Fox? Bobcat? Losing one bird a day, need to identify. - Page 4
Based upon the way my cat kills - and how she accesses the pens, she's too small to kill my poultry - stunted cat is about the size of a rabbit, but kills anything smaller than she is, I would vote fox. Cat isn't going to chew fences. When they come up against a challenge they prefer to climb, and there is no fence that will stop them. You'd end up scalping your property bald trying to get anything that could be climbed and jumped from away from the pens.
When our cat kills something, she eats the head first and then uses her scrapey tongue to remove the undesirable bits from inside. She dumps them out like a kid with a bucket. Amazingly efficient, takes under a minute. Then eats everything else, bones included. If she leaves anything it's the hind quarters. I'd look for gut piles if I really suspected big cat and then I'd have to take away yard access and put everyone in somewhere that couldn't be accessed from above. Full overhead cover and hope they loose interest or find easier targets elsewhere. For the big guys to come in, it means the easier hunting is gone and they're pretty hard up, unless they've already been hitting neighboring farms and have run out of easy targets there and are just habitual human herd hunters, and that's one to contact fish and game about.
It takes time to chew things and cats aren't going to spend that time when they have the ability to go wheee!
Foxes are sneaky chewers though, since we have yotes, we don't have much big cat activity -they're on the other side of the valley and prefer the neighborhoods for garbage, dog food and small dogs - they don't seem to fear humans the way the coyotes do. They don't seem to be bothered by suburbia.
Dew lines of course might give you a direction and a general idea. When we get bigger predators, it's along the same track - they pass behind our property in the night or early hours of the morning. If you got their routine you could wait for them and give them a significant unpleasant experience, then follow up with a light on a motion detector. You can get a screw in that goes between the socket and the bulb at a hardware store for around $40.
Sorry to hear about your losses, hope you get the perp or get your coops secure before they get anymore of yours.
I'm not going to anymore until we figure it out. We saw the Bobcat in our yard yest right before dark. He had my hen in his mouth and we ran towards him and he dropped her and ran off. They are killing our neighbors chickens as well. He wouldn't leave our yard last night. We were standing in a distance from him and he was just watching our yard.?
What has fish and game said about it? I would call in and tell them you have a big cat who is acclimated to eating human pets and waste and you may get lucky and have them come out and do the trapping for you. They don't do a thing out here about yotes, but cats seem to scare the daylights out of them. They seem to feel they're more likely to attack a human than a yote is. If I called and said Mtn Lion and it was a credible sighting they'd all but have the cops on stake out in the bushes and it would probably make the local news. We see it about once a year when they start picking off small dogs on the other side of town.
Predators will often back fill - you kill or remove one and the others whose territories but up against them take over the now free territory - so you still have a presence, but an animal that is habituated to finding high value and low effort food around humans has become dangerous to humans has crossed a line and it might be better to get "fresh paws" on the territory surrounding your home. Some cat who isn't farm savvy yet.
Good luck! I hate the frustration of not being able to get your guy before he gets another of your flock. I've made a "cat trap" of sorts for smaller cats, but it was designed to discourage, and create a ruckus not contain. A large trashcan, lid off, with a cardboard disc barely the size of the opening, baited with high value food. The garbage can is filled with water and the disc is set in over the water - deep enough into the can that they have to get in to reach it and can't just stretch their necks and take the food. They have to jump on to the disc, which collapses under them and dumps them in the water. A strobe light on a motion detector would be interesting to try as well, something to mess up their night vision badly enough to make your place seem like a chapter of Dante's Inferno. I've contemplated haunted house decorations rigged to motion detectors in the past. Then I'd need cameras to capture the effects.