I know this has been discussed before, but I just hatched a chick with a serious deformity and need to do it. I know xenon gas is really the best--and you can get cartridges of it on-line (for keeping wine in an open bottle from oxidizing). And that cervical dislocation is also humane. But I don't have xenon at the moment and I would want someone to supervise my first attempt at spinal dislocation.
I had forgotten about using vinegar and baking powder to generate carbon dioxide. It is well regarded and sounds easy. Here is the basic information for euthanizing small (under 2lbs) animals. I'll let you know how it goes.
:( I'm sorry you have to do that. I had to rescue a poor cat off the road in front of our house then watch it die after a car hit it late last night. The car was speeding, a dog was chasing the cat.. and the car won. Beautiful black cat. It made me very sad. Even worse to go tell the owners this morning.
I'm interested to see how that goes. Just in case I ever have need of it.
Thank you, greykyttyn. I am so sorry for the loss of the cat. It is hard, no matter whose animal it is.
I just euthanized the chick following the site directions and it did seem very non-stressful for it, if not for me.
It was a little Blue Cochin chick that hatched without its hips properly formed. I tried to hold them into position with fleece bandages, but nothing worked. It just swam around on its stomach and couldn't feed or drink. I did keep it alive for two days, holding it so it could drink...but it was not able to even lift its head off the ground on its own.
I am glad I did it and that I found a humane way to do it...last time I took a similar chick to the vet and she did it for free. But I do feel better knowing I can take care of them without the stress of taking them to the vet.
If you have access to dry ice, you can humanely euthanize a small animal by putting the dry ice in the bottom of a cooler or insulated box, then placing the animal in a small comfortable box next to the ice, or blocking the ice off so the animal won't touch it. Give the animal a towel or something to snuggle into. Close the cooler and wait a bit, and the animal will quietly and painlessly die. The darkness calms the animal, and the dry ice puts out carbon dioxide gas. It's always difficult to have to euthanize an animal, but better than allowing them to suffer needlessly.
Having to euthanize on your own is always a painful thing to do psychically. I personally have used cervical dislocation, and it is very humane and easy, but first get someone to show you how. basically, you must pull the head up a bit from the cervical vertebrae, and then a quick twist, and its over. I have to do it with mammals as well, and it works the same way...as a wildlife rehabber for 18 years, it was a necessity to learn...but it is never easy to euthanize an animal no matter what the method. When you find it gets easy in your heart and mind, please - take a step back and a good hard look in the mirror. Nobody wants to have to kill another sentient being. Blessings.
The state poultry vet showed me how to do a cervical dislocation on a grown chicken, stressing that it was technique rather than strength. That is one of the reasons I don't want to start on a chick...I would feel terrible if I pulled its head off.
The USDA did a study on killing chickens and other small animals humanely and one of the interesting conclusions is that decapitation is not as humane as it seems. Apparently in a traumatic decapitation the blood vessels automatically clamp down and the animal potentially remains conscious for some period of time. At least until all the oxygen in the in the brain is consumed.
There were anecdotal stories of human guillotine victims briefly showing awareness after the execution. Recent studies are supporting the possibility for the same reasons as in chickens.
The government paper concluded that xenon gas was the most humane method for killing young poultry and I think some commercial poultry growers are now using it. But the site I listed above says that studies on otherwise unstressed rats euthanized with CO2 found that they had normal levels of stress hormones in their blood following death. Suggesting that it was not stressful for them. The article does emphasize starting with low levels of CO2 until the animal is unconscious and then administering the full dose. Apparently, sudden high levels of CO2 can cause respiratory distress.