Pellet Gun vs. Chicken: Will It Get The Job Done?

Raising chickens is a Rite of Passage for most off grid homesteaders, but when it comes to harvesting them for meat, things become a little bit harder.  There are several ways to butcher a chicken, but is it possible to “hunt” a chicken in your backyard using a pellet gun?  

A pellet gun will kill a chicken as long as the shot is made directly from behind to the base of the chicken’s skull.  A .22 caliber pellet gun shooting upwards of 1000 fps is ideal, but .177 caliber pellet guns at 1200 fps have been known to get the job done as well. 

You have to find the perfect pellet gun that suits your needs. There are tons of different models out there for different purposes. Also, learning how to shoot them perfectly is one of the keys to a successful slaughter. Keep reading this article till the end for further insights.

Best Pellet Guns For Shooting Chickens

You have to be prudent where you use your hard-earned cash. Not every pellet gun is designed for shooting chickens. Some are suitable for big game hunting which is overkill, some are designed for relatively small creatures like rodents, varmints, etc. Here are the 3 best pellet guns for shooting chickens or small games:

  1. Gamo Swarm Maxim .177/.22Opens in a new tab.

This breakneck pellet rifle packs a punch.  Shooting at 1300 fps for the .177 model and 1000 fps for the .22 caliber, these pellet guns will have no problem taking down a chicken.  

Equipped with a highpowered scope and a magazine that can hold up to 10 pellets, this gun is versatile enough for the beginning shooter and advanced hunter alike.

2. Crosman Benjamin Trail .177Opens in a new tab.

The Crosman Benjamin Trail Pellet Gun is a premier pellet gun good for a variety of small game hunting.  Shooting pellets at 1500 fps, this breakneck air rifle is powerful enough to put down a large rooster with ease.

Made with quality parts, this gun is built to last.  It also is amazingly accurate turning almost anyone into a marksman.

  1. Umarex Diana RWS Model 34POpens in a new tab.

One of easiest pellet guns to shoot.  The break barrel is so easy to set that my 6 year old can load this gun.  This gun shoots .177 caliber pellets at 1000 fps.  It is highly accurate for 30-40 yards.

This pellet gun has been used by small game hunters with great success.  Maybe because of the low recoil, but this gun is easy to shoot.

Best Pellets For Hunting Chickens

There are varieties of pellets available in the market of a different caliber. You already know which one to choose if you are an avid hunter, but for beginners, it is quite difficult. You don’t need the most powerful pellet, you just need the right one.

Pellets come in a few different sizes with 0.177 being the smallest. It is worth mentioning that 0.177 is the most widely used pellet despite being the smallest one. Thanks to modern innovations, these small pellets pack a punch. They are the perfect pellets for starters to hunt birds and other small games.

You don’t have to look elsewhere to know which one is the best for you. I am going to run you through the top 5 pellets you can find in the market for bird hunting:

  1. H&N Baracuda Hunter Extreme

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    H&N Baracuda Hunter Extreme is often described as the perfect hunting pellet. They are accurate and super fast-moving at around 500 feet per second. Each pellet is designed to ensure maximum quality and accuracy. You can hunt rabbits, birds, chickens, or any other games with ease.

    Hollowpoint design delivers devastating force making it deadly in close range. These tiny  0.177 pellets perform no different than 0.22 caliber pellets. If you are looking for top-performing pellets for bird hunting, H&N Baracuda Hunter Extreme is worth a go.
  2. H&N Baracuda Match

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    These particular rounds are well known for their consistency and accuracy. They slightly differ in design from the Baracuda Hunter Extreme. They are dome-shaped and a bit heavier which enhances the ballistics of the pellets. These rounds deliver perfect hunting experience due to excellent aerodynamics and weighing at 10.65 grains.
  1. JSB Diabolo EXACT

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    These heavy-hitting rounds from JSB are meant for power. These rounds are not a hollow point which increases their weight and hitting impact. They are designed to have less drag which so they hit the target with the highest possible energy.

    Usually, heavier rounds are less known for accuracy. But JSB Diabolo EXACT is different.  They are surprisingly accurate at a long distance which makes them perfect for hunting. Many air gunners consider them to be the most accurate pellets to date.
  1. GAMO Red Fire 0.17Opens in a new tab.

    These heavy-hitting rounds are notorious for their killing power. These rounds have a diamond-shaped tip that allows them to penetrate targets very easily. Also, they are deadly accurate at long range. GAMO Red Fire 0.177 pellets make taking down small to medium-sized birds and other games look ridiculously easy, thanks to being heavy and fast.
  1. Crosman Hollow Point Pellets

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    Crosman hollow point pellets aim at being the best quality at a cheaper rate. In small game hunting, the heavy impact is more pivotal than penetration power. These affordable and well-designed pellets will give you exactly that.

    Its accurate and consistent flight path makes it an excellent long-range hunting round. You can hunt birds, rats, rabbits with minimum efforts due to its heavy expansion power.

How To Shoot A Chicken Correctly?

We must make sure that we kill the chicken in the most humane way possible no matter what the purpose is. Using a pellet gun to shoot is okay if done properly. Otherwise, the entire purpose of being humane may be nullified.

The round needs to be fast. Above 800 feet per second is good to go. Place the muzzle on the back of the head. Make sure it’s high enough at eye level. Once you shoot, make sure the positioning is perfect. If not, shoot again. It’s always better to have spare rounds in case of such an incident.

Shooting at eye level severs the spinal cord and pierces the brain. It happens so fast that it’s relatively painless than other methods. Do not try to shoot any lower because it is extremely painful. Make sure your alignment is perfect.

There will be twists and jerks of the body but that’s because of nerves, not because of excruciating pain. This is by far the most accurate method to euthanize chicken with pellets. Just follow the procedure, you will not witness any horror to haunt you.


Pellet guns are being used for hunting pests and small animals for years. Most of the time they are used for protecting your farm from harmful pests if natural pest control fails. Farmers raising livestock often need to euthanize either for consuming or to end their suffering in case of sickness.

Pellets can be used without any worries to take out the chicken, goose, and other similar birds. While there are more humane ways to do it, shooting with pellets is considered to be the most convenient for the executioner and fairly lenient for the animal. 

I believe now you know the answer to your question “Will a pellet gun kill a chicken?” and other necessary pieces of information to carry out the dreadful task in the most merciful way possible. Hope this article was able to help you out. Thanks for stopping by. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.

Sean Jennings

Sean has been living simply Off-Grid in Hawai'i for over 18 years. He lives debt free on Hawai'i Island with his family and over 40 chickens. When he's not tinkering around the homestead, he's off exploring the shorelines for fish & surf.

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