4 Chickens Died - Having Trouble Forgiving Myself

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Julie English

Hatching
Aug 9, 2021
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My chickens have a coop with access to a large protected run. I go in through a large door and then open up the hatch between the coop and the run. I then lock the large door. Most chickens come out the the large door when I open it in the morning. Two will usually hang back until I open the hatch and they go out that way.

Only on Friday morning, everyone went out the large door. I forgot to open the hatch. Which means they couldn't reenter the coop to lay eggs or get away from the heat later in the day. They do have shade in the run but they prefer to return to the coop when it's particularly hot.

Forgetting to open the hatch would not usually be an issue because I go out a few times in the day - I work from home. Only on Friday, I was gone all day and didn't return until 5:15pm. By that time, 3 chickens had died because of the heat and they were squashed together by the hatch to the coop. Another one was dying and soon died despite my efforts to cool her down and rehydrate her.

It was an accident. It was a mistake that wouldn't normally have had an impact. I've never left the hatch closed before and I've had chickens for 4 years. I'm just really having a problem getting over the distress I caused my chickens and causing 4 of them to die. I know they had a good life with me for two years. I've learned from this mistake and it will never happen again. I may investigate getting a hatch door with a timer/dawn/dusk timer on it.

I've had chickens die before but it wasn't as a direct result of my actions. If it's of any consequence, I'm a vegetarian.

Did anyone here have a similar experience? If so, how did you get over it? Although actually typing it out has helped a little.
 
I am so deeply sorry for your loss. While you may blame it on your actions, we are all human and we make mistakes. You are allowed to make mistakes. It is how we learn. Unfortunately, in the practice of animal husbandry, when we make mistakes animals die. The longer we have animals, the more chances of mistakes, and the more death we will see.

Mistakes are how we learn. They are how we educate ourselves and others.

You can't see it right now, but your mistake now will save many animals in the future. Not only yours, but those with which you have shared your story.

It won't make your hens return to you, but I hope it comes as some small consolation.

You are not alone. You are not terrible. You are simply human - and there's not a darn thing you can do about that.
 
Very sorry for your loss. We have all made a mistake here and there over the years that may or may not have affected our chickens. I know that I have. It is only human to feel guilty, but don’t beat yourself up. Mistakes sometimes make us never forget the same things again.
 
Sorry for your loss.

Just yesterday I let 2 new runner ducks out into the open yard. First they followed my muscovies to the flower garden and then to corn field. My yard is surrounded by corn and bean fields. I noticed they went to the corn fiels, but didn't follow the muscovy back across the yard. I went to herd them back over, but being runners, new to my home, and always wanting to go the opposite direction of me - they headed straight into the corn field. It is at least 9' tall. I tried to get them out, but they just kept going further in, so I stopped hoping they would come back out.
I continued with my chores and about 40 min later one popped out. The other did not. ☹
I got her back in the run along with the rest of my flock. I looked for the missing duck going down rows and squatting to see if I could at least see her little orange feet. I didn't see her. My husband got out his drone and flew over to see if there were any areas where she could be. He spotted a few bare spots with just weeds.
It was getting later, so I ventured deep into the corn to the first batch of weeds. I didn't see much, but then I squatted and down one of the rows was a big tuft of feathers. 😢
We have had a fox around and I don't know it that's what got her. But, months ago I lost one to a fox in the backyard when I didn't get out soon enough to lock them up.
I've seen the fox on the camera at night, but never during the day.
I couldn't sleep I felt so guilty. I just picked her up last Monday. Today would have been the first week.
Plus, her sister is a runner, all of my other ducks are muscovy. She looks very lost without her pal.

I have to remind myself not to beat myself up over a mistake as well. :hugs
 
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So sorry for your loss, I made a similar mistake and lost my only 2 silkies. It took me quite awhile to forgive myself. But we are all human and make mistakes. And we learn from those mistakes, so they don't happen again. Sending you a virtual hug.:hugs
 
We've all lost chickens, it is indeed sad but none of us are perfect and chickens are fragile... and honestly everything likes to eat them. So it is what it is.

That said, where do you live that it got hot enough to kill your chickens? Most chickens have no issues until the temperature reaches 104 degrees unless they are in direct sunlight, but even then they have ways to cool themselves.

I bring this up because I wonder if something else didn't get your chickens, and if it was something else you should make sure you are aware of it to prevent further loss. It may be the heat- but it would have had to been really extreme.
 
I'm so so sorry for your loss. I agree with everyone else; it happens, and you can't beat yourself up over a mistake. Just treat it as a learning experience. Your chickens had a great life that many won't get to experience, and your remaining chickens and any others you get in the future will have a better life because of it.
 
We've all lost chickens, it is indeed sad but none of us are perfect and chickens are fragile... and honestly everything likes to eat them. So it is what it is.

That said, where do you live that it got hot enough to kill your chickens? Most chickens have no issues until the temperature reaches 104 degrees unless they are in direct sunlight, but even then they have ways to cool themselves.

I bring this up because I wonder if something else didn't get your chickens, and if it was something else you should make sure you are aware of it to prevent further loss. It may be the heat- but it would have had to been really extreme.
I live in Tucson. It was 105 degrees on Friday :-( I think one of the problems was they all squashed up together to get as close to the coop as possible.
 
I live in Tucson. It was 105 degrees on Friday :-( I think one of the problems was they all squashed up together to get as close to the coop as possible.

Ah, well yeah... that would do it. Well at least you know that was the cause.

Again, like we've all said- don't beat yourself up, we've all lost birds. I forgot to close the coop up one night... 7 birds later I won't make that mistake again.
 

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