Dealing with Loss of 1st Chicken

Dec 28, 2020
12
94
51
Hi everyone, I am a bit new to this and to be honest, am doing this out of clear desperation to not feel so alone and crazy in my thoughts at the moment. Night we just lost one of our 5 chickens who was severely injured from a bobcat attack sometime early yesterday morning. The site was devastating. Not only where it happened around their coup but her injuries were so severe that my husband wanted to put her down out of compassion but me, being the fighter I am-told him I wanted to do everything we could to clean her wounds (the skin on her neck and her tail feathers from stripped clean off and her right wing was hanging by a thread). I thought maybe she could survive with one wing (i have read countless threads on here about taking care of injured chickens so I wanted to give it our best shot) and that it we could take care of her etc. After the entire day being filled with an amatuer type surgery, I was able to feed her with a syringe and tried to make her as comfortable as possible. After 12 hours of checking in on her...finally before I was heading to bed, I saw her take her last breath and go peacefully.
I did not handle the situation so peacefully and completely broke down. She was a sweet girl, the tiniest one we had and had a wonderful personality. In the midst of my tears I woke my husband up so we could bury her in our backyard because...well...my heart is too big and I just cannot help but feel guilty, horrible and broken. Did I mention that we have another chicken who got injured too? No? Ok, so our girl Lemmy is currently recovering from a torn neck (which we closed and cleaned) and her one wing is sprained. She is inside a carrier and is doing well-missing her sisters. So, all in all-we have reinforced their coup even more and have metal plates surrounding the entire coup as the bobcats chased them around and grabbed them through the metal fencing.

Sorry this is so long...I don't know how to explain these feelings of loss for something I never owned before last April. I never thought chickens would make my life just a bit better and that my family and I would be so attached..but we are. I feel guilty for not keeping them safe. My little girl deserved so much better.

I can only hope that our feathered girls live a life full of love so when their time does come they know they were loved. That is what I am trying to hold onto right now...just that thought...that she knew we loved her and I held her when she left.
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
6 Years
Sep 26, 2015
2,508
3,327
407
Portland OR
I'm so sorry for your loss! Yes, chickens worm their way right into the heart and stay there.

Here's what I suggest you do as a way to work through grief while further improving the remaining hens' situation.

Order some hardware cloth. Amazon is by far the best deal. Search: "hardware cloth 1/2 inch 19 gauge" to see what fits your situation the best. It comes in 24", 36", 48" heights. There is cheaper stuff, which is 23 gauge - so make sure it's 19 gauge.

Then go wire-tie it to the existing fencing so the bobcats can't reach through any more. I would even consider (depending on how big of an enclosure) doing it on the inside AND the outside so there's a double layer with your original fence as the middle of the hardware cloth sandwich.

Hardware cloth has a secondary benefit, other than being tough to punch through - it messes with vision, especially at night.

Then I would look into putting some electric fence barrier around the coop and run- and make sure it zaps a good 8000 volts. You'll get better results with strands of wire or polywire than with the "electric mesh" stuff- too hard to keep tight.
 
Dec 28, 2020
12
94
51
I'm so sorry for your loss! Yes, chickens worm their way right into the heart and stay there.

Here's what I suggest you do as a way to work through grief while further improving the remaining hens' situation.

Order some hardware cloth. Amazon is by far the best deal. Search: "hardware cloth 1/2 inch 19 gauge" to see what fits your situation the best. It comes in 24", 36", 48" heights. There is cheaper stuff, which is 23 gauge - so make sure it's 19 gauge.

Then go wire-tie it to the existing fencing so the bobcats can't reach through any more. I would even consider (depending on how big of an enclosure) doing it on the inside AND the outside so there's a double layer with your original fence as the middle of the hardware cloth sandwich.

Hardware cloth has a secondary benefit, other than being tough to punch through - it messes with vision, especially at night.

Then I would look into putting some electric fence barrier around the coop and run- and make sure it zaps a good 8000 volts. You'll get better results with strands of wire or polywire than with the "electric mesh" stuff- too hard to keep tight.


Thank you for the tips! Our enclosure is pretty big and we have the entire thing wrapped in metal to about 3 feet high and 5 feet high in the spot the chickens like to roost. I will be sharing this information with the husband as we not only have a more open coup but an upper coup that is completely enclosed where they are "supposed" to roost and sleep at night but never took to it.
 
Dec 28, 2020
12
94
51
So sorry for your loss♥️ Some chickens are like pets & family members. It’s never easy to lose one... I think she knew how loved she was.

You made me cry again lol. I appreciate your kindness, it means a lot. Loss is hard to navigate...there are so many books and groups to turn to when it comes to a loss of a human family member or friend but the fur and feathered kids...not so much. Thanks for taking the time to read💜
 

Chookchicken

🎄Fluffiest In The Flock🎄
Premium Feather Member
Dec 4, 2020
2,294
7,650
579
Losing chickens is never easy, especially the first time you lose one. I am sure she knows she was loved. I got mine thinking I was just gonna get lots of eggs and I was gonna save money (the opposite happened), instead I got beautiful creatures that have personality’s and spend there days waiting for you to walk out the door with a bowl full of snacks. I am sorry for you’re loss :hit
 

BigBlueHen53

We will get through this... together!
Premium Feather Member
Mar 5, 2019
19,990
75,192
1,217
SE Missouri, USA
:hugs Believe me, we understand your grief, your pain, even your guilt. Every one of us has been where you are, and we know your tears. Just because it's "just a chicken" does not make the pain any less. The heart does not know the size, or the value, of the loved one lost. It only knows the size of the hole in the heart. Our chickens are small and totally dependent on us. They trust us. We do our best to provide for their needs, and when something happens to them, naturally we feel that we failed them. But please understand that nobody raises chickens without suffering loss. There are many predators out there and it's a constant battle. You do the best you can do, and then.... you do better. It's a learning process. Don't let yourself be discouraged. Fight back. Build better. Ask questions, listen and learn. Honor her by protecting the others. Don't let her loss be in vain. Learn from it and go on. We're all here to help! ❤
 

Callender Girl

Crossing the Road
Sep 18, 2018
3,104
18,077
766
North Central Iowa
First of all, you're not alone, and you're not "crazy in your thoughts." You are like every one of us who has lost a chicken that we loved. And, at least in my case, guilt ALWAYS accompanies the loss, even if it came from a completely unpredictable source.

When a mink killed three of my four original hens, I was ready to rehome my last girl and give up. But, today Honey is the chicken queen and has plenty of new subjects to rule over.

Not only was I heartbroken about the loss of the girls, but I had to literally throw out the bodies because it was the dead of winter, and at the time, I didn't have a freezer large enough to hold them. I always bury my poultry and pets, so there was guilt on top of guilt with those deaths. I applaud you for burying your girl.

I hope Lemmy is on her way to recovery, and that you also begin to heal. You can't protect all of them from everything all of the time. But you can always love them.
 

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