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Dispatching a Captured Possum Humanely

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  • #81
    To those who say they wouldn't kill any animal or that killing an animal greatly bothers them, I have a question.

    Yesterday on a walk, my dog caught and broke the back of a chipmunk, paralyzing it from mid-back down. My mom admits that when this happens, she leaves them because she can't bring herself to kill it, even though she knows it would be kinder to kill it. I always think it's better to quickly crush their skull with my boot so they don't suffer, which I did. Do I think it's terribly pleasant to do? No, but realistically it doesn't bother me.

    Would you have left the chipmunk (or squirrel, mouse, whatever) to die a slow death rather then give it a quick end? Or, like my mom, would you leave it to die, but know it would be better to kill it if you could bring yourself to do it?
    .

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    • #82
      My most memorable skunk encounter was in the daylight, right at AM feeding time. I heard an indescribable noise while I was feeding the pastured horses one morning. I went to investigate, and found skunks, ummm, gettin' busy; a process which, in skunks, involves daylight, alotta noise and a lotta stink.

      So, I agree with the previous posters that an animal abroad in daylight is not, de facto, a rabid or sick animal. I also agree with the laws against relocating nuisance wildlife. If it's enough of a nuisance that you set a trap for it, you need do the right thing by the animal and the community and humanely dispose of it.

      Finally, I was not aware until recently that possums were opportunistic predators and the most likely culprit in our most recent very sad poultry losses. ~ 20 years ago, before they were identified as the vector animals for EPM, I raised a litter of orphan possums. After treating a couple of EPM horses, I reluctantly trapped and killed any that got close to the barn. Recently, after possums expolited the tiny weakness in the pen fence and killed poultry; I no longer have any qualms about shooting them in the trap.
      The plural of anecdote is not data.

      Comment


      • #83
        Originally posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
        To those who say they wouldn't kill any animal or that killing an animal greatly bothers them, I have a question.

        Yesterday on a walk, my dog caught and broke the back of a chipmunk, paralyzing it from mid-back down. My mom admits that when this happens, she leaves them because she can't bring herself to kill it, even though she knows it would be kinder to kill it. I always think it's better to quickly crush their skull with my boot so they don't suffer, which I did. Do I think it's terribly pleasant to do? No, but realistically it doesn't bother me.

        Would you have left the chipmunk (or squirrel, mouse, whatever) to die a slow death rather then give it a quick end? Or, like my mom, would you leave it to die, but know it would be better to kill it if you could bring yourself to do it?
        Actually, I have experience with this very thing It was a long time ago but I still remember vividly, it was so traumatizing- once when I was riding with my dog along, she got a big woodchuck and I called her off but I think its back was broken. At the time, I was doing a college internship and staying with a family who I knew had guns so when I got back to their house, I told them where the woodchuck was and the dad went and shot it. He seemed like he really enjoyed the mission too. I would not be able to do it myself. So, I do have some appreciation for the hard-hearted, gun slingin' folks, I'm just not one of them. Now, if my dogs get an animal, unless it just happens that second I see it, I don't call them off and let them finish the deed.

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        • Original Poster

          #84
          Maybe growing up on a farm and helping my parents slaughter chickens made the difference to me. I would have never enjoyed killing a helpless paralyzed animal...and still would find it hard... but I would have done it. To leave it to die slowly is unthinkable..especially if my dog made it that way. I have had to euthanize chicks before that were dying slowing and suffering. I would find it very hard to euthanize a horse but if it was suffering and past help, I could do it.

          Anyway, kids seem to accept "killing" of animals a lot easier than adults. If raised around the natural cycle of killing animals for our sustenance, along with respect for the sacrifice of the animal, I think that goes a long way to preventing a squeamish adult who can't conceive of a mercy killing when needed....or even to slaughter an animal for food.

          However I suspect a lot of you who say you can't kill would change if you got hungry enough..but you'd lack the skills to do it at first. I'm shocked at how many people will pay an extra $1 a lb for a cut up chicken just to avoid having to do it themselves...I'm talking taking a cleaned roaster and sectioning it for frying. It's very simple but many people today have no idea how...and I'll admit that I did not either until I started doing this local food business.

          My friend has a riding program up near Smithfield and he's also built a 1700's farmstead. He got hogs and is now having his "kids" help him process hogs. He just put this on facebook the other day how the kids are so much more accepting of the process of slaughtering the hog and cleaning and cutting it up than an adult or their parents. I want to go up and help one day to learn this also and offered to teach the kids a class on processing poultry. Looks like it will happen at some point so I'll hopefully pass this skill on to the next generation...and they may well need it more than ours.

          Someone asked earlier how I kill chickens. I almost hate to say as someone will probably call me a brute again but I use a pretty standard halal/kosher method. They go into a kill cone upside down in which their heads and necks hang out. This calms them very quickly. I take a VERY sharp knife and make a quick cut to the carotid artery..I do it in one movement...no sawing or hacking at them. 95% of the birds don't even act like they feel it. In a few minutes they are bled out and dead. It's not that messy and a lot easier than chopping off heads and you get a good clean well bled out carcass.

