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I’m a murderer

April 12, 2011

Today I killed one of God’s cutest and fuzziest creations.

In fact, I decapitated it.

With my bare hands.

There must be a special place in hell for the people who have the ability to rip the heads off sweet and innocent baby chicks. Especially when it’s around Easter.

These hands, these hands! Out damned spot, OUT!


So one of the 28 chicks we got from the hatchery was struggling. Upon its arrival, we noticed it was walking funny, but that was the extent of it’s issues. This morning however, it was on its side, breathing through its mouth, couldn’t control it’s legs, had its head bent back, and refused water and food. Little Guy was not looking good. Of course, my two VET SCHOOL room mates weren’t home and had their phones off, and my animal doctoring is limited to horses and the occasional cat and dog. However, I know enough to gauge when an animal does not look like a happy camper. This little chick did not look like a happy camper.

I put her in a shoe box in the brooder in hopes that she would just peacefully go before I had to go to class. I didn’t want to leave her in the brooder with other chicks (who have serious pole vaulting abilities- these things kept getting into the shoebox and tried to cannibalize the weakling). I also didn’t want to leave her outside for the elements, or more gruesomely, the ants.

Poor little girl kept holding on- I’m 99% sure she wasn’t long for the world, and would have died on her on. But I had to get to class, and didn’t want to leave her to the mercy of her bloodthirsty fellow chicks or the nasty ants that would undoubtedly get her while she lingered.

So I opted to dispatch her myself and put her out of her misery.

Garden shears or kitchen scissors were my first choice, but I couldn’t find anything sharp enough.

Breaking her neck was the next choice, since I didn’t have access to dry ice or a helium tank (btw, I found out that people get really creative when it comes to killing baby chicks humanely….helium tank, seriously?)

I didn’t think she had enough body weight to use the centrifugal force method of swinging her body around and wringing her neck, so I figured I would just hold her upside down, and break her neck with one quick jerk down.


The first attempt didn’t work…it was horrible. I could feel her little neck muscles and tendons and bones and whatever musculoskeletal structure is is that attaches a chick’s head to their body….and it just stretched. Oh my god, it stretched impossibly far. I figured she had to be dead. Further inspection proved that she was not. At this point I admit to freaking out a little- now I’d just unnecessarily caused her horrible pain. High on the adrenaline of my botched murder attempt, and determined not to prolong her suffering, I jerked on her head one more time. Hard. Really hard. Really, really hard apparently.

Hard enough that it just sort of……….came off.

Freaky for me, but at least no more pain for her.

Today I join the proud fraternity of farmers, ranchers, hunters, and homesteaders that have had to dispatch a live animal. I’m actually a little glad to have my first chicken killing out of the way. Now I know I’m capable of doing what needs to be done, and doing it (overly) efficiently.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Kim permalink
    April 12, 2011 9:31 pm

    Not sure if I could have done that, but I sure admire your courage and compassion. I’m happy the little fella no longer suffers…

  2. April 13, 2011 12:14 pm

    OH gosd I never could have done that! Ew….glad you helped her out though

  3. shadowlake permalink
    April 14, 2011 6:00 am

    Bless your heart, I know that was hard. I have an ancient but indelible memory of being a 6 year old girl at my cousin’s farm, confronted w/a premature chick we’d somehow accidently exposed from it’s shell. It wasn’t fully developed to survive, and my cousin delegated the necessary job to me. Convinced the preemie shouldn’t struggle any longer, knowing I couldn’t bring myself to wring it’s neck, even if I’d known how, I finally used a rock, and a hard place. Though feeling I did the right thing, I’ll always be haunted by it. I feel your pain.

  4. Dave permalink
    April 19, 2011 10:02 pm

    Sad to be in that position. You did the right thing.

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