It is an unfortunate fact of nature that everything dies. Eventually, you will find the same to be true for your chickens. Whenever you find a dead chicken in the coop, it’s important to act accordingly so that the rest of your chickens can live healthfully and hygienically.
Of course, dealing with the dead chicken in the coop can be a bit difficult if you have never done it before. After all, this is not something that everybody has handled before. Whether the chicken died because of old age or because of a freak accident, you have to know what to do.
In this article, we are going to give you a thorough rundown of what to do if you find a dead chicken in the coop. We have broken down this article into an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide so that you have all of your questions answered beforehand.
What to Do When a Chicken Dies in the Coop
Whenever you find a dead chicken in your coop, you may find yourself with a swell of emotions. It can be a bit sad. It’s important to act quickly so that the rest of your coop can be healthy and happy. Be thankful for the eggs the deceased chicken provided and move on to make the place habitable for the rest of the chickens.
What You’ll Need
The 4 Steps to Take if a Chicken Dies In Your Coop
1. Remove the Chicken
The very first thing you should do when you notice a chicken has died is to remove it from the coop. You don’t want to leave the chicken in there because that can lead to unhealthy situations for the rest of your coop. As you are removing the chicken, be careful and put your own health first.
Put on gloves before handling the chicken. Also, have all of the items laid out beforehand so that you can thoroughly wash your hands and arms after inspecting and getting rid of the dead chicken. This includes having soap and warm water available.
2. Determine the Cause of Death
Before disposing of the chicken, you should determine the cause of death. Determining the cause of death can help to protect your other chickens in the future. For example, you will want to ensure that a predator was not to blame for the chicken’s death.
You should be able to determine foul play was to blame if the chicken is missing its head or parts of the body cavity is ripped open. If you notice a lot of feathers scattered around and torn screens, a raccoon or some other type of predator was likely the cause.
Just because you see blood does not mean you should immediately suspect foul play. Chickens can sometimes peck away at their dead comrades after they have died. If it’s simply pecks you are seeing, that was likely caused by the other chickens in the coop.
In the case that a predator is not to blame for your chicken’s death, death was likely caused by disease. Diseases can come on really quickly and show no signs until death. You will want to inspect and watch your other chickens very carefully.
If you notice that your other chickens are becoming listless, laying eggs less frequently, losing weight, or looking unhealthy, they likely have some sort of disease. Contact a veterinarian for assistance.
Sometimes, chicken death is not caused by a predator or disease. A freak accident or organ failure can happen as well. Organ failure is rare, but it can happen. Organ failure is most likely the cause if the chicken did not appear unhealthy and none of the other chickens are acting odd.
3. Dispose of the Body
No matter why your chicken died, you have to dispose of the body. This can be a bit difficult because certain areas do not allow you to bury or send dead chickens in the local solid waste. For this reason, you might have to think quickly or contact your vet if you did not anticipate the death.
If it is legal in your area, you can bury dead chickens several hundred feet away from the chicken coop. The hole should be at least two feet deep. Make sure to pack the soil really tightly so that other animals do not dig the body up. Contact your local agencies to find out if this is legal in the first place.
You may be able to dispose of the body in your community’s local solid waste agency. However, not all agencies will accept this. Call up your agency to find out if it is suitable for where you live.
If both of these options are not open to you, you can always call your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be able to dispose of the dead bird by cremating it or disposing it in another way. This way is effective, but you will need to pay a fee.
4. Fix the Coop (If Applicable)
Finally, the last thing you need to do if you found that your chicken was killed by a predator is fix the coop. This step will not be applicable to everyone. It is only applicable if you are chicken was killed by a predator. It’s important to fix the coop so this doesn’t happen to any more of your flock.
Try to find where the predator got in and patch it up accordingly. If not, you will keep finding dead chickens in your coop. Make sure to seal it up good because they might try a bit harder to get in now that the predators know chickens are there.
- Related Read: How to Introduce New Chickens to Your Flock
How Long Do Chickens Live?
Most chickens live between 5 to 10 years. If you know that an old chicken is beginning to look aged and sickly, it’s important to call your veterinarian to ensure that it isn’t passing on any illnesses to the others in the coop.
It’s also important to contact your local officials to find out the best way to dispose of the body before it happens. That way, you already know what is allowed in your area, making it easier to dispose of the body when the time comes.
Disposing of a dead chicken in the coop can be a bit of an emotional moment. After all, no one likes when members of their flock passes. Unfortunately, it is an unavoidable part of life, and you will have to deal with the dead chicken eventually.
When this happens, you need to remove the dead chicken immediately and determine the cause of death. From there, dispose of the body in a way that is legal for your area. Finally, make any changes to the coop if the death was caused by a predator. We hope that this guide has helped you best handle your chicken’s death in a way that is respectful and appropriate to where you live.
- Related Read: How to Tell the Age of a Chicken (With Pictures)
Featured Image Credit: thiraphonthongaram, Shutterstock