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          • #85
            "Kids seem to accept killing of animals a lot better than adults" - I'd never thought of it that way, and think it is true.

            By the time my girls got to University, they were surrounded by the "ewwww"
            crowd and many of their roommates were vegetarian - on principal, not because of religion. To which I say, bravo. It is double sided to be able to eat meat but not process it. Me, included. I do like it cut and wrapped first.

            My mother bought me the book "The Animal world of Dr Schweitzer" when I was fourteen and it shaped me during those formative years. Dr Schweitzer was a missionary in W. Africa - say in the twenties. He said he was not vegetarian but only ate meat in small quantities and with deep respect for the animal. He was a true animal lover and lover of nature.

            As a Young Farmer, we were taught to despatch chickens and clean them, but the method was to hold the bird under one arm and with the other, put the neck between the first finger and the middle finger, holding the head in the palm. Then stretch the neck and with a very quick flip of the wrist, break its neck. It was impossible for me to do. But I never forgot it.

            My husband gets the job of putting animals out of their misery if it becomes necessary.
            Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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            • #86
              I can't imagine killing animals as a child..I bawled my eyes out at charlottes web. Lol. I do eat some meat but I won't cook it myself or touch raw meat. I am in my 40s and have never cooked a thanksgiving turkey..I will eat it once its cooked and on the plate but I don't even want to look at the body..there is no way I would handle it enough to cook it! But I imagine it would be different if I was starving and there was no other food source.

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              • #87
                ANY wildlife species can be out and about during the day for any number of reasons, including nocturnal ones. A sleeping skunk may have been disturbed, may have woken up hungry or thirsty, may have been sprayed with a hose (yep, it happened) in its bed, may be moving in mating season or dispersing to a new territory, or may simply want a new bed. There is ZERO causative relationship between rabies and a skunk (or raccoon or whatever) moving in the daytime.

                However, if that animal IS disoriented, staggering, visibly acting like a sick individual (looking at you does not count), then yes, you should humanely take care of it yourself if you are qualified to do so or call your state wildlife officers.
                Yes! Thank you! Being nocturnal is not a law and nocturnal animals aren't vampires. A skunk or coon out in daylight is not breaking any laws and will not burst into flames. (or sparkle or whatever it is vampires do these days) I can't count the number of calls I've gotten for "rabid" _____...it just being any nocturnal or diurnal animal being seen in daylight. They're shocked when I tell them daylight does not = rabid. And that many supposedly nocturnal animals are actually diurnal. And the reason they see them out in daylight is often because they're feeding them and don't even know it. (pet food out, garbage, planting tasty stuff, feeding birds, etc) I tell them doing these things and then seeing animals is like going fishing, baiting a hook, tossing it in the water and then being astounded that a fish showed up. Another reason to add for seeing nocturnal animals during the day is: time of year. In spring they're often harried, hungry parents doing the grocery shopping for an entire family. In fall they're bulking up for winter. In winter they often have to forage or hunt around the clock due to less food options.
                You jump in the saddle,
                Hold onto the bridle!
                Jump in the line!
                ...Belefonte

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                • #88
                  I WISH skunks, and possums would burst into flames upon me gazing at it!

                  If only we could have lazers like they do on movies and the sci-fi channel shows. ha ha.

                  That is so funny my husband and I call it grocery shopping too. I love to see the hawks out grocery shopping, or the buzzards. And seeing mr and mrs fox with their kit, that is even better to see them out grocery shopping.

                  Yes, these critters are out day / night.

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                  • Original Poster

                    #89
                    It's funny but I had some friends over today to watch my process to prepare to do their own chickens for their farm business and to help doing chickens hands on today. The wife is the one who will be doing most of the work I gathered but everyone came. They already farm but haul their hogs and beef to the USDA custom plant to be done....same as I do...in order to legally sell it. Anyway, the whole family came...Mom, Dad and the three boys. They are friends I know from the farmer's markets.

                    Anyway, her husband, a veteran and a farmer, was more unable to help than anyone else. He said it really bothered him...the idea of killing the chickens. The boys were kind of sort of interested to participate but holding back...I think more because of the father's attitude than anything. At the end we had them scalding and plucking but they were over the initial dislike of the messy process of turning a live animal into something packaged to eat.

                    At the end we took one chicken they helped with from start to finish, got it cleaned and I showed their Mom how I section it up and fillet the breasts. Then I vacuum sealed it and sent it home with them for a meal. Her youngest son took a hold of it with a huge grin on his face...real honest delight...and it was "his" bird at that point. What fun...I'd love to do more of that. We need more future farmers and people willing to participate in getting food onto the table.

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                    • #90
                      Well of course the wife will be doing most of the work
                      It is funny that husband wasn't too in to the process, but at least the kids got a start. Good for you for giving them a hands on lesson.
                      How many broilers can you do in a day? You must be experienced, there is a knack to it.
                      When I was trying the idea of broilers for myself, I could manage two, lordy.
                      The idea fizzled soon after and I stuck to layers.
                      I'm with you, locally grown and raised is the way to go.
                      Let's be mindful of the security of our flocks so we don't encourage varmints who are trying to make a living as well. It's a pain in the butt. But a properly placed hot wire from a charger that runs on a couple of flashlight batteries works well as a deterent. One hit is all it took for "my" foxes, the possum took a bit longer to get the message and move on.

