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?