So, What is the easiest way to cull a chicken? As a chicken owner, I can point out a few differences in my flock in terms of productivity, age and health. Through these differences, I’m able to know which birds to cull and which one to spare. This is important especially when you are raising your chickens for commercial purposes. Let’s delve into the easiest ways to cull a chicken so you may have an idea of what to do.
There are numerous ways you can cull your chicken. Each of these methods is unique in their own way. So, if you want to cull your birds, you can euthanize them using the broomstick method. If not, you can try the killing cone. Also, you may use the chopping method, especially on mature chickens. Even though there are more ways of culling your birds, the aforementioned ones seem to be quite effective.
There are several reasons why you need to cull your chickens. To begin with, the process of culling helps you get rid of diseased or injured chickens. This, in turn, reduces the risk of other chickens contracting the disease from the sick birds.
Culling increases chicken feed and water space for other chickens. Also, culling increases egg-per-hen ratio including the average growth rate per bird. Most importantly, culling inferior birds creates more space for productive chickens.
These are some of the greatest benefits that come with culling. If you feel that some of your chickens are not productive, this is the only way of getting rid of them. Below are the most effective but easiest ways to cull a chicken.
- Several methods of culling chickens come with mixed results. But the overall outcome depends on the method you use. In this case, we are going to look into one of the most common methods used in culling chickens today.
- This method is known as the broomstick and it involves euthanizing unwanted chickens. If you have ever used it before it becomes easy and of course, mess-free. But if it is the first time to use it then you need to be very courageous. This is due to the fact that most culling processes are a bit brutal if not carried out as required.
- When using the broomstick method, you should be well prepared. This means you need all the necessary tools or equipment to make it a reality.
Here is the procedure:
- Once everything is set in place, you should get hold of the chicken you want to cull.
- In the next step, you will place your bird down on the floor or hard surface and between your feet.
- Put the broomstick behind your chicken’s head at the position you would place the hand.
- Step down on broomstick while pulling the chicken’s legs in order to snap the neck.
Snapping the Neck with Your Hand
- Before you use this method, you need to be confident enough. Otherwise, you may not be able to break your chicken’s neck completely and that’s something you wouldn’t wish to experience. Besides, failure to carry out this method properly subjects your chicken to a painful death.
- Snapping the neck is a hands-on approach, thus not a good option for some people. However, this method requires you to hold your bird firmly in your left arm. This is followed by grasping the head at the base where the skull joins the neck. Proceed with snapping the chicken’s head in what looks like a down and outward movement. If you are not sure about this process, ask an expert for further guidance.
- The main reason why I recommend this method is that it is easy to learn. On top of that, the method is bloodless and less messy. The only precaution you need to apply here is to refrain from trying to “wring” your chicken’s head. If you do, the whole process will fail and cause so much pain to your bird.
- This method is probably a quick death for your bird when you do it swiftly. To make it more effective, you need a sharp, heavy cleaver/knife or a hatchet.
- You will require someone to help you hold down your chickens during the entire culling process. On the other hand, you may use what is commonly referred to as the “killing cone”. With this technique, you don’t need help from someone as you can do it alone.
- More often than not, people use a tree stump to act as a chopping block when performing the decapitation. When using this kind of surface, you are required to hammer at least two nails into the tree stump.
- Make sure that the nails are far apart to hold your bird’s head in place. The main purpose of using nails is to help you stretch your chicken’s neck slightly to get a clean cut.
- Once the neck is stretched out, you should be quick in decapitating the chicken. The process must be quiet to ensure that your bird is not stressed when you chop its head. Even though the method is somehow traumatizing, it is also humane and quick.
Use of a Pellet Gun
- The use of a gun or pellet gun is another humane method that you can use to cull your chickens. A pellet gun is the most preferred tool of choice for this task. But ensure that it is powerful enough to inflict less pain into your chicken.
- When using this method, make sure that you wrap your bird in a towel. Then place it down on the ground while kneeling over it. Put the pellet gun close to your chicken’s head and pull the trigger.
- This method is easy and will save you a lot of time. But if you don’t have a pellet gun, you will not be able to cull your chicken in this manner.
Using Carbon dioxide (CO2) Chamber
- The carbon dioxide chamber is a method suitable for bantam, young chickens or chicks. The method requires more work, especially when it comes to preparation.
- Regardless, the use of carbon dioxide is a humane method that you can use at home to cull your chickens.
- The main reason for using carbon dioxide is that this gas is heavier than air and is almost odorless. In low concentrations, CO2 is a perfect analgesic or pain reliever. At medium concentration, this gas is a good anesthetic.
- The main concept in using this method is that at medium concentration, CO2 causes rapid loss of consciousness. This means your chicken will not struggle, be distressed or get excited.
- At high concentrations, carbon dioxide causes instant death. That is why this method is popular when culling chickens at home than other techniques.
- Keep in mind that you are only allowed to use it on small animals (chickens) for one major reason. Small chickens cannot prolong their breath when exposed to CO2 as opposed to larger birds. With that in mind, ensure that you only use a carbon dioxide chamber when culling your chicks, young or bantam chickens.
What Should You Look for When Culling Your Chickens?
There are many things to look for when you want to cull your birds.
- Combs and wattles
- Pubic bones
Of all the above-listed indicators, the vent and pubic bones are the most reliable. For a non-productive chicken (layer), the pubic bone should be tight and quite rigid for you to cull it. Likewise, the vent should be dry, tight or round so you may include your bird to those you want to cull.
What type of chickens should you cull from your flock? For you to get the best results from your flock, you must cull the most unproductive ones from the rest. In this case, you should look out for excess roosters, unproductive layers, and slow molters. These are the three major categories of chickens that are less productive in your flock. Therefore, you need to cull them to increase productivity and lower down the cost of raising your birds.
What happens to your chickens after culling them? You can discard the carcasses of those diseased chickens after culling them to avoid spreading the disease to others. If not sick but culled for other reasons, you can process them for sale or consumption at home with your family.
Which is the right time to cull your chickens? In most cases, fall comes as the best time of the year for chicken owners to cull their birds. This is because no one wants to support less productive chickens during wintertime.
It is quite disheartening to catch and put down one or several chickens from your flock. This process requires courage and knowledge to avoid inflicting too much pain to your birds. But it’s equally important to know how to cull your chickens professionally using the right procedure. Methods such as broomstick, decapitation, snapping the neck, use of pellet gun and CO2 chambers are all safe and effective ways of culling your chickens.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Chicken Board!!