Domestic Fowls (England): Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock (PB0076)

8. Disposal of Unwanted Chicks & hatchery Waste


  1. Unwanted chicks awaiting slaughter should be treated as humanely as those intended for retention or sale.
  2. Chicks should always be killed by a skilled operator. The method which should be used is to place them in an atmosphere with the highest obtainable concentration of carbon dioxide and a source of 100% carbon dioxide should therefore by used as the disposing agent. This is the most humane method and detailed advice on its use is given in ADAS advisory publication P568. However, where very small numbers of chicks are involved they may be killed humanely by dislocation of the neck or by decapitation. Whatever method is used the chicks should be thoroughly inspected afterwards to ensure that they are all dead.
  3. Methods of killing which involve suffocation by tightly packing the unwanted chicks in a confined space or by drowning, or in which irritant liquids such as carbon tetrachloride are allowed to come into contact with the chicks, are inhumane and must not be used.
  4. All hatchery waste should be treated (for example, by rapid maceration) so as to kill instantaneously any living embryos.
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