The passing of a pet chicken is never easy. Whether it was sudden or it was known to happen, it always hits hard and is difficult to process.
Many of us backyard farmers consider our feathered friends to be part of the family, with whom we’ve forged a very true and real bond.
I’m sorry for your loss. Believe me, I’ve been there.
Here are some concepts, actions, and advice on how to cope with the loss of a chicken, to treasure their memory, and to move forward.
Losing A Chicken
As a proud backyard farmer, you need to be mentally prepared for loss, especially when it comes to chickens.
Between the average chicken’s lifespan of 5-10 years, common health issues, and risk of predators, losing a chicken is unfortunately inevitable. However, this doesn’t make the grief and mourning process any less important or meaningful.
One philosophical way of looking at it is bringing it back to the circle of life. Whether you raise chicks yourself or simply keep hens for their lovely eggs, you are always around the first stage of the circle of life: the egg. Just as much as you celebrate the beginning, you must also honor life, and grow from the ending.
Whether it was a sudden loss or it was known to be coming. Whether it was the loss of baby chicks or an older hen. Whether it was from health or predators. You can’t blame yourself. Simply process the loss, celebrate life, and grow wiser from the experience.
How To Cope With The Loss Of A Chicken
Everyone processes grief and mourns differently. If you need some guidance or advice on how to cope with the loss of your chicken, here are some ideas and actions you can take which may help.
Give Yourself And Your Family Some Time
Unfortunately, death is an inevitable part of life. You will have to process the loss, accept it, and move forward which can take time. Some people process loss a lot quicker than others, but it doesn’t mean that the loss meant less for them. You’ll need to allow yourself and your family some time to cope with the loss.
When it comes to telling your children about the death of your chicken, it’s essential that you be honest with them and break it down so they understand the meaning. They will learn from you how to deal with this kind of emotion, and although it may be hard, they will learn and grow from it, and learn to value life.
This, of course, is entirely up to you and your children as you know them best, but telling your children that the chicken ran away may cause more confusion and angst in the long run.
Rituals Can Help You Heal
Doesn’t matter if it’s a burial, cremation, or another form of send-off, making some kind of meaningful ritual yourself or with family can be a great way to express your final feelings and help start the healing process.
Saying goodbye to your chicken can be tough to do. No one’s expecting a full formal funeral for a chicken but the same principles can be used to move forward through the loss of your lovely fluffy friend.
Contact Pet Loss Grief Support Groups
Pet loss support groups, chats, and forums can also be a great way to cope with the loss of your feathered friend.
Some of these groups can be even more specific, such as bird loss or even support groups dedicated to chickens.
Learning from the experience of others who went through a similar situation can also help you process your feelings and heal.
Tend To The Needs Of Your Other Chickens And Pets
Tending to the needs of the flock and other pets is perhaps one of the most essential actions you can take to help you and your backyard farm cope with the loss of your chicken.
This doesn’t just include regular feeding and taking care. In the case of chickens, they can also show signs of grievance over the loss of their fellow chicken, so it’s essential that you show them extra love during these tough times too. This could be by extra treats or more contact with them.
Make A Memory Book of Your Chicken
Chickens are such affection animals, which is another reason it’s so hard sometimes. But, being in the digital age it’s no doubt you’ll have many photos and videos of your chicken, whether it’s on your phone, computer, or already online!
Creating a physical memory book or at least printing and keeping some physical photos of your chicken can really help you and the family cope with the loss of your chicken. It’s hard to look at the photos at first, but over time it will turn into embracing the memories, which is a very warm and precious feeling.
Don’t Hesitate To Seek Out Professional Help
If you are really torn and aren’t coping with the loss of your chicken there is no reason to hesitate to seek out professional help.
Everyone copes with loss differently, so it’s important you find your way to get through it. Professional grief or pet counselors specialize in handling these kinds of emotions. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from a friend, family member, or a therapist if you can’t cope with the grievance on your own.
Losing a chicken can be heartbreaking, and if you’re a keen backyard farmer then it’s likely it’s going to happen again.
You do learn to process the grief more easily, but it doesn’t mean it’s any less meaningful or that you shouldn’t apply the mourning process to move through it.
So, it’s understandable if you find it difficult to cope with the loss of your chicken. But as a backyard farmer, it’s an inescapable experience that you have to get through for your own good, as well as that of your family and the flock.
Never hesitate to reach out to someone to talk it through with them, whether it’s a friend, family member, or professional.