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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Poultry Microbiological Safety and Processing Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #378515

Research Project: Production and Processing Intervention Strategies for Poultry Associated Foodborne Pathogens

Location: Poultry Microbiological Safety and Processing Research Unit

Title: Poultry Euthanasia: Koechner Euthanasia device ANR-2690

item BOYAL, RANJIT - Auburn University
item Buhr, Richard - Jeff
item Harris, Caitlin
item JACOBS, LEONIE - Virginia Tech
item BOURASSA, DIANNA - Auburn University

Submitted to: Extension Publications
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/20/2020
Publication Date: 9/18/2020
Citation: Boyal, R.S., Buhr, R.J., Harris, C.E., Jacobs, L., Bourassa, D.V. 2020. Poultry Euthanasia: Koechner Euthanasia device ANR-2690. Extension Publications. Available:

Interpretive Summary: N/A.

Technical Abstract: In both commercial poultry production and research settings birds are euthanized for a variety of reasons including culling of unhealthy, injured, immobile, or otherwise incapacitated individuals, or to facilitate necropsy to obtain research samples for further diagnosis. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, euthanasia is “a matter of humane disposition” that occurs when the animal’s continued existence is no longer a rational compassionate option. The most commonly used method for euthanizing poultry on-farm is manual cervical dislocation of the head from the spine. Euthanasia of large poultry can be particularly challenging due to the difficulty of manual cervical dislocation of large older birds, thus alternative methods have been developed. This methods manual was prepared for animal care personnel to obtain the knowledge and skill necessary to properly perform euthanasia when needed. This manual describes the assembly and application protocol for the American Veterinary Medical Association approved alternative euthanasia method for poultry: Koechner Euthanizing Device (KED). The manual begins with a description of the available Koechner Euthanasia Devises, KED-S “scissors” for birds up to 4 pounds, KED-C for “chickens” or birds up to 30 pounds, KED-T for “turkeys” or birds up to 65 pounds, and KED-TXL for “turkeys-Extra Large” over 65 pounds. The safety precautions and the protocol for application are all described in detail. The manual closes with a description of the signs to observe to confirm that death of the bird has occurred.