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Losing lots of chickens to some unknown predator - Page 11

post #101 of 147
Oppossums in my experience do not drag off a carcass. Consumption is on sight. Raccoons sometimes move carcass but generally not far. Raccoons eat at they go leaving a lot of wet looking / chewed feathers.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

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Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

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post #102 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by costello View Post

Plan B.

There's an old coop on the property that's still in usable condition, I think. I hadn't wanted to use it, because it was too small for the chickens I moved here with - 45 adults and about 20 chicks. Now that I'm down to half that, maybe I can make it work. I thought I'd run an electric fence around it and move the chickens there.


It's largely surrounded by trees. I remember hawks were something of a problem back in the day, but most of our losses were to domestic dogs and one crazy cat we had that went on a rampage one day and left 8 dead chickens behind.





My dad built it about 40 years ago for the chickens we had one year. I can't remember how many chickens it housed, and it may be too small for the number I have now.


The exterior is made all of metal except the doors which are wood. The wooden parts have rotted a bit, but they seem to still be usable. The coop is 6' by 4' and has a wire mesh bottom. It has a single 6' long roost and three nesting boxes. (Eggs aren't an issue these days. I think they're too traumatized to lay much.)





















I don't know if I can crowd 31 chickens in there. And they're going to have to stay in a few days in order to learn to sleep in there, because my birds will try to roost in the trees and on top of the coop. Then owls will definitely be a problem.

Make so chickens roost a good six inches or more above that bottom to prevent raccoon from eating their legs off. Also swap out the poultry wire for something tougher. I would even put hot wire on the coop. You are definitely doing the bush whacker approach like we used to do with lesser value birds and that is tough without help from dog.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

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Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
post #103 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by centrarchid View Post


Make so chickens roost a good six inches or more above that bottom to prevent raccoon from eating their legs off. Also swap out the poultry wire for something tougher. I would even put hot wire on the coop. You are definitely doing the bush whacker approach like we used to do with lesser value birds and that is tough without help from dog.

 

I noticed there were those little ceramic knobs for electric wire on the coop. I kind of wondered why. Maybe he had an electric wire on it. I don't remember. I do remember we never had a predator in that coop.

Blogging my adventures as a novice chicken raiser: http://www.redhendiaries.com
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Blogging my adventures as a novice chicken raiser: http://www.redhendiaries.com
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post #104 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by centrarchid View Post

Oppossums in my experience do not drag off a carcass. Consumption is on sight. Raccoons sometimes move carcass but generally not far. Raccoons eat at they go leaving a lot of wet looking / chewed feathers.


When I discovered the massacre of my 6 chickens, I went back inside for 15 mins approx. and when I got back outside, the chicken's body was to my amazement gone and I found it with the possum.  The possum had drug it over into the woods so they do drag their food to a safer place to eat it.  The possum didn't kill it, it was eating the remains.  There was another chicken's body under the same bush beside the possum, I could see the chicken's foot sticking up...So whatever killed my chickens (fox) had not yet returned for the remaining chickens.

Just because you caught it in a trap, doesn't make it the killer of your chickens.

 

Poo chart:  https://uconnladybug.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/scatlayout_bottom-worthadam.jpg

Foxes climb:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6YQdi5gbFg and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt8FG9Fblis

Possums eat ticks  http://www.caryinstitute.org/newsroom/opossums-killers-ticks

A Chicken's Life:  https:/...

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Just because you caught it in a trap, doesn't make it the killer of your chickens.

 

Poo chart:  https://uconnladybug.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/scatlayout_bottom-worthadam.jpg

Foxes climb:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6YQdi5gbFg and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt8FG9Fblis

Possums eat ticks  http://www.caryinstitute.org/newsroom/opossums-killers-ticks

A Chicken's Life:  https:/...

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post #105 of 147
Having two predators work your flock as same time is not unheard of. Great-horned owls in the past would work my flock knocking birds of the roost. An hour or so later a Red Fox would come through looking for chickens hiding in the grass from the owl. Also when a handle a bird roughly that squalls I can expect to see an owl in a minute or so land close by. The owls appear to try and rob each other.



A given opossum might learn to move a chicken carcass although they have shown little sign of doing so here.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
post #106 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by centrarchid View Post

Having two predators work your flock as same time is not unheard of.

 

I'm becoming more and more convinced that's what happened here. There's nothing on the trail cam this morning except me setting it up last night and the chickens getting up this morning.

 

I had intermittent problems with my fence for a while. It wasn't working or was very weak, and I wasn't aware of it. Something came in during those times and killed birds. When the fence is working, it doesn't come in. I just need to test the fence more frequently.

 

The traps I have aren't working. I'm going to try the 55 gallon barrel idea and see if that gets them. I'll have to get them all at one go, because I do think they saw their companion get caught early on and learned to avoid the traps.

Blogging my adventures as a novice chicken raiser: http://www.redhendiaries.com
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Blogging my adventures as a novice chicken raiser: http://www.redhendiaries.com
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post #107 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by costello View Post
 

 

Is it possible something else killed it and the opossum came later and ate part of it?

For the longest time, there were no bodies. That's why I was convinced it was something big coming and taking the chickens away to eat. I've found three bodies out of maybe 20 chickens.


Don't kid yourself a possum will kill a chicken.

post #108 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by allenw View Post


Don't kid yourself a possum will kill a chicken.

They do but are not good at pulling birds of an elevated roost or running them down during daylight hours. Latter in particular is not the American Opossum's best appraoch.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
post #109 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by costello View Post
 

Thanks, all.
I broke my fence tester before I moved here, so I haven't been able to check it. I'll see if I can buy a new one today.

That's what kids are for.

6 goats, 4 dogs, 12 layers and 15 new chicks of a wide variety.
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6 goats, 4 dogs, 12 layers and 15 new chicks of a wide variety.
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post #110 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mossyroo View Post
 

That's what kids are for.

 

lol... Unfortunately I don't have a kid under the age of 30. Maybe I should borrow someone else's? ;)

Blogging my adventures as a novice chicken raiser: http://www.redhendiaries.com
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Blogging my adventures as a novice chicken raiser: http://www.redhendiaries.com
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