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What is killing my hens?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Last wk we lost one of our hens. We have no idea what happened and cannot find it. We had let them out to free range as we live on a farm. Also we have 2 cats.

One night last wk as I was checking on them before dark I saw a young possum walking along the fence. I forgot to mention that we do have a rooster too who is just now coming into his own. 

Then yesterday my hubby checked them early in the morn because it had gotten very cold and wanted to make sure the water was not frozen. All was well. 

Then about noon I looked out and could see something laying on the ground. Hubby goes and checks and one of our hens was dead and had been partially eaten by the cats.

Im not sure if it was the possum family, or the cats or the rooster. My hubby thinks it was the cats. But I think they just came up on it after it was dead and was feasting on it. There were a lot of feathers in the corner of the coop and I could tell it happened there in the corner. 

So what do you all think? Cats, rooster or possums? I dont' think a possum would have killed it and left it laying there. 

My guess is the rooster but so far he seems cool and calm. (We had another one that was so mean I had to get a badmitton racket to even step out the back door.) This one has not been aggressive towards us so far but as I said he is just now starting to crow and be a rooster so to speak. 

What are you opinions please?

post #2 of 22

:welcome sorry for the losses.  It's very unlikely that the rooster is responsible.  My gut says an aerial predator, but it could be any of a number of predators -

Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.

Celebrating the fourth quarter of my first century.

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Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.

Celebrating the fourth quarter of my first century.

Reply
post #3 of 22

Pen birds up.  Place carcass remains in live-trap at location you found carcass.  If predator not a bird you likely catch it after night.

 

It is helps to know when kill happened.  Next round pics of carcass on kill site needed.

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 

The coop is covered on the top. This one was in the coop. The one we lost last wk was not.I am so puzzled about this. I don't think it was the cats. Just would like to know what did it.

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

The cats can get in the pen so wouldn't want them caught in a trap. One of them was in the coop eating the dead hen. The other was outside the back door. 

post #6 of 22

Show a picture of kill site in coop.  It is quite possible you have more than one predator operating.  Oppossum will eat hen at kill site.  So will hawk or owl if they can not move it easily.  Raccoon or oppossum can often get into covered run.  Some predators can reach through sides.

post #7 of 22

Cats sometimes do as you describe but not frequently.  How big where chickens that were lost.  If cats, then a larger rooster will likely be able to train them.

post #8 of 22

Lets cats get caught in trap.  They will learn quickly not to go in.  I assume you not using leg hold traps of some sort.

 

 

Even chickens go into live traps.

post #9 of 22

Game Cams will tell you exactly what you are dealing with.

 

 

 

Welcome to BYC!

Married to the old dude. One horse: Thor. One mini horse: Panama Jack. 4 cockatiels:  Nutter Butter, Crystal, Kiki, Marco. 2 parakeets:  The Lemon Drop twins.  1 eccentric peacock:  George. 1 pet terrapin:  Mr. Tuttle. And 14 world famous Jersey Giants hens! Also 1 Black Copper Marans Rooster:  Lying Larry.  2 Black Copper Hens:  Moe, and Curly. Blue Copper Marans rooster:  Son of Steele....

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Married to the old dude. One horse: Thor. One mini horse: Panama Jack. 4 cockatiels:  Nutter Butter, Crystal, Kiki, Marco. 2 parakeets:  The Lemon Drop twins.  1 eccentric peacock:  George. 1 pet terrapin:  Mr. Tuttle. And 14 world famous Jersey Giants hens! Also 1 Black Copper Marans Rooster:  Lying Larry.  2 Black Copper Hens:  Moe, and Curly. Blue Copper Marans rooster:  Son of Steele....

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post #10 of 22

How much does the game cam cost?  I got a set of live traps for $50.  With the cam I am pretty sure I will still need to get the traps to catch the predator.  Chasing down or shooting your oppossum can be done but I do not want to go out several times a night hoping to catch it visiting.

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