Do chickens mourn ? Advice please.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jenni2142, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. jenni2142

    jenni2142 Songster

    Jul 16, 2008
    South Carolina
    I had 6 bantams-3 black Australorps, 2 Aracanas, and 1 Americana, all about 4/5 months old, (prob EEs). I lost 1 Aracana, the Americana and the 2 broilers my hubby found abandoned on the biddy bus in march, to a dog attack on Sunday. I only found huge clumps of feathers in several places and the 2 broilers dead. They had always split into 2 groups, blacks together and the 3 others. now my one remaining Aracana (Sami) seems sad and I can feel her breast bone protruding but don't know if that's normal for them or if she is loosing weight. She seems to eat ok and droppings look normal. She scratches and and interacts with others and seems to be more included even dominant in their group. When the others are taking a dust bath she will lay beside them and close her eyes. She has never done this before. Also right after it happened, when I was in denial about the amount of feathers left behind and still hoping to find my babies, as I would call out for them the ones left would make what sounded like crying sounds. They had never done that before and still do sometimes when they hear me calling for the others. I am still holding out that slim hope that one or both of them will come home. Is there anything I can do for Sami? I welcome any advice or suggestions as I am new to chickens, thanks to Hubby bringing home the broilers. They were much loved, pampered and spoiled pets like the bantams. I am now hooked and heartbroken. thanks.
  2. DDRanch

    DDRanch Songster

    Feb 15, 2008
    Oh, I am so sorry for your losses. What a terrible thing to happen. I think that chickens do mourn and they definitely know when someone is missing from the flock.

    I lost one of my older hens a few weeks ago, and her best friend Mary Catherine did not eat or interact with the others for about 10 days. She has since become somewhat of a loner. After the death of Mary Louise, the whole flock was "off" and had, I beleive varying reactions to her disappearance, with Mary Catherine's reactions the strongest. I think they do form bonds and I do think they mourn. They were both buff orphingtons and I got them at the same time.

    Last year I lost an older Austrolorpe hen, and her friend, another austrolorpe grieved for days. Same kind of behavior I notice now with the buffs. Again, I got these at the same time, so they were already bonded.

    I spent and continue to spend some one on one time with the buff, Mary Catherine, give her extra treats and hold her often. I don't know if that is helping her but at least I know she is eating and does seem to be participating a bit more. I did the same thing last year with the Australorpe who was left, and she bounced back after a couple of weeks.

    I hope this helps you. Again, I am so sorry.
  3. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    They absolutely do!
    I've lost 4 birds over the past five years and I have seen it...
    Jerry whimpered under the dining room table when Tom was killed.
    Obelisk went running around the house and crying when Slifer died. I had to show her the body of her buddy before she finally realized her friend wasn't coming back...
    She seemed better when we lost Penny in May. She wasn't really friendly to the little pipsqueak, so that might've been part of it, but I know that she missed her anyways, not as much as Slifer though.
  4. Oblio13

    Oblio13 Songster

    Jan 26, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Chickens obviously feel things like hunger and pain, but when it comes to emotions, I think we read way too much into their little bird brains.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: