Raising Backyard Chickens – Goodbye Jersey the Giant

jersey giant chicken

I knew I was going to be out in the backyard garden for awhile today, so I went ahead and walked over to the chicken run to let the hens out to forage.

After about 5 minutes I noticed Martha and Squirlly were still in the run and they were making little clucking noises. I thought maybe I had shut the gate behind me, and they couldn’t get out. So I walked over to check.

And that’s when I saw it.

A big ball of black feathers laying motionless on the ground.

Poor Jersey, {the chicken with the hen patterned baldness} looked like she had laid down underneath the coop to take nap and just never woke up.

This is the first chicken we have had die of natural causes. She was only about 2 1/2 years old, so I’m not sure why she died.  I looked online and read that it’s not uncommon for backyard chickens to live as long as 8-10 years.

Poor Jersey. She was a good bird, she gave us lot’s of eggs and she was never any trouble.

She will be missed.

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  1. Laura says

    Awww. That is very sad. Sounds like she went peacefully, but I know you’ll miss her. My seven year old daughter really, really, wants chickens, so I might have to get used to the idea of pets that don’t live as long as our house cats. :(

  2. House Sparrow says

    I have been raising chickens for 20 years and now have about 30. I still get sad when one of them dies. Some are more special than others, but they are all loved. I am so sad for your loss of your special bird. At last she died peacefully.

    • says

      The cold weather shouldn’t have any effect on the chickens. Of course there are a few exceptions to that. The first is to make sure their water isn’t frozen. The easiest solution is to go out and break up the ice that forms in the waterer twice a day. The easier solution is to pour hot or boiling water on the waterer. The more expensive solution is to purchase a heater. The other issue you run into is with feathered legged chickens. If the ground is very wet and muddy and then freezes come you can get frosty footed chickens. That isn’t as common though.

      Most birds are heavy and hardy enough that the cold weather won’t effect them. DO NOT be tempted to put a heat lamp in the coop when it freezes. By heating the birds they will think it is spring and start to lose their downy under fluff. This makes them more susceptible to cold and freezing temperatures.

      Mavis, I’m sorry about Jersey. I had the same thing happen to Grinnin’ my Gold Laced Wyandotte last year. My 7 year old checked on the birds in the morning and there she was laying feet in the air stiff as a board. We think it was simply a heart attack. Watch out how much corn and corn based feed you are giving them. Corn can make them fat and cause undue stress on their internal organs.

      I will admit to shedding a few tears when Grinny died.

  3. Michelle Wright says

    Oh, Mavis, I am really sorry to hear about your girl passing. I know you are attached to them and love them. My sister has chickens and we had so much fun naming them and she is super attaached. They are pets that lay eggs. She has lost some over the years and I’ve seen her bawl like a baby over a chicken. So I am sorry for your loss.

  4. Lynne says

    Condolences on the loss of your pet chicken. It’s always so sad to lose a pet. Have the other chickens calmed down?

  5. Heather says

    So sad to read this post…sorry for your loss. I always delight in your chicken updates and we all mourn with you.

  6. Jesse says

    Poor Jersey the Giant. I am glad to hear it was peaceful.

    I’ve lost two chickens – one to natural causes and one to a hawk. Both were painful but the natural causes loss was almost harder to accept.

  7. angelique says

    Sorry for your loss. I lost my Little Red Hen to a roving dog and never have quite gotten over it. She use to sit on edge of my front porch and cross her legs and smile while I got the mail from the Mailman and got caught up on the news of the day. Sincerely, Angelique

  8. says

    Sorry for the loss of your hen. Some last for years & years while others go after just a few… there’s just no telling. I’m always sad when we lose one, but it does allow a little room for a few new chicks in the spring– necessary to keep those eggs coming.

    R.I.P. Jersey. :)

  9. Sandi says

    Sorry to hear about Jersey :(

    I love reading about your chickens and hope that once we get our own home (stuck in an apartment for now), I can start growing food and raising chickens. I ADORE anything chicken-related!

    You inspire me Mavis-thanks for the blog!

  10. Julia says

    I’m sorry for your loss. I keep parakeets and they don’t live long (3-14 years for mine so far, most closer to 7). The character of the flock changes when you lose a bird. My adventurous eater pasted away in the spring and now they variety of fresh foods my birds will eat has gone way down; no more little birds with orange carrot all over their faces.
    I feel like it’s easier as long as you still have a flock because they still have those little personalities to appreciate.
    Best wishes to the rest of your chickens!

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