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!