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Losing lots of chickens to some unknown predator - Page 8

post #71 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by 007Sean View Post

Costello, if i may....it's most likely it is a racoon and possibly 2 or 3! If it was a mink or weasel it would just eat the head...usually, the brain has the highest and best tasting fat content, at least to a,weasel. This past spring/summer i lost 12 young pheasants that were in my outdoor brooders. They were covered with 1inch chicken wire. At first i thought it was a weasel but there was nothing left not even feathers. So i put 1/2 inch hardware cloth around the bottom 8" of the brooders....still lost birds. They were strong enough to pull it down far enough to reach in and get to my birds.After this, i set steel traps...first night caught 3 coons. Set them again, a week later and caught 2 more. I haven't had anymore predation. If you can set some steel traps so that your dog can't get caught you might have a chance of catching the rascals. Of course you also risk catching house cats and any other animal that walks into the traps. If you use the live trap, bait it with a can of cat food....coons can't resist it. Also, make a funnel to the trap...it will act as a channel to the trap.
Hope this helps....i know what it's like to lose birds and can't figure it out.

 

Get some Duke DP traps.  The DP stands for Dog Proof and Duke is the company name.  These traps are coon catchers.

Keep your chickens safe from predators, buy and wear fur. 
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Keep your chickens safe from predators, buy and wear fur. 
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post #72 of 147
I haven't trapped or bought any traps for years....didn't know about DP traps....thanks for the info
Sean in TX Raising/breeding: Red golden, Yellow golden, Lady Amherst, Elliot, Bianchi, Versicolor, Reeves, Ijima Copper, Green melanistic, Kansas ring-necked, Kirghiz(Mongolian), Southern Caucasus(Black necked), Corsica Red Legged partridge, Greater prairie chickens, Blue quail, Gamble quail.
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Sean in TX Raising/breeding: Red golden, Yellow golden, Lady Amherst, Elliot, Bianchi, Versicolor, Reeves, Ijima Copper, Green melanistic, Kansas ring-necked, Kirghiz(Mongolian), Southern Caucasus(Black necked), Corsica Red Legged partridge, Greater prairie chickens, Blue quail, Gamble quail.
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post #73 of 147
Thread Starter 

I have three live traps set, all baited with canned cat food. One's been sitting there for two or three weeks. Nothing.

I threw the partially eaten pullet into one of the traps last night - in addition to the cat food. Nothing.

 

I know there's a opossum in the barn. I've seen it. I agree, though, that a raccoon is the most likely culprit.

The opossum - hiding where it always goes when I come in.

 



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 #74 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by costello View Post

I have three live traps set, all baited with canned cat food. One's been sitting there for two or three weeks. Nothing.



I threw the partially eaten pullet into one of the traps last night - in addition to the cat food. Nothing.

I know there's a opossum in the barn. I've seen it. I agree, though, that a raccoon is the most likely culprit.


The opossum - hiding where it always goes when I come in.






If you really want to save your chickens...then you are going to have to give them a secure coop and an enclosed run...if I had a opossum living in the barn...killing my birds...the only picture of it I'd take is a picture of it DEAD.
post #75 of 147
Thread Starter 

I just went and moved one of the traps into the area that I think the raccoon is making himself comfortable in. It's in the middle of three "latrines." There's a lot more poop now that there was when I took the first photos I posted here. One of the poops was very fresh - still moist-looking. Three distinct "latrines." None are from my dog. First, my dog doesn't go in the barn. Second, his poops are bigger than these. Third, he wouldn't fit to squat in two of the spots.

 

 

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 #76 of 147
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by the poppster View Post


If you really want to save your chickens...then you are going to have to give them a secure coop and an enclosed run...if I had a opossum living in the barn...killing my birds...the only picture of it I'd take is a picture of it DEAD.

 

How do you suggest I kill it? I've tried to trap it. It's not taking the bait. I don't have a gun, although I did go shopping for one. I don't know how to use a gun. I suspect I'd just manage to shoot myself.

If you saw that opossum under that platform, how would you kill it? You can't even hit it with a shovel or something.

I can only work with what I have. I can't afford to purchase a coop or even a garden shed or to hire someone to build one for me. I have zero carpentry skills.

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 #77 of 147
You likely have both raccoons and an opossum present. The latrines with so much feces indicates to me sow with kittens.

The opossum should not be trapwise and may not be coming in every night. I have no problem walking over and picking them up by the tail. You can dispatch by blunt trauma to the head / brain area.


Raccoons that are trapwise is not out of the question.


Show a picture of where the birds are roosting and route predator might take to get at them. You can make changes that reduces losses until predator is eliminated.

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 #78 of 147
Thread Starter 

Thanks, so much, centrarchid. I'll get some photos of where they're roosting. In fact, I may have some already.

Until this week a number of the chickens were sleeping outside in small trees. This seems to be a safe spot, but with the cold weather most have moved inside. Whatever it is can't or doesn't climb trees of this size.





About a dozen sleep on a rafter and along the track for the garage door. Another safe spot and one that more and more are adopting.



This little lady found a spot at the top of a ladder I'd leaned against the garage door, because I was trying to figure out how to fix the door which won't open. I don't know if raccoons or opossums climb ladders.

 

This little girl always sleeps over the door.

 

The one thing I don't have a photo of on my computer is six foot high cage-like thing that my dad used to keep young chickens when he was raising them from chicks. A number of the chickens have roosted there, but I suspect it's NOT a safe spot, because they'd abandoned it and moved outside into the trees. Now that it's cold, they've moved back onto the brooder.

Next to the brooder is an old chest of drawers about 3.5' high. I suspect that the chickens jump on the chest of drawers then onto the brooder then up onto the rafters. I've considered removing the chest of, but then I fear the chickens who roost on the rafter won't be able to get up there, and they'll all be at risk. Let me see if I can make a little video to show the layout.

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 #79 of 147
Thread Starter 

Video of the interior of the barn. I know it's a mess. Don't judge me. Keep in mind I'm dealing with a mother with dementia, another relative with a serious mental illness who attempted suicide this summer and now lives with me, a full-time job, and a two-hour round trip commute. It'll be a while before the inside of the barn is cleared out. :)

 

This video is on facebook. I hope you can view it.

https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.woolfolk.96/videos/910867385657755/?l=1029389891935189223

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 #80 of 147
Very good video and pictures. A raccoon can climb up on the six foot coop with little effort as could a opossum. Many of the rafter areas will be accessible to a raccoon as well although they are not good at thinking through indirect routes. Birds high up are relatively safe. Did you clean up the kill sites?


Consider redeploying the poultry netting so it actually surrounds the barn. Also place traps close to where you think predator must go to get at birds. A preference I have is to place traps along a wall or near a structure that raccoon might want to climb.


Could you go out and check on roost locations tonight? Look for birds in locations a very agile five year old kid could get to and where jumping need not cover a distance more than 48 inches. Some kids can climb those walls and get up to the rafter where catching a chicken is a cake walk.


I have been having similar issues with owls coming in so each evening I checked for chicken roost sites and then made adjustments to those locations that made the owls job more difficult. In some situations that involved making the chickens efforts of helping the owl more difficult as well.

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
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