rafting-I wouldn't use a little one.
I know the businesses that raise roosters for fly tying feathers use gas to harvest the rooster without damaging it. I realize their gas delivery is more sophisticated but the idea is definitely to preserve the bird while ending its life.

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#68642 - 10/31/08 06:43 PM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
H. Cote Offline
Bantam

Registered: 01/03/05
Posts: 69
Loc: Massachusetts
I'm sorry too. The first time we had to put down a rooster was very difficult for both my husband and me. His name was Wally and we still have his tail feathers. Our "humane" way was to use a very very sharp axe on his neck. My husband held the axe and I held Wally. It was over in a second. I know that Wally lived a good life, lots of "women" encounters and he left this world quickly.

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#68643 - 11/09/08 06:00 PM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Mrs. Smitho Offline
New Egg

Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 9
Loc: Texas
hey there...I am so sorry to hear of your loss...he had a very good life with you guys...I almost cried reading how you waltzed him around the coop frown

Youdid the right thing.
Might I suggest another way to put small animals down?
We used to have a ball python...and raised rats to feed her...at times the rats became too large for her to eat and we had to come up with something...

engine starter fluid...on a rag or in a bucket of sorts...they just fall asleep and there is no burning or fighting. For an animal as large as a rooster, I'd suggest some on a rag, just be careful not to breath it in yourself!

sorry again for the loss...know you were a good momma smile

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#68644 - 11/10/08 05:02 PM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Eric19 Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 07/25/07
Posts: 197
Loc: Michigan
I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sure you did the right thing. I had to put my beloved hen down, the day before school this year. I used the same method, with a .22 gun. She will surely be missed.

Sorry again...

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#68645 - 11/23/08 02:08 PM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Sunni Ten Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 341
Loc: Colorado
A gun or breaking/cutting the neck is indeed the most humane. Sticking the bird in the freezer would be really traumatic, I would think, and not very fast. Some people think the less bloody method is the best when that simply isn't true.
Anyway, Madmax, sorry for your loss.

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#68646 - 12/09/08 04:43 AM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Cockadoodledoo Offline
Chick

Registered: 12/08/08
Posts: 18
Loc: Australia
Regarding the Dry Ice -

Dry Ice is solidified Carbon Dioxide (CO2). The bubbles in 'Carbonated' drinks such as Coke/Fanta/Champagne etc. is Carbon Dioxide

CO2 is heavier than air, so if you put some dry ice in a waterproof tub (ie plastic not a cardboard box), it will fill the tub from the bottom up with CO2, displacing any Oxygen in the tub. If an animal was in the tub (it's head below the top edge of the tub), it would become light headed, faint and then pass away.

It would be wise to put a lid on, as if there was any flapping, it may blow some of the CO2 out.

This is a very humane and painless way to send an animal on it's way especially if you don't have a firearm.

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#68647 - 12/09/08 05:38 AM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Dee Dee Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 11/19/02
Posts: 174
Loc: Maryland
Been thinking about the dry ice method. This is a form of suffocation and as such am not sure that this is truly a humane way to go about it. As Sunni says, just because there is no blood does not mean it is less traumatic to the bird. Suffocation is not a good way to go.

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#68648 - 12/09/08 07:16 AM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Ryu Offline
Feather

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 35
Loc: Iowa
I have some experience working with animals in a research setting. There are actually very few methods of euthansia.

As far as chickens goes my list for the average owner would be:
1) Shooting chicken in head. #1 best method--if the person taking the shot can really hit the head.
2) Sedation followed by decapitation. Get a shot of sedative from the vet, and when the animal is out, decapitate.
3) CO2 suffocation. Dry ice isn't an acceptable source of CO2. You can get a small tank of CO2 from a welding supply store. 5 minutes followed by decapitation, or 10 minutes followed by 10 minutes of oberservation.

Hope that helps. Sorry for everyone's loss.

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#68649 - 12/09/08 11:17 AM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Ryu Offline
Feather

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 35
Loc: Iowa

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#68650 - 12/09/08 06:36 PM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Agree, except I've stuck my head into a CO2 tank, and it hurts. It's like you try to breathe, and whenever you do, your insides are being ripped apart. I will never do that to another animal.

