Saturday, 10 January 2009

What do you do with a dead chicken?

Indeed. What DO you do with a dead chicken?

One of my chook chooks headed off to the great chicken run in the sky last week. She'd been a little quiet for a few days but was still eating fine so I wasn't unduly concerned but I came out one morning to find she had died in the night. It happens when you keep animals and you have to deal with it.

But what do I do with her? Someone said I should have plucked her and put her in the pot. Someone with an even harder heart than mine might have been able to do that. Not me. That's why I keep chickens for eggs and not for the pot. How can you eat an animal you have given a name? A little hypocritical of me as a meat eater perhaps but there you go.

I buried the first chicken that died and she's now doing her bit fertilising my garden. That's not an option here at the moment. It's -2 out there at the moment, and has been as low as -9 overnight this past week, so the ground is frozen solid. I could leave her out for the foxes, they need to eat too, but she may well be picked up by a dog and give their owner the fright of their lives when they re-appear out of the undergrowth with a chicken in their mouths. Or I could throw her in the skip to be taken away with the rubbish. But both those options seem a little undignified.

So at the moment, Cora is resting in state in my shed. Which is fine whilst it remains cold but might cause a few problems as the temperature rises. I'm just hoping the ground thaws out pretty quickl because I can't think what else to do.


  1. I don't suppose you have room in your freezer for her. That would keep her "fresh" until the ground thawed enough to dig. Just don't forget she's in the shed!

  2. Interesting dilemna. I vote for a natural freeze ... and don't forget she is there or you'll smell the thaw!

  3. RULE 1: Don't eat an animal if you don't know what it died of.

    RULE 2: See Rule 1.

    RULE 3: What are dogs for? ;)

  4. Eat it! Or give it to the foxes!

  5. When Kaulo died I burnt her. Chicks & young birds go to the ferrets, now. Because I don't know why my chickens die, I take them away from my yard & throw them into a thorn patch. If I buried them, the dogs would dig them up & I feel that I'm doing the local fox population a favour if I let them have a chicken, albeit already dead, hoping that they will then leave my flock alone. It sounds heartless & cruel & I felt awful when my first ever chicken died (the childer bred, raised & gave Woodstock to me ~ all the other chickens were theirs at that point) & I took him & threw him into the thorns. I have to throw them as otherwise I can't reach the bushes at all & I won't leave them out in the open. I can't eat meat, so that question doesn't arise for me (my body spasms if I do, but I have no objection to meat eaters) & when I could eat meat, I could never eat any of our chickens, so I understand that point. If you don't know why she died don't eat her.
    Hug for you for chicken loss

  6. No help from me; I'm a city girl! Probably a good idea not to eat something that died from unknown causes though.

  7. Sayre's old Dad here...I would vote for abandonment of the corpse at some distance from your home. This does not attract Br'er Fox to your living, squawking entrees. I too love foxes, but have free-range chickens. No harm in dumping the corpse in a copse half a mile or so from the site of the departure.

  8. Burning her on a fire might do the trick! We once lost 15 hens due to Reynard during a very snowy patch of weather, the ground was covered in blood, it was awful. Burying was not an option so we used some horse bedding and made a funeral pyre.

  9. I second the freezer suggestion. You just have to always remember she's there. I had a dead parrot in a freezer for a week a long time ago. Long story. But if I forgot about it when I opened the door I got quite a fright.

    I'm sorry about Cora.

  10. Sorry to hear that you've lost one. If you can't bear to put it out for the foxes, then triple-bag it and put it in the freezer until spring. But it seems a shame to deprive a fox of a good meal in this cold, cold winter.

    Of course, it's easy for me to tell you what to do.

  11. Oh how sad. Even if I was into meat I would not eat an animal that died without knowing why it died. She was obviously sick or something. Our neighbours once killed and ate their pet rooster, my poor kids were horrified!

    So where is your fun monday? I thought mine was late!

  12. So sorry!!!

    I would not eat it either...I agree if you name it don't eat it!!! And I agree with the if you don't know why it died..eeewww.

    I Think I too would wrap it up put it in a shoe box than a plastic bag and wait for the ground to thaw.
    here we'd be looking later than April.

  13. I agree about the not eating.

    Burning it would smell awful, too.
    Freeze it until you can bury it I would think.


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