How To Humanely Euthanize A Bird?

Birth and death are the most important events in every living organism’s life. It is always believed that no one has the right to end someone’s life.

Intro Video - Backtobirds
Intro Video - Backtobirds

My beliefs about death changed one day when I woke up and found a badly hurt and diseased bird on my balcony, after inspecting the bird, the vet told me to euthanize the bird.

It was tough for me and I realized over time that those with pet birds can go through a similar situation. It is important to know about euthanasia and how it is perfectly okay!

What is Euthanasia?

Euthanasia or mercy killing is the practice of ending someone’s life painlessly to end the suffering. Euthanasia is usually performed when someone is in a lot of pain and is suffering miserably and there is no way out of the pain.

Euthanasia in humans is a complicated and debatable issue. Euthanasia is also practiced in animals and birds to end their sufferings and provide them a painless death.

How to humanely euthanize a pet bird?

The importance of euthanasia is to give a painless death. There is no point in euthanizing a bird if the bird feels or experiences pain while performing the practice.

The bird should be humanely euthanized and this can be done following the right methods to perform Euthanasia.

Euthanasia by dislocating the Cervical

This is one of the easiest and humane methods if practiced in the right manner. Apart from being humane it is a very simple method and does require any tools, it can be used to immediately euthanize a bird.

This method makes the bird unconscious in less than 45 to 50 seconds and can be repeated very easily on other birds if required, the method is foolproof.

In Cervical dislocation, the neck is stretched and the joint at the skull’s base is dislocated causing immediate unconsciousness to the bird.

In this way, the spinal cord of the bird is broken, and eventually, the bird suffers brain damage and unconsciousness through a concussion.

The jugular veins and carotid arteries near the neck are broken and the brain is deprived of oxygen, leading the bird to immediate and unconscious death.

Steps to perform Cervical dislocation

  • The first step to perform cervical dislocation is to grab the bird by holding the legs tightly to your body.
  • You need to grasp the bird by its head, you should make the grip between the two fingers of your hand, or you can also use your thumb and the first finger around the neck of the bird. The grip should be tight and firm. 
  • Now the next step should be performed with precision, the goal is to dislocate the head from the neck. You should tilt the bird’s head back so it comes in line with the joint and makes the breaking process simple. You should make the head backward in such a way that it points towards the tail.
  • The next step is to move the head back to a point that the joint brokes off. After this, check that the head and the neck are separated by pinching just behind the head. You will feel a gap between the head and the neck in case of a broken head.
  • The mind slowly lost control of the muscles and the bird starts convulsing ad so into spasms. These movements are normal and do not indicate that the bird is suffering in any way.

One of the important things to note down is cervical dislocation is effective only when performed in the right way, it is futile if the dislocations happen down the neck or if the neck is not stretched lengthwise as the bird will not become unconscious and it will cause a lot of pain to the bird while dying. You should be very careful while performing it.

Several other methods like spinning the bird also known as the helicopter method and methods such as the broomstick method are not appropriate and should not be practiced while performing cervical dislocation. Experts do not recommend these methods as they can cause unnecessary pain to the dying bird.


Another method to humanely euthanize a bird is decapitation. It is an effective method to end the suffering of a sick animal.

In this method, the head of the bird is completely removed and it gives a quick unconscious death to the bird in about 20 to 25 seconds.

The main reason for the unconsciousness in the bird is the flowing out of Cerebral Spinal Fluid from the spinal cord when the head is removed.

Cerebral Spinal Fluid is responsible for keeping the brain and spinal cord floating inside the spine and skull.

As the Cerebral Spinal Fluid escapes the brain comes in contact with the skull causing severe episodes of consciousness and unconsciousness finally leading to unconsciousness. 

The reason for death in this method is the loss of blood from the bird’s brain.

You must remember that euthanasia involves painless death, while performing decapitation you should keep in mind that cutting the vessels and allowing the bird to bleed is inhumane and can cause a lot of pain.

Related Read: Do Birds Get Periods? | If So, Do Female Birds Bleed During Periods?

I have shared down some points that should be kept in kind while performing euthanization by decapitation –

  • You must ensure that the blades used to perform decapitation must be sharp enough to remove the head of the bird in a single cut.
  • You can also use scissors as they ensure your safety as well.

Should I kill a dying bird that has been suffering miserably for few days?

It is hard to feel and experience pain, we humans can easily express ourselves when we are in pain or any other harsh situation but birds are helpless. They can not convey to us their feelings.

Well, we all know that if anyone experiences pain, fighting it and coming out of it is the right way but in many cases, there is no way out of it.

In severe cases when the bird is suffering miserably and its death is sure in some time, it is better to give it a painless death and to end its suffering.

It is important to consider what the bird may be going through as many birds like chicken tries to hide the pain. If your birds isolate themselves and stop eating and drinking, they are in a lot of unbearable pain.

I personally feel in these cases the decision to euthanize the bird should be taken as early as possible, as taking more time will give more pain and suffering to the bird.

Your birds are your responsibility and if they are in serious pain, euthanasia is the right way to go forward. 

Do birds suffer when euthanized?

Birds suffer more when they are not euthanized and are left to experience unbearable pain and suffer as their owners are not ready to perform euthanization. 

Birds do not feel any pain when they are euthanized as the death in this practice is followed by unconsciousness, the bird is not in a state to feel any kind of pain while dying. This method is practiced in the welfare of the bird to end its sufferings.


It is hard for birds to express what they feel, well no one wants to die an early death but when the pain becomes unbearable and there is no way out of it, euthanasia is a valid option.

Most bird owners hesitate to euthanize their birds, but it is important to understand in critical situations you are not doing any harm but mercy on your birds by giving them a painless death.

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