The shooting thing--if you tie down the bird so that it can't move, you don't even have to aim. Put the barrel to the bird's head and pull the trigger. Unless you have a huge shotgun, in which case, well, we won't go there. A pellet is all that's really needed when the bird is tied down.

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#68651 - 12/09/08 10:56 PM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1280
Loc: Canada
Forgive me but I must ask. JRSY, I know that you use a high powered pellet gun, no gun powder, just compressed air.

Let's say the bird was restrained, wrapped in a towel or something. Then you placed the head against a solid background, wood block or the ground, and held the neck, immobilizing the head. So bird isn,t moving, you have one hand holding it's head down, if you put the muzzle point blank againt the bird's head and fired, what risk is there to the hand that is holding the bird?

Do these pellet guns have a kick back? Would the pellet glance off dense bone and enter your hand? Would they ricochet off the wood block and go flying around?

I think shooting in the head is an excellent choice but I could never just take random pot shots at a chicken as it ran around. I would want to get that muzzle right up against the head and how big a threat is it to my hand? Obviously if a person is careless, the risk is high. But if the bird is still, head against dirt or wood, would you use the pellet gun at point blank with your hand close by?

One last word about death by lack of oxygen. It is NOT pleasant. Ammonia, which displaces oxygen, kills in high concentrations. Hubby has worked in places where ammonia is the refrigerant and during a leak one time, he did not evacuate quickly enough and was knocked down by lack of oxygen. He was rescued and said it was incredibly painful as you get a pain at the base of your skull as if someone hit you as hard as they could with a baseball bat...then lights out. He remembers the pain.

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#68652 - 12/10/08 04:44 AM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Cockadoodledoo Offline
Chick

Registered: 12/08/08
Posts: 18
Loc: Australia
I did some research about lack of Oxygen through CO2, and your right, it is not as humane as I supposed in a previous post. Lungs are apparently very sensitive to high levels of CO2, and this can lead to panic and pain ahead of death.

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#68653 - 12/10/08 10:12 AM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
I wouldn't use a wooden block behind the bird...ever. Too much risk of it ricocheting.

The bird is tied down. Nope...never hold the neck. Way too much danger in injuring yourself. Once a bird is immobile, they generally don't struggle. At least, my birds never do...especially when they are as far gone as the original poster's bird. You can put the barrel at the top of the bird's head, or at the side of the bird's head. Never use your hands for this. If you want to make sure the head is immobile. You can use a weight. Use a piece of yarn, wrapped around the weight, and then tied around the bird's neck...not so that the bird is hurting itself, but so that it is definitely immobile.

Uno...you never know..some people DO take pot-shots at chickens. It makes no sense to me?

Nope..BB guns/ pellet guns have no kickback, at least to me. Now...a .22, to me, has a kickback.

Don't worry about asking uno! That's what the forum is for! lol

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#68654 - 12/10/08 10:28 AM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
IPF Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 466
Loc: Canada
I've found this to be a very helpful thread, as killing birds humanely is always a concern. The CO2 info was particularly enlightening.
One more option: we go out early in the morning before the birds are up, take the bird off the roost, knock it on the back of the head to render it unconscious, then take it out and decapitate it. It seems to me that this is about as humane as possible (maybe the same level as the shot to the head)? I suppose lethal injection would be humane too, but not a great idea if you want to eat it.

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#68655 - 12/10/08 11:03 AM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
I've seen a dog w/ lethal injection without any pain meds. It was not a pretty thing. I do agree...if given pain meds along with the euthanasia..then yes, it would be a good method.

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#68656 - 12/10/08 07:17 PM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1280
Loc: Canada
Jrsy:

Thanks for answering my question. Having never handled one of these guns, I am glad to hear from someone who has.

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#68657 - 12/10/08 07:24 PM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
IPF Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 466
Loc: Canada
Uno - how do you kill birds when it's time for them to go?

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#68658 - 12/10/08 09:33 PM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1280
Loc: Canada
Hubby built killing cone which contains the bird, no flapping wings or frantic fighting. Bird goes in upside down, head comes out hole in bottom and hubby removes head with single axe swing.

