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Another Chicken Down... What's Happening?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I just lost another chicken, the last of my two Buff Orpington hens. The chickens were being really loud in the barn, and I hadn't put them away yet, so I went out to check and saw that my last Orp hen was missing. I walked around the barn and saw her feather everywhere, and then she popped out of nowhere and started running around like crazy. I eventually caught her and saw that something had completely disemboweled her from the underbelly, her crop was almost completely separated from her breast. I had no other option but to quickly euthanize her.

 

Within the last two months, I've lost three hens to something that I've never seen. Millet, on of my RIR hens, was killed during the day and chewed from the tail up in the middle of my yard. Then, a few weeks later, something drags one of my Orp hens into the nearby woods. She survived the horrible wounds for about a week after, but unfortunately succumbed to her wounds. Since then, I've been penning all of my chickens at night. And just a half hour ago, all of what I stated above happened.

 

I trapped a huge feral tom cat after my first Orp hen was attacked, and judging from the fact that the predator had de-feathered her and dragged her off (and there were rather large cat prints everywhere near where I found her to boot), I assumed that the cat was the culprit, so I killed it. I thought that would end the slaughter, but I was wrong. Whatever attacked my chicken tonight did so in the barn, with all of the lights on. I couldn't find any prints anywhere. All of my chickens are penned up now.

 

I'm terrified for the safety of my chickens, and I feel ridiculously discouraged right now. Up until these past few months, the only predator incident I had was with a raccoon, and the victim chicken survived that. As a matter of fact, the chicken that survived was the first one to have been killed. Now, all of a sudden, I'm losing chickens let and right.

 

What could this predator be? I feel like the cat definitely killed my first Orp, but now this happened and I don't know what to think, or what could've done it. Any help, ideas, or suggestions would be very appreciated, because I certainly need some.

post #2 of 5

So, so sorry about your losses!  It's terrible!  I don't know where you are located but I would seriously consider a weasel as the culprit.  They are viscous little creatures.

"When raising chickens you must think like a chicken...NOT like a human!"

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies-diseases-injuries-before-they-happen 

 

Reply

"When raising chickens you must think like a chicken...NOT like a human!"

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies-diseases-injuries-before-they-happen 

 

Reply
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

I'm located in East Ohio. I've never once seen or heard of a weasel around here anytime recently. I say 'recently' because I do know my grandfather has lived here his whole life and told me about how he had to wrestle a weasel off of a chicken once when he was a kid.

 

But I would have to doubt it, but not excuse it. I have no idea if weasels even live around here any more, and I don't know how I'd get rid of one.

post #4 of 5

"When raising chickens you must think like a chicken...NOT like a human!"

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies-diseases-injuries-before-they-happen 

 

Reply

"When raising chickens you must think like a chicken...NOT like a human!"

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies-diseases-injuries-before-they-happen 

 

Reply
post #5 of 5

I'd be really surprised if it was a weasel - they're not real big on dragging 6-8lb birds out to the woods. They also tend to be rather neat.

 

Raccoon would be my guess - they make a mess - disembowel birds, eat their crops, etc.

 

Weasels are athletic and nasty, but disemboweling a bird while its still alive is probably beyond them - and it's a really common raccoon thing to do.


Edited by CrazyTalk - 3/4/16 at 7:19am
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