Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Can you kill?

An odd question no doubt but one which was very pertinent yesterday when friend S collected me to go out for our lunch.   Just above our farm gate on the lane she had seen a hen pheasant sitting in the road,barely moving and yet obviously still very much alive.  We came to the conclusion that she had been hit by a vehicle and injured but not killed.

As we passed we pulled up and looked at her.   She returned our gaze but didn't move.   She really needed putting out of her misery. But - and here's the rub - neither of us could bring ourselves to do it.   Nor, more to the point, did we know how to do it.   We couldn't even bring ourselves to run over her.  I took the easy option and rang the farmer and asked him to deal with it.

 The farmer said that when he had finished eating his lunch he would walk up the lane and put her out of her misery.   By the time he got there somebody had run over her and she was well and truly dead.

The point is - could you have killed her?  If so, how would you have done it?  Surely by now I should have learned how to kill a suffering animal out in the fields, but I can't bring myself to do it, or even to learn how to do it.

20 comments:

Acornmoon said...

I would have been useless in that situation. Thank heavens for the farmers of this world.

The Broad said...

Wow! That is indeed a thorny question. I can't even set a mouse trap, let alone empty it. Thank goodness my husband is not so squeamish! At least you knew someone you could call, even if events took over in the end. Poor little thing.

simplesuffolksmallholder said...

Yes, If the road was quiet enough I would have stopped and picked it up and broken it's neck and laid it out of the way to become dinner for another wild creature.
We once saw someone trying to rescue a rabbit with myxomatosis on a busy road. The rabbit was half dead anyway but the person could well have caused an accident.
There is all sorts of life and death in the country.

Chip Butter said...

Even after having been in the poultry business for thirty years, I still do not like to kill a chicken, or any other animal for that matter. I fear we would all starve to death if we had to hunt and kill like our ancestors of old. My mother could snatch up a barnyard chicken, wring off the head and have her in the skillet in under thirty minutes.

John Gray said...

I would not have liked it. But yes imcould have done it
And have done for many of my hens

angryparsnip said...

I think if we were a hunting society
then yes. But today on my own very hard.
I accidentally hit a quail a few years ago. They love to run out on front of your car. I had son and daughter who were at the house go back and see if it was alive and push it to the side of the road. But by the time they got there it was gone.

cheers, parsnip

jinxxxygirl said...

I like to think i could have put it out of its misery Weaver... But truly i'm not sure if i could... I think its one of those 'in the moment' things where you truly don't know your mettle until your tested..I wouldn't know how to wring its neck... is it difficult to do? I'm afraid i would have called hubby too..maybe have him show me how and even then a few tears would have been shed... Hugs! deb

Rachel said...

Wring its neck, get the farmer to give you a lesson. But I doubt I would have stopped to do it, a pheasant in a road is soon going to get hit again pretty quick or crouch in a ditch for the fox's tea. That's life in the country.

Tom Stephenson said...

I have done with birds flapping about in distress, but if they sit there staring, I often think it is better to let them find their own way out.

I try not to 'put things out of their misery' just because it's upsetting me to watch it. That is just selfish. The way things feel pain varies greatly, and I don't think anyone should deny a creature a dignified departure just because you empathise too much.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Rachel and tom in particular make very valid comments. I feel slightly vindicated by the fact that most of your are like me though!

MorningAJ said...

I really don't know if I could. I might have moved it to the side of the road but I'm not sure I could have dispatched it.

Leilani Lee said...

Yes. I could have, mainly because I have killed many chickens and ducks over the years for food. I don't like killing but I cold do it. I would have gone back to the house and gotten a butcher knife.

Joanne Noragon said...

No, I could not have done it. I have a friend who routinely stops to assess any situation such as you describe. And take action if necessary. Of course, he brings home all the abandoned kittens and dogs, too.

Heather said...

A tricky question indeed. I once had to dispatch a mouse that had been badly mauled by a cat. I was still at school at the time and my friend thought I was terribly cruel. It was obviously still alive but had no chance of recovering. I don't know how I would cope with anything larger than a mouse.

Terry and Linda said...

If I had too. Yes. I always hope I don't have too.

Linda ★★
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
https://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com/sherlock-boomer

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

Like Heather I once dispatched a mouse. I wrapped it in a tissue and trod on it firmly. I HATED doing it. In your situation I think I would have laid it in the hedgerow, as injured birds rarely survive and seem to just drift away (I hope - but what do I know?!)
failing all else I ask David to dispatch things.

Cro Magnon said...

Way back when we kept chickens for eating as much as for the eggs, I used to give them bread soaked in wine (or even something stronger), and would only do the deed when they were pie-eyed. This was usually done with a high powered air gun (to the back of the head).

Mac n' Janet said...

I can't do it, my husband always has to be the one.

hart said...

We've used a plastic bag over the car exhaust for a bird we, foolishly,took away from the cat.
Still traumatic for us but I think painless for bird.

Jay said...

I have done it, for a hen pheasant which I accidentally hit with my car. She was a goner for sure, so I made my first attempt at wringing a bird's neck from what I had learned (I was an animal nurse at the time and had despatched animals in the traditional 'lethal injection' way). I did a quick enough job, that's for sure, but it was traumatic and saddening for me.

Tom Stephenson does raise a very good point. We should always remember that birds can be stunned but make an excellent recovery if left somewhere quiet.