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fox in the hen house? or a raccoon?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I had 4 leghorns and 2 Khaki Campbell ducks. We usually put them in the chicken coop at night until the chickens decided they wanted to roost up in the pine trees beside our house instead. About a month ago now, I got home on a Sunday night and just completely forgot to lock my ducks up, (female and male, the female would follow the male everywhere and he never wanted to go in the coop) the next morning the male was gone and the female was going absolutely nuts! I was thinking best case scenario the whole time, maybe he just ran away or something.. until that wednesday I walked outside to let my female duck out of her coop and I found feathers all over my yard. I followed the feathers to the pine trees beside our house and found my chicken lying dead right over the tree line in our neighbor yard. It wasn't even like this predator was even interested in eating the chicken, it was missing a leg and that was it. There were 2 large piles of feathers, both of which i thought were from the chicken.. but a few days laer i dcided to revisit the scene of the crime and take a closer look and found that they were indeed my male khaki's feathers but i never found his body or anything like that. Long story short- I buried the chicken, and became more strict about putting the chickens away every night, I would even go pull them out of the trees and put them in the chicken coop the first few nights...until last night the chickens decided that they wanted to go back into the trees. I was like okay whatever its been 3 weeks almost, they'll be okay for one night. Well, I was wrong. I have had a trap set for about 2 weeks and just last night I moved it and put raw chicken in it : untouched. As i was walking down to check my trap this morning I happened to look over and to my dismay found several more piles of feathers. I again found another chicken in my neighbors yard, this time with just a chunk missing out of its side. I am now down to 2 chickens and 1 duck and i just want to know what is killing my chickens and ducks for fun and I want to know how to get rid of it too! I live in northern central maryland, right under the PA line so all we really have are foxes and raccoons, ive never seen a coyote but they have been seen around my area multiple times. any advice would help, thanks all!!

post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by kychilds7 View Post
 

I had 4 leghorns and 2 Khaki Campbell ducks. We usually put them in the chicken coop at night until the chickens decided they wanted to roost up in the pine trees beside our house instead. About a month ago now, I got home on a Sunday night and just completely forgot to lock my ducks up, (female and male, the female would follow the male everywhere and he never wanted to go in the coop) the next morning the male was gone and the female was going absolutely nuts! I was thinking best case scenario the whole time, maybe he just ran away or something.. until that wednesday I walked outside to let my female duck out of her coop and I found feathers all over my yard. I followed the feathers to the pine trees beside our house and found my chicken lying dead right over the tree line in our neighbor yard. It wasn't even like this predator was even interested in eating the chicken, it was missing a leg and that was it. There were 2 large piles of feathers, both of which i thought were from the chicken.. but a few days laer i dcided to revisit the scene of the crime and take a closer look and found that they were indeed my male khaki's feathers but i never found his body or anything like that. Long story short- I buried the chicken, and became more strict about putting the chickens away every night, I would even go pull them out of the trees and put them in the chicken coop the first few nights...until last night the chickens decided that they wanted to go back into the trees. I was like okay whatever its been 3 weeks almost, they'll be okay for one night. Well, I was wrong. I have had a trap set for about 2 weeks and just last night I moved it and put raw chicken in it : untouched. As i was walking down to check my trap this morning I happened to look over and to my dismay found several more piles of feathers. I again found another chicken in my neighbors yard, this time with just a chunk missing out of its side. I am now down to 2 chickens and 1 duck and i just want to know what is killing my chickens and ducks for fun and I want to know how to get rid of it too! I live in northern central maryland, right under the PA line so all we really have are foxes and raccoons, ive never seen a coyote but they have been seen around my area multiple times. any advice would help, thanks all!!


Does the Neighbor have a dog??

Silkie and Call Duck Lover - just can't have enough..
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Silkie and Call Duck Lover - just can't have enough..
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post #3 of 9

If you are leaving them unsecured at night, just about anything could be getting them. You can't really eliminate all the potential predators in your area, you can only do your best to keep them away from your flock. That means shutting them up in a secure coop each and every night. Chickens do not see well in the dark, and when asleep, they are very difficult to wake. A bird could be getting ripped to shreds right next to them and they would not stir. They are pretty helpless during those nighttime hours. Keep them locked in a secure coop at night, every night.

post #4 of 9

Chickens and ducks will get up bright and early in the morning, so it could possibly be a dog getting them while your still sleeping.  Perhaps the neighbors dog is having a fun time in the morning.  Foxes usually will carry off there meal and take it to there den.  Raccoons usually eat the heads and leave the bodies because the brain is where most of the protein is and right now, this is the time for them to store some fat before winter weather kicks in.  A hawk will also carry them off, a possum will eat it right there they don't care and they are to lazy to carry something off.  But a dog will flip it around and have a ball with the new play toy and it's very hard to break a dog once it's got the taste and enjoyment of live food.

 

I have also seen cats kill for fun.

Silkie and Call Duck Lover - just can't have enough..
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Silkie and Call Duck Lover - just can't have enough..
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

i dont think that this neighbor has a dog.. if they do then ive never seen it. it usually happens very early in the morning, as soon as the sun starts to come out because thats when they all fly down for water and such. my dad and i are going to attempt setting another trap to see if we can get anything.. ive seen raccoon pawprints in the mud by the little pool that the duck swims in so maybe it could just be a weird raccoon lol. my dad has promised to by me more chicks to raise though, ive lost so many birds this week! i started with 6 leghorns, 2 were roosters so we gav them away and then these last 2 were tragically murdered!

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by junebuggena View Post
 

If you are leaving them unsecured at night, just about anything could be getting them. You can't really eliminate all the potential predators in your area, you can only do your best to keep them away from your flock. That means shutting them up in a secure coop each and every night. Chickens do not see well in the dark, and when asleep, they are very difficult to wake. A bird could be getting ripped to shreds right next to them and they would not stir. They are pretty helpless during those nighttime hours. Keep them locked in a secure coop at night, every night.

This^^^^

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

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

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

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

Reply
post #7 of 9
Here's a sad story for you all, a hawk swoops down and attacks one of my hens. Instead of my husband doing something about it, he tells me, I let him eat it this way he'll get full and not coming around for a while!!!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! what kind of thinking is that? And this all happened during the day while I was at work. Of course my response was NO INSTEAD YOU INVITED HIM IN TO AN ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFAY!! somad.gif
Silkie and Call Duck Lover - just can't have enough..
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Silkie and Call Duck Lover - just can't have enough..
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post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lacrystol View Post

Here's a sad story for you all, a hawk swoops down and attacks one of my hens. Instead of my husband doing something about it, he tells me, I let him eat it this way he'll get full and not coming around for a while!!!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! what kind of thinking is that? And this all happened during the day while I was at work. Of course my response was NO INSTEAD YOU INVITED HIM IN TO AN ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFAY!! somad.gif

Hawks are migrating this time of year. Raptors are protected by federal law. It is illegal to harass, harm or kill one.

As long as you free range you stand the chance to lose birds. I have lost more birds to Cooper's hawks than any other predator so I understand what it is like.

To the OP, you need to lock up your birds at night. They are vulnerable in the dark.
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by keesmom View Post


Hawks are migrating this time of year. Raptors are protected by federal law. It is illegal to harass, harm or kill one.

As long as you free range you stand the chance to lose birds. I have lost more birds to Cooper's hawks than any other predator so I understand what it is like.

To the OP, you need to lock up your birds at night. They are vulnerable in the dark.

This hawk is not a migrater, he's here all year around.  

Silkie and Call Duck Lover - just can't have enough..
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Silkie and Call Duck Lover - just can't have enough..
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