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Coping with death in the coop

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Disclaimer: we view our chickens as a mix between pets and egg providers for the family; we never butcher them and treat each chicken as an individual, with less focus on productivity than pleasure. If you raise chickens with purely practical purposes in mind, especially if you have meat birds, you might not relate to what I'm describing here.

 

When we started raising chickens, I knew there would be losses. Hey, we were realistic. There are stray cats, dogs, foxes, hawks; diseases, unsuccessful hatching, etc. And we braved the first losses fine. But somehow, with every season and every lost chicken, it's more difficult to rally up and keep going. It's like the burden of all the losses is getting heavier and heavier and weighing upon me, and I'm not sure I can go on. 

 

On the one hand, having chickens is really good for my soul. Their clucking, their funny behavior, their diverse personalities and their delicious eggs are lovely. It's a wonderful ongoing learning opportunity for the children, too. But I'm beginning to wonder whether the stress of worrying about them, and actually losing them, is not actually becoming unhealthy for me. Whether I wouldn't be better off investing in something less emotionally taxing... say, a flower garden. If your flowers wither and die, it's a pity. But it's not like losing a pet chicken. 

 

Yesterday, by an unfortunate blunder on my part, a hen with a recently hatched brood had access to another hen's brood, and pecked one of the chicks to death. It was done in a matter of seconds, and was witnessed by my children, who were traumatized and cried for hours. I was out of order for most of the day and called my husband to tell him that I want that chicken out of the flock (perhaps I'm being unjust and unreasonable, but I don't care). 

 

Anyone else dealing with similar emotions? 

A wife and mother enjoying a simple life with her family and chickens and blogging about it here. One husband, three kids, two cats, four pigeons and a small mixed flock of a rooster and a fluctuating number of hens. 
Reply
A wife and mother enjoying a simple life with her family and chickens and blogging about it here. One husband, three kids, two cats, four pigeons and a small mixed flock of a rooster and a fluctuating number of hens. 
Reply
post #2 of 3

Sorry to hear about your loss, and what you are feeling.  How many chickens do you have?  It sounds like they are all free ranging.  Maybe reduce the stock, but think you would regret it if you got rid of all of them.  :hugs

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by limited25 View Post
 

Sorry to hear about your loss, and what you are feeling.  How many chickens do you have?  It sounds like they are all free ranging.  Maybe reduce the stock, but think you would regret it if you got rid of all of them.  :hugs

 

Thanks for replying - we currently have two roosters, five hens and some chicks. More chicks due to hatch next week. Chick season is always an emotional rollercoaster for me because as you know those little ones are so fragile and chances are, out of a number of chicks you'll always lose some. Yes, we do free range; however, many of our losses were not due to free ranging. 

A wife and mother enjoying a simple life with her family and chickens and blogging about it here. One husband, three kids, two cats, four pigeons and a small mixed flock of a rooster and a fluctuating number of hens. 
Reply
A wife and mother enjoying a simple life with her family and chickens and blogging about it here. One husband, three kids, two cats, four pigeons and a small mixed flock of a rooster and a fluctuating number of hens. 
Reply
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