Loss in a flock, and how to prepare.

By Lamaremybabies · Sep 16, 2017 · ·
  1. Lamaremybabies

    I've been wanting to write an article for a while now and couldn't find a topic that grabbed me. Finally it came to me…loss in a flock is a very real thing that happens, and usually isn't mentioned until after it happens.

    Knowing how to deal with a loss in the flock, I personally believe, can be just as hard as the loss itself. Especially the first time it happens.
    Whether you're dealing with old age, illness, predators, or unknown reasons for your loss, it can be very upsetting.

    I have had a flock of ducks, and chickens (I've also branched out to geese recently) for three years now. And in those three years, I've dealt with several losses from predators and a couple for unknown reasons.
    My two most recent losses being my oldest duck, (and favorite duck....oops Naughty mommy has favorites)
    He was take by a fox while I was home. In fact I would have saw it if I had looked out the window seconds earlier than I did.
    The other was one of my Easter Egger hens. Unfortunately she managed to get out of my run and my dogs got her while I was gone.

    So what can you do to prepare?

    Talk to your family about the reality of loss. This concept should be handled gently with children.

    Know that If you plan on free ranging your flock(s) they are at higher risk than in a run.

    Get an idea of what you'll do when a loss has occurred.

    Know that just because a bird seems really healthy and/or tough doesn't make it immune to predators or disease.

    Know you can't always see a loss coming, and most of the time you won't.

    Don't blame yourself or anyone else when a loss does occur. You can't always stop predators from attacking, or treat an illness. Especially when some Illnesses can become fatal quickly, and others don't become apparent until it's too late. Not everyone can be saved.

    How do you handle a loss in the flock?

    Please feel free to share your own advice and experiences on the topic as well!

    Share This Article

    DiamondSwan and N F C like this.


To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!
  1. Hen Pen Jem
    This was an excellent article! You are soooo right, one should prepare for loss if deciding to raise animals. Especially prey animals like poultry. After raising chickens for four years with no losses, I became very confident that I was doing everything right. Then, this year in January everything changed. My #1 rooster, "Bumni" died of "sudden death", after recovering from a respiratory illness. Then 5 months later, my RIR hen "Nutmeg" died at the vet's office when he tried to draw blood. Again, "sudden death", from the shock of being handled by a stranger I guess. And just 5 weeks ago, a bobcat jumped into my backyard and quickly leaped back over with my precious ameruacana hen, Inky. I was dumb founded, complete shock that this animal dared to come into my territory, and during the day, with me home!
    Well, they say everything happens for a reason. And so now - I am fully initiated into the world of poultry raising. I realize nothing is 100 percent safe for these birds. Acceptance of loss is something that comes with caring for poultry. It is really hard the first time it happens, if you are raising them as pets. Not so much if they are simply livestock, then it is mostly about investment.
    Again, excellent article!
    Thank you.
      Lamaremybabies likes this.
    1. Lamaremybabies
      I was the exact same way when I first started out. I was doing everything "right" and nothing was gonna stop me or my birds... That feeling lasted a little over a year, but sadly a fox came along and I realized neither I or my birds were 100% unstoppable. It's a hard lesson to learn, but one you can't ignore.
      So sorry for your losses.
  2. N F C
    An important topic to address, it's bound to happen sooner or later (unfortunately). I'm not sure how to prepare for losses, other than knowing they will happen.
      Lamaremybabies likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: