Okay, I love this site. Read stuff on here all the time. New to posting a thread so forgive my ignorance.
We have been raising chickens the last couple of years. This year we have had 16 chickens killed by what I can figure are coons because I have trapped and killed 16 coons this year. Eye for an eye.
I know I am going to get told "you just need to secure your coop better" or "it could easily be something else".
Like I said I have trapped and killed 16 coons this year. Have them on trail cameras when I was trying to figure out what was killing our chickens. It is a very long story but lets just say, we started with 4 chickens last year. No problems. They stayed in the coop at night and free ranged during the day. No problems, no dead chickens. This year we decided to get more and my wife and kids got 9 more. Our coop consists of a old barn stall that has been converted into a coop with a fenced run but we let them out during the day. When we got the new ones I sectioned off half the stall the "babies" who were at least two months when I put them out there. They could see the adult chickens from last year but they were not in direct contact. Then I let them all out when they were about 4 months. The new chickens went off on their own but decided they would rather roost in the rafters then the coop. Then they started getting killed so I put trail cameras out to see what it was. Lot's of coons. One momma with 5 babies. From what I can tell they ganged up and pushed them out of the rafters while the others killed them. They did not touch the older ones in the coop. Until one night they killed 3 of the four. I figured out how they were getting in the coop and thought I had fixed it but when we got 5 more they killed 4 of them. The last one that lived was dragged under one of the boards and remarkably lived. That leaves us one adult from last year, one that is about 6 months old and one that was the one dragged under the board that now stays inside till we figure a way to put it out in the coop.
My thought was to get a puppy to put in with now grown chickens. They can protect themselves just fine and figured the puppy, like a Australian shepherd would learn to see them as family.
My wife doesn't want us to get a barn dog with fears it will wonder off and get shot or run over. We are in the country and I grew up with dogs outside so I am not afraid of that.
Okay, lay it on me!
We have barn cats that have not been a problem. They are afraid of the chickens so I seriously doubt they are the issue.
I should clarify on the coons killing the chickens. Most of the time they killed them or bit their heads off but did not eat them. Not all of them but most. I do believe that is a factor for you that know what you are doing.