It's never easy losing a pet, and one of the most difficult parts is often knowing what to do with their remains.
It's not a nice topic to cover, but it's a necessary one - so in this post, I'm going to explain how to dispose of a dead chicken.
Here is a look at the 5 ways I know that some chicken owners dispose of their dead birds:
How to Dispose of a Dead Chicken - 4 Ways!
Burying Your Chickens
The first method is probably the most common, and that's simply burying your chicken(s).
This is a great option if you have enough space in your backyard, and if you're comfortable with digging a hole and knowing where they are.
Just make sure that you bury them at least two feet underground and wrap their carcass in airtight materials to discourage animals from digging them up.
This can become a problem over time if you keep a lot of chickens, but it's certainly a method a lot of backyard chicken owners start with.
Related - Here are some tips on how to deal with the grief of losing a pet.
Giving Your Chickens to A Vet to Deal With
If you don't want to bury your chickens or if you live somewhere that it's not possible (like in an apartment), then another option is to give them to a vet.
They will have a way to dispose of the chicken properly, and they may even offer cremation services.
Of course, this option will come with a fee, but it's a good option if you want to know your chicken is being properly disposed of.
You may also want to ask your vet to take a look at your bird to see if they can confirm what they died of, so that's an added reason to pass them to a vet.
Burning (Cremating) Your Chickens
If you're comfortable with fire and the act of incinerating your chickens, then creating your chickens may be an option for you.
Of course, this isn't something that everyone is going to feel good about doing, but it is a way I know a lot of people dispose of their chickens.
Just make sure that you do it in a safe place away from any buildings or other materials that could catch fire!
Sending Your Chickens to A Landfill
If you want your chickens to be taken off your hands without charge, then sending them to a landfill is probably the best option.
It's a good idea to check what the laws and regulations are where you live, as this might be strictly prohibited.
I do know people who have done this and use it as their preferred method. Just be sure to wrap your chickens in airtight material to stop the smell escaping and parasites from infesting the carcass.
Carefully Disposing of Chickens That Died From a Disease
If you think your chicken died from a disease, it's important to take extra care when disposing of their carcass.
This is because you don't want to spread the disease to other animals or even people.
The best way to do this is to contact your local animal control or your vet and they will be able to advise you on the best course of action.
Related - Spotting abnormal behaviors in chickens.
How Long Do Backyard Chickens Live?
The life expectancy of backyard chickens varies slightly depending on the breed of chicken and of course their environment.
That said, the average life expectancy of a chicken is around eight years.
So, if you're keeping chickens as backyard pets, be prepared for the eventuality that they will die and have a plan in place for how to dispose of them.
No one wants to think about their chickens dying, but it's important to be prepared so that you know what to do when the time comes.
Do Chickens Get Sad When Another Chicken Dies?
It's a common belief that chickens get sad when another chicken in their flock dies.
I'm not sure if this is true or not, but I do know that they will definitely miss the chicken that died.
They may even stop laying eggs for a while out of sadness - I've seen this happen myself.
Chickens are social animals and they create a pretty tight hierarchy within a flock, I think it's fair to assume that they miss their flockmates!
It's hard to quantify whether or not they're sad though. It's not like chickens can shed a tear!
Can You Tell if a Chicken Is Dying?
You can't always tell if a chicken is dying for sure, but there are some telltale signs that a chicken is sick, these are:
- Lack of appetite
- Decreased egg production
- Fluffed up feathers
- Wheezing or gasping for breath
If you notice any of these signs in your chicken, then it's a good idea to take them to the vet so that they can be checked out.
It's always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the health of your chickens!
I hope this blog post has helped you to understand how to dispose of a dead chicken.
The method you choose will likely depend on how your chicken died, what the regulations for disposing of dead animals are where you live, and what feels right for you.
It's important to be prepared so that you know what to do when the time comes - it makes dealing with the loss a lot easier in my experience.