first of all, i take full responsibility for this and adjustments are being made and no babies will go outside until those adjustments are made. in over a year of chicken keeping, we have never had a predator except our own dog. and now we have had one, i will make adjustments.
we have our hens in one coop right now, chicks brooding in a brooder in different spot that is closer to the house and safer for electricity to run.
from what i can tell, the chicks we had were attacked early this morning. either way it was between midnight and 630, but the 3 dead chicks, none had rigor mortis. we culled our rooster yesterday so i am thinking perhaps a predator didn't hear him and thought it was time to make a move. the first chick i found wasn't nearly as cold as the other two once i found them. the reason i think it happened this morning is that we HAD 5 babies, i only found 1 in the brooder this morning. the brooder butts up to the lattice that surrounds the bottom of our back porch. there is a board between the brooder and the lattice, a very long board, so the chicks won't just run under the deck. an hour after i found the lone chick and brought it inside, i heard very loud cheeping and a poult came out from under the deck. i think this had to have happened early because i dont think the poult would have survived the night under the deck without any other chickens or heat source.
i found the other 2 chicks behind the board that was between the brooder and the lattice.
all 3 chicks were severed between the leg and abdomen, none of their entrails came out or were sliced, only one even had a small mark anywhere else. very little blood. i mean honestly it seems plausible that whatever did this could have sliced them open and drained them. they were completely in tact, just sliced open at the leg. whatever this creature was, it was too small to through lattice, but could get through a slightly larger than lattice hole. or longer than that, i suppose. it was able to fit through spaces that were very long. i was thinking maybe a raccoon? something with very long arms, which might be why it couldn't actually get to the middle of the cage or under the deck, but was able to reach down the "tunnel" the board made?
also, super impressed with this turkey!!! it's going to be hard to kill it in 6 months ha!