Losing a pet is always difficult, but when that pet is one of your beloved chickens it can be especially hard.
Chickens are intelligent, personable, loving animals, and they quickly become part of the family - that's certainly how we treat our chickens.
When one of your chickens dies, it's important to take the time to grieve their loss - it's completely normal to feel sad, I totally understand how you're feeling.
I can't promise it's going to be easy, but here are some of my best tips on how to deal with the death of a chicken:
- How to Deal With the Death of a Chicken
- Allow Yourself Time to Grieve - Don’t Try to Rush the Process
- Talk About How You're Feeling
- Honor Your Chicken’s Life by Doing Something Special in Their Memory
- Seek Support From Friends or Family Members if You Need It
- Look for Pet Support Groups and Communities
- Don't Bottle Up Your Emotions
- What Do You Do With a Dead Chicken?
- In Summary
How to Deal With the Death of a Chicken
Here are some of the things you can do to help you deal with the grief that you may be feeling:
Allow Yourself Time to Grieve - Don’t Try to Rush the Process
It's normal to feel sad and overwhelmed after the death of a chicken, or any pet for that matter.
Give yourself time to process your feelings and don't try to rush the grieving process.
You don't have to 'move on' right away. Everyone feels differently while grieving, there is no right or wrong way to feel and no set time before the sadness starts to subside.
Talk About How You're Feeling
Talking about your feelings can be really helpful in coping with the death of a chicken.
Talk to your friends, family, or even a therapist if you feel like you need some extra support.
Talk about your chicken and their life with others, it can help to share your memories and keep them alive.
Related - Tips for helping chickens with bleeding or purple combs.
Honor Your Chicken’s Life by Doing Something Special in Their Memory
I always think it's helpful to do something special in honor of my chickens' lives to help me remember them.
I've added little plaques to the fence outside my coop with the names of all of my previous chickens on.
I know some people who like to keep a photo album and add pictures of their chickens, I've always thought that's a cool idea, too.
Seek Support From Friends or Family Members if You Need It
Losing a chicken can be really tough, and it's okay to reach out for help from friends or family members if you need it.
They may not understand exactly what you're going through, but chances are they'll do their best to support you.
Most people have lost a pet at some point in their lives. Sure, people with cats and dogs probably don't see chickens as the same thing - but it is.
It's not the type of animal that affects how hard we take it when they pass, it's how close we were with our pets.
Look for Pet Support Groups and Communities
If you don't have any friends or family members who you feel like you can turn to, I'm sure there are support groups or communities that will understand.
These groups can be a great place to share your memories of your chicken and get support from others who are going through the same thing.
You'll probably have to find these groups online, but this enables you to find people going through what you are - which might not be possible in person.
Don't Bottle Up Your Emotions
It's really important not to bottle up your emotions after the death of a chicken. This will only make it harder for you to cope in the long run.
Whatever you decide is the best course of action for you, the most important thing is that you do something.
Please don't ignore how you're feeling or assume you'll be feeling better in a few days. Finding help to deal with your grief makes the process so much better.
Related - Reasons why people love Rhode Island Reds and Orpingtons so much!
What Do You Do With a Dead Chicken?
This is something else that can be hard to decide on, and different people feel differently about it.
First of all, it's a good idea to check what the laws are where you live in regards to correctly disposing of your chicken's remains.
It also might depend on how they died. If your chicken died from an illness, you may be required to dispose of it in a way that ensures the virus cannot spread.
With that in mind, the three most common ways I know of that people use to dispose of chickens' remains are:
- Burying - this is the most common way, as it's simple and cheap. You just need something to use as a casket and to find a spot in your yard where you can dig a hole deep enough so that animals will not be able to dig the remains up.
- Handing over to a vet - if your chicken died from an illness and you want to be sure that their remains are disposed of in a way that will not spread the virus, many vets will take care of this for you.
- Cremating - this is a more expensive option (unless you do it yourself), but it's a good option if you don't want the remains on your property.
Losing a chicken can be difficult - this is normal, they're a part of your extended family and you've probably seen them every day for years.
There's going to be a feeling of loss because it is a loss.
But with time, patience, and support you can get through it. Just remember that you're not alone in this and that there are people who care about you.
Grieve your chicken's death however you see fit and remember the good times you shared.