How to Humanely Kill a Bird

Are you wondering how to humanely kill a bird? Perhaps you have stumbled upon an injured bird and want to end the suffering? What do you do if you find an orphaned, sick, or injured bird? As a human, it is our nature to extend our help to any living things in this world. But sometimes, the only resource to end the pain of a seriously-ill bird is euthanasia or humane killing. But take note that euthanasia is not always the best option.

When you find an injured bird outdoors, the best thing you can do is to take it to licensed wildlife rehabilitators. They have the knowledge and proper tools and equipment to handle and treat wild animals safely.

You might also be interested in: Wolf Paw vs Dog Paw – how to Differentiate the Two

Professionals working in wildlife rehabilitation have years of experience and are highly trained in terms of taking care of wildlife animals. They are the ones who know the best way to facilitate and maintain the natural behavior of the animals being treated.

Take note that it is illegal to possess any wild animal, such as birds, without complying with the proper permits and requirements. Again, if you see an injured bird, it is best to contact a licensed and professional wildlife rehabilitation center in your area to ask for immediate assistance.

When Should you Kill a Bird?

If you encounter a badly injured bird and are unable to get a hold of a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, you might need to end the suffering yourself.

Animals with poor health are susceptible to sickness. There are some types of illnesses among birds that are impossible to cure. In line with that, euthanasia is the last sort of option you have. Take note that euthanasia is a great way to end the suffering of a dying animal.

The following are the factors you need to consider whether it is the right time to euthanize a bird:

  • Age of the bird.
  • Is the bird free from distress and pain?
  • Can the bird still live a normal life after being cured of the sickness?
  • How high or low is the chance of recovery?

It is a bird’s nature to hide its weakness. Thus, you may have a hard time determining if the bird feels distressed or pain unless you are a professional. The only time they’re going to show pain and distress is when they are already very ill.

There are lots of options you can do once you have decided to kill a bird humanely. You can ask another person or hire a veterinarian to do the process. The following are some methods of euthanizing a bird. But take note that no matter what technique you choose, a bird’s death must be as pain-free and humane as possible.

Methods to Humanely Kill a Bird

As mentioned, the humane killing of a bird can be made using different methods. You should do this as painless and quick as possible. Thus, resulting in a fast death.

The following are the simple methods to humanely kill a bird.

Neck Breaking (Cervical Dislocation)

Neck breaking is one of the easiest methods of killing a bird, as it does not require any equipment. Beyond that, it can be done in just a few minutes. On the other hand, the major drawback of this method is that it requires enough skill and confidence. This is because some strong nerve tremors may occur after the process.

Breaking a bird’s neck is an ideal process of euthanasia of younger birds. But doing this method on older birds could be harder as it requires greater strength. To perform this process, you need to snap the major arteries and veins behind the bird’s skull that supply blood through the brain.

Neck breaking could cause the bird’s death in less than 20 seconds when the heart and brain did not receive enough supply of blood.


Another method to humanely kill a bird is through decapitation. One benefit of doing the process is that it is fast to administer. Decapitation of a bird requires you to use a hatchet or an axe. Make sure that you have precise hands to create a clean cut.

In line with that, it will cause a lot of blood spray. Hatchet is the most recommended tool for this process, as using an axe could cause a great mess and might be difficult to handle.

For most of you, the most traditional technique of killing a bird is to chop off its head. This is one of the fastest methods as long as you have cut off the bird’s head in just a single blow. Doing this process comes with some drawbacks.

First, you need to hold the bird with your right hand. You can do this by wrapping the bird’s body with a blanket or towel. Hold the hatchet in your other hand. Considering that position, there is a high possibility that you will injure yourself once you start to blow.

Aside from that, decapitation also causes the bird to spit out lots of blood. As the bird still moves because of nerve spasms, the blood tends to go everywhere.

Neck Breaking (Cervical Dislocation) Using a Broomstick

The third method for humanely killing a bird is by breaking the neck using a broomstick. This process is easy to administer. Beyond that, you only need a straight, strong, and long pole or stick to start the process. It is important that you use a stick or pole that will hold throughout the process, the last thing you want is a pole that will bend and break.

One of the drawbacks you may encounter with this process is that it requires some skill and confidence. Expect nerve tremors after completing the process. In addition, you will also need someone to help you position the bird under the stick.

If you have small hands and lesser strength, this might be an ideal method for you to humanely kill a bird. Bigger birds are stronger than small and younger birds. Thus, the size of your hands will hugely affect the way you perform this process. This method is recommended for larger birds.

This method works almost the same as the first method. You need to detach the bird’s head from its neck. This will make the bird unconscious in just a few seconds.

Here’s a video of a man from the UK demonstrating the broomstick method. Although this video shows how to humanely kill chickens, it is the exact same process when applied to wild birds. Be warned, it will show the entire process.

Just like the first method, the bird will flap and spasm violently. But in just a few seconds, it will lose its consciousness. Place the bird inside a sack or bucket and wait until the spasm or flap has stopped.


We always recommend that you contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or an experienced veterinarian when you find an injured or sick bird outdoors.

However, if there are no other options and the bird is badly injured or sick, with a low percentage of survival, you can use these methods to humanely kill a bird. But remember that the methods we mentioned above should be done fast to ensure a painless bird’s death.

Take note that the main aim of humane killing is to kill a bird without causing it any pain.