Do chickens miss those who have died?


In the Brooder
8 Years
Jul 17, 2011
One of my hens from a flock of five, died today, and I was wondering what behaviors do the survivors exhibit? Do they miss the missing member of the group? We buried the deceased hen and one of the girls stuck her head down in the hole to see what was with the dead hen, but the rest of the flock was just interested in what food we may have unearthed during the burial process. Inquiring mind wants to know.
My turkey sat on his hatch mate and cried ( they weren't babies anymore), and I have seen and heard of others look for the missing bird. But some act like nothings wrong. Sorry about your loss
The unexpected loss of a flock mate does cause chaos among the ranks. There is much discussion on who ranks where in the flock, and squabbles will happen until things are settled. Unfortunately, in the chicken world, the dead are edible.
My hens went from 10 eggs a day to 4 when my roo died.

I have a friend who last week, recited this poem to me after hearing about the demise of my roo.

There was an old lady from Wooster;
Who had three hens and a rooster,
The rooster he died,
And the old lady cried,
Cuz the hens just don't lay like they uster.
The bottom hen in my flock (a partridge rock) died of a longstanding laying problem (or maybe an abdominal tumor) last spring. Her BFF (a Welsumer) hasn't laid an egg since and she laid 5 a week before Misty died. She immediately began a light molt and hasn't ever started laying again. I really miss her dark speckled eggs.
I got three 'new' chickens in October. I mixed-and-matched (which isn't advised or wise). One was older and picked on the two younger ones.

The youngest about 4-weeks and the middle one who befriended the littlest one was in between.

I lost the middle one to Marek's. The youngest would search for her missing friend, and thought that the distant barred rock (dark like the one that was dead) might be her long lost friend. Tried to find a way to get over to where the barred rocks were..

I'm sure that they are aware of their flock mates. I'm sure that they notice that the missing one is gone.
None of my chcikens hace died, but when our roo was rehomed the hens became helpless basically.
I certainly think so.

If an important, old, or good number of hen(s) disappear, the remaining flock's production will drop.

If a rooster goes that a hen really liked, she gets a little down. I once had a pair free ranging, and the rooster went sick, nearly on his death-bed. Before separating him, the hen would literally try and lift his body up, and when she couldn't, she'd stand there by his side until I moved him to quarantine. It was sad but sweet.

My last encounter with loss affecting other birds was the loss of my Shamo hen, which had my normally very dominant, bird-aggressive, and proud Shamo rooster suddenly go submissive, shy, and crow-less for weeks. (by submissive I mean any encounter across the fence with another rooster resulted in a turn-and-flee reaction)

Chickens are some vicious, very hierarchical animals but also some very communal, emotional ones too.
My PR, the top hen who was completely spoiled suddenly died on day. It was near dusk when the hens were eating a the feeder and getting ready to enter the hen house. The PR's sister kept trying to 'wake' her sister by talking to her and standing right next to her. It quite a bit of effort to get her in the hen house so that I could bury the hen. That was last Halloween. That sister hen hasn't laid an egg since. The EE that didn't get along with the dead hen, molted after the death and resumed her laying.

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