I have been interested in Jrsy's air gun because I think it is a method I might be able to do myself. I have NEVER been able to bring myself to use an axe on any of my chickens. Yet I think it is a responsibility that I should step up to. You know, get over it and do what I got to do. frown

I do believe that with poultry, removal of the head is the best way (or knock out first then remove head) but I am very put off by the blood. I imagine, (perhaps wrongly) that the air gun method would be less bloody. And if a person was good at it, like shooting a cow while she eats from a bucket of grain, hopefully they'd never see it coming. Which is for me the optimumn way to do things, sudden, no panic, final.

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#68659 - 12/11/08 08:42 AM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Ryu Offline
Feather

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 35
Loc: Iowa
When choosing an appropriate method of euthansia you have to consider the type of animal. CO2 is acceptable for chickens because of their physiology and body mass. It would not be acceptable for a larger bodied animal--yes it would be painful. For a chicken they have a small enough body mass, that they are incapacitated very quickly. A human, for example, has so much oxygen in their body mass--it is pretty hard to suffocate them.

As for restraining an animal for shooting, the animal would need to be sedated before restraint to be considered euthansia.

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#68660 - 12/11/08 09:20 AM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Who called it euthanasia? I just said it was a good way to make sure the bird was dead.

The chickens that we euthanized in the CO2 tank...didn't die quickly. It took 3-5 minutes in the tank for the bird to be completely dead.

I know what I went through for 10 seconds...I won't put another animal through that. It hurts. We had to put the birds that were not killed through injection into the CO2 container. I prefer the injection to the CO2 tank. They simply...fall asleep.

With injection: they'll click their beak...eyes will get "sleepy" looking...then they'll shake their head and lay it down on the table...and they're gone.

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#68661 - 12/12/08 04:18 AM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Maria Ricardo Offline
Past Moderator
Coop Keeper

Registered: 03/26/05
Posts: 434
Loc: Hawaii
ipf wrote

Quote:
We go out early in the morning before the birds are up, take the bird off the roost, knock it on the back of the head to render it unconscious, then take it out and decapitate it.
I am having trouble picturing holding the bird and knocking it on the head. Do you put it down on a block first? Does the bird's unconsciousness eliminate the flapping as they die?

I have been slitting the caroid artery in the neck without the bird being unconscious first. They definitely feel the knife and eventually flap off to heaven. I would like to find a better way.

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#68662 - 12/12/08 09:46 AM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Ryu Offline
Feather

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 35
Loc: Iowa
Since the initial post was about needing help terminating the life of a 'beloved' pet, I posted information to help people do that. Handling animals for butchering is a completely different consideration.

Again, these methods were researched by the Dept. of Ag. They hooked up cardiac monitors and measured the brain activity of the animals for all of these methods.

For poultry the list of least stressful/painful is Catastrophic blunt trauma to the head, sedation followed by decapitation, then CO2 suffocation.

Keep in mind that even if the animal isn't moving after a overdose of barbituate. The brain is still functioning as long as it is getting oxygen.

I am not advocating CO2, I have a brother who is a dead shot so that's how I handle ill animals that need to be put down. I'm just porviding some information for people who want alternatives.

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#68663 - 12/12/08 09:56 AM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
IPF Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 466
Loc: Canada
Thanks for your concise ordering of methods, Ryu. While I understand the distinction between pets and food, the animal in question probably doesn't, and it's the welfare of the animal that seems to be the common thread in this series of posts.

I think that when killing is to be done, for whatever reason, we all want (or should want) to do it in the most humane manner that is practical. I'm very grateful for all this information.

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#68664 - 12/17/08 10:16 PM Re: Needed help putting my beloved rooster down
Maria Ricardo Offline
Past Moderator
Coop Keeper

Registered: 03/26/05
Posts: 434
Loc: Hawaii
I can now answer my own questions. Today I tried the catastrophic blunt trauma method. First I had the bird on the ground, me kneeling over it but I feared it was too close to my knees for club wielding. I got out from over the bird and held him down tightly, hand on his back then whacked. That is a satisfactory method. They still flap. I hold them til they are completely gone. For me there is still a big hurdle about thinking of them as pets and then killing them.

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