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I think my chicken is sad. Am I crazy?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by austradork, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. austradork

    austradork In the Brooder

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    We lost our dear Australorp Harriet on Wednesday. I had initially posted about her here . Harriet rapidly deteriorated despite treatment and multiple veterinary consultations, and we had to put her to sleep. We still don't know what it WAS that caused her illness, but we ordered a necropsy. Anyway, I swear Harriet's sister, Gertie, is in mourning. Our girls free range in our backyard, and Gertie has started to periodically visit the coop throughout the day as if she's "looking" for Harriet. She also just LOOKS sad to me. We've never lost a chicken before, so I don't know how flock mates generally react to a loss. Can anyone share their experiences with this? I could just be paranoid now, as I've spent the last three months staring at the chickens like a hawk while Harriet was sick. I could also just be projecting my own feelings onto Gertie - I'm pretty broken up about the loss. I never expected to get so attached to my flock. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2010

  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    No, you are not crazy. Chickens are social creatures, and do not do well alone.
     
  3. jjthinkagain

    jjthinkagain Chirping

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    On the contrary, you are quite sane. Humans are just one amongst legions of species with emotions, chickens amongst them.

    When my BJ roo's buddy hen Annie died of a heart attack he literally wailed in grief about it. It was utterly heartbreaking to witness and to feel his despair. Years prior when his buddy Betty died from internal laying he did not want to eat, drink, get up in the morning - nothing. He felt so deeply, loved her so much. I had to hand feed him with much begging while I feverishly searched for another friend for him so he would have a reason to get up in the morning. When his current lady friend Ellie was hurt by neighbors dogs he never left her side and she healed in the light of his caring for her. Many years prior when his only buddy was another roo, and BJ got attacked by a moron's dog, roo Johnny never left BJ's side, coo'd soothing sounds to him and their friendship (along with good medicine, in that order) carried BJ through to health. When Johnny died from an unknown illness one frigid winter and I was unable to find a way to save him, BJ was despondent. I could provide countless more examples.

    Gertie needs a lot of TLC and a friend. Try also giving her a drop or two of Rescue Remedy in her water each day, asap. I'm so sorry about Harriet [​IMG] [​IMG]

    JJ
     
  4. prancie

    prancie Songster

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    I don't doubt at all that other people's chickens get sad, but mine don't really. At least not yet. I have butchered chickens in the presence of the other chickens and all they want to do is get in on the good eats [​IMG]. Your chicken might be said, but she might also be going broody and is looking for a spot to hide her nest, or just looking for new and interesting places to lay. But, if you think she's sad then maybe a buddy would be in order if the other chickens are not so keen on her.
     
  5. 4 luv of eggs

    4 luv of eggs Songster

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    Now you've gone and made me tear up. I'm so sorry for your loss. Of course they can grieve. But how can you explain what happened when you don't speak their language? I guess in time she'll move on but it must be heartbreaking in the meanwhile.
     
  6. Oblio13

    Oblio13 Songster

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    Chickens live completely in the moment, no regrets about the past, no plans for the future. Their "emotions" are primarily fear and hunger. If you're sensing anything else, it's probably you anthropomorphizing her with your emotions.
     
  7. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

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    Oblio, I don't believe that for a sec but I can understand why some folks would think so. For millennia, it's been drilled into people's heads (by people) that only humans are capable of real feelings (beyond fear, hunger),....... that we are somehow a cut above. I know it isn't true and someday (not likely someday soon!) so will everyone else but I do understand where such beliefs arise. I respect all schools of thought on this, as each person comes to the conclusion they do based upon the information and experiences that come their way. All can have good hearts despite very different beliefs.

    JJ
     

  8. Oblio13

    Oblio13 Songster

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    Quote:We are "somehow a cut above". There are no chicken Michelangelos, Einsteins or Copernicus's. A chicken's brain is the size of your thumbnail. It deals in behaviors, not emotions. What many of us chicken-fanciers perceive as "love", for example, is merely a learned behavior that associates us with food.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2010
  9. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

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    It's clear what your belief is. And that's no less important than anybody else's belief.

    My take is that each species has different yet amazing talents, with new discoveries every day. We have only begun to uncover some of this information. Tip of the iceberg and all that. One that immediately comes to mind are pets that can find their way hundreds of miles to owners that abandoned them and moved - we would be hopelessly lost trying to do same. Or dogs that can tell someone is going to have an epileptic seizure before the person even knows. Giraffes that can communicate when a mile or even miles away from one another, in a fascinating language we never knew they had because it's not a sound we can hear.

    By the way, Einstein's brain was found to be significantly smaller than the average human brain. Good things can come in small packages [​IMG] [​IMG]

    But to get back to Gertie for the sake of the OP and her thread,...... .OP, does Gertie have any other buddies or is she alone now?
    JJ
     
  10. Oblio13

    Oblio13 Songster

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    Quote:Urban legend.
     

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