Best, Cleanest, Fastest Dispatch?

Help Support RabbitTalk:

Susie570

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 4, 2015
Messages
2,497
Reaction score
0
Location
Beckley, WV
The reality of raising rabbits is that I will, eventually, have to dispatch a rabbit on my own. Rabbits get badly hurt, rabbits get sick, rabbits get old, sometimes they are born with serious genetic deformities. I know these things and, faced with that knowledge, I want to be prepared to quickly end the suffering of a rabbit without it being unnecessarily traumatic for me, or my kid if he had to be there (which is likely, since he's nearly always with me).

So, bearing in mind that this will be something I will rarely do, it's not like I'll get 'practice' in, what's the best, most idiot-proof, humane method you have found?

I don't mind buying something to keep on hand for this. Just need to know what to get.
 

MaggieJ

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
RabbitTalk Supporter
Joined
Dec 16, 2009
Messages
16,958
Reaction score
32
Location
South Eastern Ontario
I really admire you, Susie, for looking ahead and being prepared. I don't think there is one best way to dispatch a rabbit. All you can do, really, is to find what method is likely to be least upsetting for you and fast and sure for the rabbit.

For myself, I found a pellet gun to be easiest. I have "bopped" suffering kits by putting them on a hard surface and hitting the heads with a hammer, but I'm not strong enough to be certain of being able to strike a killing blow on a full grown rabbit.

With the pellet gun, I shoot at the back of the neck just below the skull with the mouth of the barrel almost touching the rabbit. Fire forward towards the rabbit's nose. This will sever the spinal column and is the equivalent of breaking the rabbit's neck. There will be some blood but not generally all that much. There will be some reflex kicking, especially of the hind legs, which may make you wonder if the rabbit is really dead. Generally speaking, the rabbit's eyes will be open. If you are uncertain that the rabbit is dead, touch the eyeball. If there is no response, you know you have been successful.

I'm sorry if this is too explicit, but it is better to know what to expect. Keep in mind that the rabbit does not know it is going to die and that if it suffers at all it is only for an instant.

Other people will no doubt post their best methods of dispatch. Read them all and walk yourself through the process mentally to decide which method would likely be best for you.
 

Dood

Well-known member
RabbitTalk Supporter
Joined
Nov 16, 2012
Messages
6,438
Reaction score
1
Location
Ontario
I was taught the cervical dislocation method for my mice when I was a "tween" and have used it ever since. It is the method I'm most comfortable with and I had a "rabbit wringer" built when I started my meat rabbit adventure 4 years ago

I have used the "Swedish method" (stun on front of skull and bleed out and the one used in most abattoirs) on some of our livestock that needed to be emergency euthanized but I'm not a fan of cutting the jugular and the blood splattering - especially if there are death throes

Pellet guns with enough velocity to humanely dispatch a 5 pound rabbit require a firearms permit to own in Ontario Canada so that isn't an option for me - even if I did have such a liscense they are also pretty expensive on this side of the border and I doubt I'd invest in one just to dispatch rabbits
 

FourRingCircus

Well-known member
RabbitTalk Supporter
Joined
May 11, 2015
Messages
1,882
Reaction score
0
Location
NC
For newborn kits, a pair of scissors works well. I had to do that for my first batch because one was wasting away, not sure what happened exactly. It was quick, and there is no doubt that it did what it needed to do. I remember reading it in regards to chicks a while back so I figured it would work for rabbits as well.
 

Susie570

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 4, 2015
Messages
2,497
Reaction score
0
Location
Beckley, WV
Does anyone know (or have experience with) a device that fires a spike into the brain? I know there are such things for dispatching cattle (and pigs?) but I'm sure those are much larger and thought there might be one for rabbits. Sort of like a handgun, but it just ejects an icepick type spike... I don't know if that would be easy to place correctly, or ultimately less traumatic, but it might be.

I have considered the cervical dislocation bar, it seems very very quick and easy, but I worry it wouldn't work for smaller kits and I'm not sure I would have the necessary willpower to do a cervical dislocation with just my hands (I've seen it done, I'm afraid I would wimp out at the last second and end up with a horrible situation for a few seconds). I am thinking it would be helpful, whichever method I used, to first do a 'rabbit burrito' thing with a towel, to hold the rabbit stable.