                      Comment


                      • #91
                        Originally posted by Daydream Believer View Post
                        It's funny but I had some friends over today to watch my process to prepare to do their own chickens for their farm business and to help doing chickens hands on today. The wife is the one who will be doing most of the work I gathered but everyone came. They already farm but haul their hogs and beef to the USDA custom plant to be done....same as I do...in order to legally sell it. Anyway, the whole family came...Mom, Dad and the three boys. They are friends I know from the farmer's markets.

                        Anyway, her husband, a veteran and a farmer, was more unable to help than anyone else. He said it really bothered him...the idea of killing the chickens. The boys were kind of sort of interested to participate but holding back...I think more because of the father's attitude than anything. At the end we had them scalding and plucking but they were over the initial dislike of the messy process of turning a live animal into something packaged to eat.

                        At the end we took one chicken they helped with from start to finish, got it cleaned and I showed their Mom how I section it up and fillet the breasts. Then I vacuum sealed it and sent it home with them for a meal. Her youngest son took a hold of it with a huge grin on his face...real honest delight...and it was "his" bird at that point. What fun...I'd love to do more of that. We need more future farmers and people willing to participate in getting food onto the table.
                        I wish you were closer.
                        I got about 15 boys (the girls aren't quiet ready yet for that Life Lesson) to put to work On heck of a trip that would be! (but they would know how to cook and eat it! ))
                        Originally posted by BigMama1
                        Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                        GNU Terry Prachett

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                        • #92
                          Rainbows End,
                          i think what you are doing it right on the mark. I have raised my own meat and do supply our family with milk (goat) and eggs. I admit, I sent our birds, hogs, and beef out for processing, but since my thought is that I want to give these animals the best life I can until the moment they die, I'd much rather do it myself. You have given me something to think about, next time I raise birds, I have a friend who has offered to show me how to process them, so I'm going to do it myself. As far as killing the possum, my gosh, those who criticized you most likely buy their chicken and eggs in a store, or have never seen the massacre that can happen in a chicken coop. It is awful. I have been plagued by raccoons occasionally, and you can be sure, if they kill a chicken, I will trap them and they will no longer be on this earth.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #93
                            leaf. I can do about 8-10 birds an hour. That is from in a cage to a cleaned carcass on ice. I have a drum plucker which makes a HUGE difference as I can pluck 4 at a time. My scalder is an electric one but it's better than the old fashioned method. I use kill cones and process in batches of four. If I have one helper who is trained, I can do 12 birds an hour. I generally keep them on ice overnight to age. Folks don't always realize that poultry has to age too to be at it's most tender. Overnight works very well for chicken.

                            I did 44 today and that is about 7 hours of work from start...catching the birds and setting up to cleaning up. I also put up the organ meats and necks...seal them up and freeze. Tomorrow I will put up the roasters, cut up those not nice enough for roasters due to blemishes, filet and split breasts, etc...and vacuum seal, weigh and label...then I freeze them once entered into a speadsheet for inventory. That will take another 7-8 hours of work.

                            I've seen some operations that get a mob of folks together and can do 200 in a morning, have lunch and then package them up...but the professionalism of their product versus mine with nice vacuum bags is a bit different. I figured since I work alone, I might as well take my time and do it right.

                            I do wish sometimes that I had a local option to have the birds processed so I wouldn't have to spend so much time doing this...but there is nothing anywhere close to me. There is a mobile guy who drives around but he's ridiculously expensive....would pay him all my profit. I have to take my hogs and beef to the USDA plant to sell them as I do...so that choice is not mine. We have a plant about 2 hours away that does a really good job and is certified humane also.

                            Alagirl..you could try looking for a local farm in your area that might allow a field trip like that. Most small local food oriented farms like mine are very open to people coming by and many will allow onlookers during processing. I know Polyface Farm does. I have heard of some places that will give lessons. I typically only work with people I know. Check on localharvest.org and see what you can find.

                            Thanks for all the support and those who have made positive and helpful comments. :-)

                            Comment


                            • #94
                              I will check into that, but for now I should be getting my stuff ready for summer camp...sigh....
                              Originally posted by BigMama1
                              Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                              GNU Terry Prachett

                              Comment


                              • #95
                                My husband this morning said I see something under the rose bush and came in to get the binoculars. Ok, the distance was not far, but he was suspicious!

                                It looked like a brown clump of grass, very hairy. Very hairy. He got closer and it was a dead possum. Odd. It was very stiff. I have never seen so much hair on a possum we thought it was a ground hog, or cat. It was right there at the driveway, on the outside of our mesh fencing under our Climbing White Dawn rose. Weird weird weird. It appeared to have been "handled" not sure by whom or what or where it died.

                                He did the under taking this time and tossed it over the fence and off our property into the woods.

                                One less EPM maker. I wonder if it was road kill and the fox was bringing it home?? And couldn't get it through the mesh ?

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