Benefits: it can be done quickly and no equipment is necessary
Drawbacks: it requires some confidence and skill; there are nerve tremors afterwards which can be quite strong; it is easier on younger birds, older birds can be tougher; you may not have enough grip strength in your hands and/or your hands may be too small; you may not have the arm strength required (especially if it is a larger rooster, or a larger bird like a goose or turkey). Method: Death is caused by snapping the spinal cord behind the skull along with the major veins and arteries supplying blood to the brain. Unconsciousness follows immediately and death takes about 15-20 seconds, once the brain and heart are deprived of blood.
Note: these instructions are for a right-handed person, reverse if you are left-handed.
1. Hold the bird by its legs in your left hand so it is hanging upside down, with its beak facing to the left. Create a V with the forefinger and middle finger of your right hand.
2. Slide your fingers down the neck so they are sitting either side of the neck, at the base of the skull. Don’t put your fingers right around the neck or have them further up the neck as this makes it much harder to complete a clean break and you’ll throttle the bird instead.
3. Tilt the head at a 90 degree angle towards the right (the beak should be
pointing down or slightly backwards) – this makes the dislocation as easy as possible.
4. Holding the body against you and pull down in a firm motion on the neck. You will feel the neck bones separate from the head, but stay within the skin – if you are very vigorous with this movement you can completely remove the head. Check that there is a gap between the head and the neck - you should just feel skin between your fingers, before you let it go, rather than the bones. The bird will go into tremor and spasms will make it leap around if you put it down. However, the bird will be unconscious and the actions will pump the last of the blood into the neck space. Dropping it in a sack or an empty bucket at this point will help restrict it.
the bird will be unconscious at this point: contain it in a sack or bucket to stop it moving around