It would be great, if the rabbit were potentially edible for the family, if I could then process the rabbit, or put it in cold storage and have someone do that for me, but alternately I'm thinking I could stuff the rabbit into a gallon ziplock bag and put it in the freezer for the raptor center.

I really hate thinking about all of this stuff, but better to plan it out now than later when I'm faced with a situation where it has to be done RIGHT THEN. :p
 

katiebear

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2013
Messages
940
Reaction score
0
Location
central arizona
I think you are thinking about a captive bolt gun.I have the Ballista captive bolt gun and could not be more pleased.If you position the rabbit correctly you get instant death with very little death throws. If you go to the bunny rancher web site there is a video on its use. The site store owner is a member here as well..
There is also a bolt gun made by the Rabbit Wringer folks...it costs a lot more and is bigger..so for a woman (smaller hands,and not so much upper body strength)I believe the Ballista is the way to go....
Best of luck, it is really great to see you maturing in your attitude toward this end of the husbandry scale.. :D
 

MamaSheepdog

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 3, 2011
Messages
18,730
Reaction score
0
Location
CA
For very young kits my preferred method is to put them in a bag and whack it HARD against a solid surface. If you are squeamish, a paper lunch sack is great because you can't see the kit at all prior to doing the deed. The aftermath is not gruesome though and there is usually just a bit of bleeding from the nose.

I have used a pellet gun on larger rabbits and found that if you place the barrel directly at the base of the skull on the spinal column and aim toward the mouth most rabbits will just keel over with very little death-throe kicking. I am looking into getting some lead free pellets (since the heads go to my dogs) especially for teaching purposes so I will have an alternative to the "Swedish method" that I usually use, thereby giving people more options.

I have seen discussion on the captive bolt products and some people have had trouble getting a clean kill. As with any method there seems to be a learning curve.

Killing things cleanly is a learned skill, so you are bound to have some mishaps no matter which method you ultimately choose. I always feel guilty if something goes wrong, but know that the bottom line is that my intention was to cause as little suffering as possible and to err is human.
 

MaggieJ

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
RabbitTalk Supporter
Joined
Dec 16, 2009
Messages
16,958
Reaction score
32
Location
South Eastern Ontario
Dood":o9lxlxgn said:
I was taught the cervical dislocation method for my mice when I was a "tween" and have used it ever since. It is the method I'm most comfortable with and I had a "rabbit wringer" built when I started my meat rabbit adventure 4 years ago

I have used the "Swedish method" (stun on front of skull and bleed out and the one used in most abattoirs) on some of our livestock that needed to be emergency euthanized but I'm not a fan of cutting the jugular and the blood splattering - especially if there are death throes

Pellet guns with enough velocity to humanely dispatch a 5 pound rabbit require a firearms permit to own in Ontario Canada so that isn't an option for me - even if I did have such a liscense they are also pretty expensive on this side of the border and I doubt I'd invest in one just to dispatch rabbits

We used a Crossman pellet gun with a velocity of 795 fps for mature rabbits. It did not require a license and properly placed (as MSD and I described it) it does the job. In the United States, Susie, you can probably get one with a higher velocity, which would be better. I am not urging use of a pellet gun -- captive bolt, rabbit wringer and the Swedish method are all considered humane methods too. Pellet guns do tend to be a bit expensive to buy for only occasional use, but sometimes you can find one second-hand at a yard sale.
 

Susie570

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 4, 2015
Messages
2,497
Reaction score
0
Location
Beckley, WV
Thank you all... lots of options to consider.
The captive bolt thing sounds like it might be good to have on hand.
If I used a pellet gun I would want to make sure to not use lead pellets because that would not be good for the raptors if I sent the carcass there.
 

katiebear

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2013
Messages
940
Reaction score
0
Location
central arizona
Suzie,I don't usually recommend you tube..lots of ya-hoos there...but you may want to watch a few videos before making your decision. ..and I am sure that you have considered that a pellet gun looks very much like a real gun..that opens up another issue with a child...some folks don't want their kids around guns..my daughter is your age and she is in that camp..just a thought. ...I would like to have one myself..so I am definitely not against them..
 

