The Secret Chicken

stories of a secret chicken

Not-Henery, she is no more.


Today, I am going to try to euthanize a chicken.

I’m not looking forward to it, but I can’t see a way around it.  She’s got a badly prolapsed vent, and she is an older lady.  The probability of a recurrence, even if I could “fix” it today, is very high.

I had options.  There is old-school, break the neck, chop her head off.  No way I could do that, any more than I could do that to one of my cats.
I could take her to a vet, but between the cost and the trauma of dragging her out of the vet and hoping they understand that she’s not a piece of livestock to me…

So I did some searching.  Two options became more viable, for me.

There are people who use baking soda and vinegar, into an enclosed environment.
There are people who attach a vacuum hose to the exhaust of their car and pipe it into an enclosed environment.

The baking soda method seems to be more common for smaller animals, but the car exhaust…well, people have been using it for as long as there have been cars, just about.  So there is proof that it works on larger animals.

I’ve started with a box.  Organic Diced Carrots.  And I’ve pulled the hose and a section of pipe off the vacuum.  About to carve a hole in the box and use Gorilla duct tape to attach the pipe.  Then I’ll attach the hose end to the exhaust pipe on the car.


I wasn’t able to do it last night. She had gone too far into the coop for me to reach without resorting to means that would totally freak out both her and the other sleeping chickens.

But today, right after dawn, I went back out. She was still in the back of the coop, but I was able to pull her towards me using a garden hoe. Ignominious, but necessary. I double checked her backside, just to make sure it hadn’t magically healed…no luck.

As I type this, she is in the box. The car is running. She flapped a little bit, but now it is quiet.

Eat your cat.


After a conversation with an old co-worker at the place I buy my chicken feed, I kind of got angry.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people suggest that I kill and eat my older chickens.  You know, just throw ‘em in the stew pot.

But you know what? I’m not a farmer.  I didn’t get chickens because I needed their eggs or meat to survive, either financially or for food.  I got them because I thought it would be fun, and interesting, and I liked the idea of chickens.

Sound familiar?  Kind of like why people get a cat or dog, maybe?   But you don’t hear people saying, “Hey, why don’t you take that old, useless chihuahua and toss it in the oven?”, do you.  Well, not very often.

But it’s sad to me, how easily people suggest just killing animals that I raise – not in a barn, but in my back yard.  They aren’t livestock.

Even though they know me, know how I feel about my animals, it is still ok with them to make comments like that.  Often even accompanied by a neck-wringing pantomime or chopping-block noises.

Let me explain, one more time, how I think: You don’t name a chicken after George Hamilton if you have the intention of turning it into soup.

george hamilton

George Hamilton. You can tell from the slick-back hair and deep tan.

You can do this:


Or this: