how to do this?

Duck mommy 2019

Songster
Apr 1, 2019
1,928
1,806
188
i want to get chickens but i would feel to bad to kill them and would get to attached, how do you guys deal with losing your birds? i get so attached to all my pets :(
 

Lady of McCamley

Crowing
9 Years
Mar 19, 2011
7,345
5,240
492
NW Oregon
You are in the meat birds forum, so we expect to eat them.

You have to make a decision if you are going to eat meat, or not. If yes, then how humane do you wish your protein source to be raised. Most of us here would prefer to know that our food has been raised humanely with lots of space, care, and sunshine vs. disinterested helpers and small cages. We eat meat. We take responsibility for that meat.

Then there are a lot of us who raise chickens for eggs. Meat is not a consideration, only sometimes a by-product of unwanted roosters. For spare roosters, see above.

Then there are those birds that get sick. For those birds, culling (spelled killing) is a humane solution to a suffering animal. You learn to put your "big girl" pants on and do what is best for the animal. Animals don't contemplate their value of life. They only know "I feel healthy, safe and fed" or "I am sick, in danger, or hungry." As soon as an animal is severely sick, their quality of life suffers as they only understand the pain, not a sense of supportive community or mental life. Their flock mates will actually be hazing them, turning on the sick bird creating fear and stress. By the time an animal shows pain, it is usually towards end of life as natural instinct causes the animal to hide its pain to protect if from predators and angry flock mates. So again, that kind of culling is a kindness.

Then there are your aging hens. I simply don't have space to keep all my aging hens, as that soon causes health problems, nor finances to feed those who are not feeding me. I'm in it for the eggs for my family. I try to rotate my layers out by 3 years of age as many people like to get layers but don't want the hassle of chicks. At 3, they are still young enough to lay but are beyond their most productive years. I let the new owners worry about what will happen when the hen grows too old. Most state they are more interested in a pet than food production, so my aging hens go to "retirement" homes for pets with egg benefits.

Those are my thoughts. I'm sure others will chime in too.
LofMc
 

gtaus

Crowing
Mar 29, 2019
2,001
6,378
427
Northern Minnesota
My Coop
i want to get chickens but i would feel to bad to kill them and would get to attached, how do you guys deal with losing your birds? i get so attached to all my pets :(
You are in the meat birds forum, so we expect to eat them.
Yes, are you planning on getting meat birds, laying hens, or just having some pets?

In any case, maybe you should have a deal with a friend who is willing to butcher and/or cull your chickens if needed so you don't have to deal with that aspect. Nothing says that you personally have to do that end of caring for your birds. But you probably would benefit from an arrangement like that before you get your chickens.

I grew up raising small animals for meat, so I never considered them "pets" and they never had any names. That allowed me some personal distance from them when it came time to harvest. I also came from a family of hunters so I learned how to clean fish and butcher animals at a young age.

Having an unexpected loss still hurts, but I just focus on the remaining flock and care for them. I ordered 10 chicks hoping that 6 will winter over, so I have planned for loss. That's just another way for me to deal with eventual loss.
 

Lady of McCamley

Crowing
9 Years
Mar 19, 2011
7,345
5,240
492
NW Oregon
If you are raising for meat but don't want the kill job, look for a local butcher who will process your birds.
My husband is squeamish, and I don't have the physical stamina to kill, pluck, and process a lot of birds all by myself. There are several places around me where you can take the live birds, go out for coffee, then return to pick up nice wrapped packages after a couple of hours. It's about $5 per bird, so pretty reasonable, if you think of it as good organic chicken ($5 per pound in my area). That is one way to raise meat but not face the end business.

Also meat birds, if Cornish Cross, come to table in about 7 weeks, so you don't have a lot of time to get attached.

Another plan, if you name, name with end food in mind such as pot pie or fricassee or drumstick.

It is mindset not everyone is comfortable with, so you can raise layers and not meat chickens or simply keep pets.

More thoughts,
LofMc
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
25,712
15,747
777
Southeast Louisiana
i want to get chickens but i would feel to bad to kill them and would get to attached, how do you guys deal with losing your birds? i get so attached to all my pets :(
Not sure what your goals are or why you want chickens. Since you are on the meat bird forum, I'll assume you want them for meat. I don't know if you are considering Cornish X, Ranger type, or dual purpose. Will you hatch them yourself or buy hatched chicks. There are a lot of different ways to go about raising them for meat.

So how do we deal with "losing" out birds? Interesting choice of words. Whether you keep them for eggs, pets, to show or something else, if you deal with living animals at some point you will need to deal with dead animals. That's a commitment you make when you get any animals, chickens dogs, fish, or anything else.

My goals are to raise them for meat and play with genetics. I don't raise them as pets and the eggs are a very nice side benefit, but if I didn't butcher some I would not have chickens. I know I'm going to be eating them all from the start. So I have a certain mindset about butchering them. You may not be comfortable with that. Some people just aren't.

While I get to know my chickens, I consider what I'm keeping is a flock of chickens with a revolving make-up. Each year many of the chickens that made up that flock are different. Flock dynamics change, makes it interesting in observing behaviors. That doesn't mean I don't remember and appreciate certain individuals that were once part of the flock. My first green egg layer was a unique hen. A certain black rooster with bright yellow wings was striking. Those are good memories.

The way I look at it they have a great life with one bad moment. I try to make that one bad moment as short as I can.
 

Coopscraft

Songster
Jul 6, 2019
178
428
106
Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA
You become attached to your PETS. If we who eat meat are going to be honest with ourselves about our place in the food chain, we should draw a practical and mental distinction between those animals that are our friends, such as my cat, vs those that are not, such as my chickens. I like my chickens. They are entertaining and fun and tasty. I am never happy when one dies needlessly and I don’t get a thrill from processing them. However, I don’t lie to myself about what they are: dinner, not pets.

That’s how I deal with it. If your chickens are your friends, thats okay for you. But then you can’t eat them. You’ll have eggs for a few years and then you’ll be caring for a pet that only provides emotional and sentimental value for several more until the end comes. That’s how life goes. Bear in mind too that baby chickens are fragile and often die.
 
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