TF3

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 14, 2015
Messages
890
Reaction score
0
Location
South River, Ontario
I know I am a newbie, but this became reality for me this week.
I did You-tube, and given that I was by myself with my daughter home, I needed bloodless, quick and quiet.
I decided on the broomstick.

Thank you for asking about smaller ones and kits.
I can't imagine broomsticking the Hollands.

HERITAGE~ for scissors and kits, do you cut off the head (sorry to be graphic, I just want to be sure!)
 

Zass

Well-known member
RabbitTalk Supporter
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
6,395
Reaction score
8
Location
northwest PA
She did kick heavily

Think carefully about the kicking.
Can a rabbit with a dislocated neck voluntarily move it's feet at all?

I don't think so.

I firmly believe the kicking to be caused by automatic nerve responses. It can be upsetting to look at, but I do not believe that the rabbit can feel anything that happens to their lower body during that time. Especially since automatic reflexes are absent, like blinking if an eye is poked.
To me that spells absence of consciousness.

When an animal we are putting down begins that violent seeming "kicking" here, it is generally seen as a positive sign, as it means that the animal has been effectively killed, and not just stunned.
 

Susie570

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 4, 2015
Messages
2,497
Reaction score
0
Location
Beckley, WV
TF3":11dmri2y said:
Lifting her and bagging her to the trash was the saddest part, I need to have a better 'end of life' plan if I am not up to cleaning them myself yet.


HERITAGE~ for scissors and kits, do you cut off the head (sorry to be graphic, I just want to be sure!)

Thank you for sharing the details of your experience. I do think that having to stand on the neck of the rabbit would be pretty upsetting for all involved.

As for an 'end of life' plan, I do recommend you see if there is a raptor (or wildlife) rehab center near you. They are grateful for a complete frozen bunny to feed to the predators. You can contact them and make arrangements well in advance (as I have), so when/if you need to take that step again, if you don't eat the rabbit yourself, you know it's going to a good cause.
 

FourRingCircus

Well-known member
RabbitTalk Supporter
Joined
May 11, 2015
Messages
1,882
Reaction score
0
Location
NC
TF3":3v820c8t said:
HERITAGE~ for scissors and kits, do you cut off the head (sorry to be graphic, I just want to be sure!)

Yes, that's what I did. They are so small, and bones so soft, it doesn't take any effort. It was kind of sad to see the automatic responses in such a small one, but it was better than it starving to death (which is what it was doing... It looked like a live baby rabbit mummy).
 

DBA

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Messages
628
Reaction score
0
Location
Indiana
I had never tried the broomstick method unrolled a few months ago, I will stick with that method now.
Quick and easy. Of the few I have had to put down that way, only one had any twitching at all afterwords, and only two or three kicks. It is a bit akward at first, but once you get the idea and can move fast, it is quick and effective, and no blood.
 

MaggieJ

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
RabbitTalk Supporter
Joined
Dec 16, 2009
Messages
16,958
Reaction score
32
Location
South Eastern Ontario
The broomstick method is another tried and true humane method of dispatch. I forget to mention it because I am unable to do it due to mobility and balance problems, but for anyone normally able-bodied, it is well worth considering. One of the nice things about it --- apart from its effectiveness --- is that it does not require expensive equipment. A broomstick or a piece of rebar is all it takes.
 

the reluctant farmer

Well-known member
RabbitTalk Supporter
Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Messages
602
Reaction score
0
Location
Georgia
I have tried three methods: broomsticking (cervical dislocation), bopping, and pellet gun. All can work; I have my own personal peculiarities which make some work better for me than others. I've detailed what I discovered when the methods were new to me to help avoid repeats of the lesons I learned.

Broomsticking works best for me with a sturdy but thin hardwood dowel, rebar, etc. Too large is hard to fit on the rabbit & crushes their neck instead of being a hard edge to sever the spinal column. I place the rabbit down, pet, stroke, talk to it, place the dowel on the back of its neck, LIGHTLY hold the bar in place with my toes (just enough to keep the rabbit from slipping out but not enough to choke it & cause bulging), then I scoop down, grab its feet and simultaneously step down while I pull up and back. Quick, when it is coordinated. (Practice with a stuffed animal or large sock tied full of rice if you struggle with coordination &want to work on the rhythm of it . Odd, I know, but you will feel a bit better prepared when the time comes.) One of the Rabbit Wringer-like devices would take away the need for all the coordination I require to broomstick. (I have not the grace of a panther, rather a tightly controlled physicality, unfortunately.) The wringers are attached to a wall so no need for reaching down to grab feet while balancing on your heels, etc. Costs a bit but worth saving for. When I do this correctly it is very quick and the rabbit goes limp. I discovered I do have strong hands so am able to do smaller growouts by hand if necessary, though the tactile experience is difficult for me (although not for the bun.)

Bopping (using a heavy stick, short bat, or other device) causes instant death when done correctly. I am not very coordinated in fine motor skills and had a bad bopping experience so I am nervous about it. It is an emergency and/or backup method for me. If you have good hand/eye, it's a good choice. You can even mark the spot where you want to hit with marker. The head is a mess after but it is a definite quick and humane end when done right. The bun will not know what's happening. If you do this, COMMIT. Set your mind to "through the target spot, not on the target spot" so it is quick and final. (That might be why I had crushed skulls, but the alternate was very traumatic for all parties involved.) No hesitating or second-guessing or underestimating force because that's where you can have problems, and no bunny deserves that. No cost for this.

Pellet gun: when I first tried this, my placement was not right, possibly underpowered gun, possibly not pumped enough, and possibly my meat mutts heads are shaped a little differently because the placement Maggie effectively uses didn't work for me. I now have the pellets with a point instead of rounded bb,, pump the gun until I can't anymore (might be bad for the gun?, but gives me the force) and I draw an imaginary "x" from the ears to the eyes & aim for the center of the "x". Actually marked in chalk on the buns head first few times when I tried this method again after a flare-up of carpal tunnel that prevented cervical dislocation. It has resulted in instant "lights out" in the eyes but a lot of nerve-release kicking from the feet. I now put the buns in a cardboard box before shooting to contain blood leakage as well as keep death throes in one area. Initial high cost for the gun & pellets, annd I haven't purchases a lead-free alterative yet so nosending the heads to the animal sanctuary. Practice on an orange or melon if you don't handle guns so you learn how much pressure to keep on it. I 've been using this method as of late.

I always have back up methods with me: a rolling pin or small bat as well as a sharp knife if all else rapidly fails. I almost always cut their throat/remove head as soon as possible after doing my preferred method , even if I'm not intending to fully process. I'm paranoid I'll paralyze, incapacitate or knock out a rabbit without realizing it so that extra step helps me sleep better at night. (Especially important to do if you're processing.)

Thank you for thinking of a plan ahead of time, and thanks to TF3 for doing the right thing when a bun was suffering, even with the challenge of having to manage it with a traumatized child in the house. I think many would have tried to avoid it and that would have been horrible for the bun, ultimately. Ah, I see I talked so long that I may be reating what others said, but will leave this as is.
 

TF3

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 14, 2015
Messages
890
Reaction score
0
Location
South River, Ontario
Thanks heritage.

Susie~ I will check with our nearest places. Esp. for the smaller bunnies who would be no good for meat.

Zass~ that is good to point out! I knew she was gone and it was just the death throes, but that could definitely surprise one! :(
 

EnglishSpot

Well-known member
RabbitTalk Supporter
Joined
Oct 30, 2014
Messages
1,137
Reaction score
0
Location
Cleveland, Ohio
The death throes after I broomsticked the first time alarmed me and I thought I'd botched it. Be sure to LISTEN for the sound of the neck dislocating!!! Then you'll have confidence the deed was done well.
 

Susie570

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 4, 2015
Messages
2,497
Reaction score
0
Location
Beckley, WV
I just read some truly horrible suggestions for dispatch on a taxidermy site. Those people have no souls. :shock:
 

Latest posts

Top