On-Farm Mass Depopulation Methods
Acceptability by Bird Conditions Comments
Gas Inhalation: Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Acceptable with Conditions:
All Birds

Requires specialized equipment (pressure-reducing regulator, CO2cylinder or tank) and a closed chamber to contain gas.

Gas must be supplied in a precisely regulated and purified form without contaminants or adulterants.

May cause brief periods of distress before birds become insensible.

Birds should be placed in the chamber in a single layer. (MAC Cart)

Use in a well-ventilated area for operator safety.

Operator needs gas safety training.
Non-Penetrating Captive Bolt Acceptable with Conditions:
All Birds

Correct placement of the device on the head is critical.

Humane restraint methods (e.g. two people, appropriate restraint device) may be necessary.
May be more appropriate for large birds.
Manual Cervical Dislocation Acceptable with Conditions:
All Birds

Crushing of the neck bones is unacceptable prior to loss of sensibility.

This method is restricted to smaller birds
(e.g. ≤ 3 kg), although this may vary depending on operator ability.

Other methods should be considered when large numbers are to be euthanized due to operator fatigue.

Performed correctly (training and technique to be validated by a veterinarian), cervical dislocation results in the luxation (dislocation) – never crushing – of the cervical vertebrae.
Alternative methods should be considered (e.g. non-penetrating captive bolt) as in some classes of poultry there is evidence that cervical dislocation may not cause rapid loss of sensibility.
The site of the dislocation should be as close to the head as possible.
Cervical dislocation is difficult to perform correctly in large birds, and therefore may not result in immediate loss of sensibility. It is recommended that larger birds be rendered insensible prior to applying cervical dislocation.

Manual Blunt Force Trauma Acceptable with Conditions: All Birds

Humane restraint methods (e.g. two people, appropriate restraint device) are necessary.

The impact must be of sufficient force and accurately placed in order to result in immediate insensibility and death in a single blow.


Due to the impact on operators and observers, other methods should be considered, especially when large numbers are to be euthanized.

Alternative methods should be considered:
(e.g. non-penetrating captive bolt) due to the potential for incorrect application.