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What's killing my chickens!?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Lost two hens in two days, both the young girls that were just coming into laying.  I'm ******, I spent money on them as pullets last October and had barely just started getting eggs out of them after the long winter!

 

Evidence so far:

 

Attack happened quickly, in broad daylight.  One while I was at work yesterday and the other this morning after I let them out of the coop.  No one saw or heard anything both times.

Killed the chickens but didn't eat them or take the bodies.  Ripped out feathers.

Found a spot under the outside fence the lines the alley where it looked like something dug under the fence.  Filled it in with rocks.  Not very large or deep.

I live in the middle of the city, no large ground based predators in the area.

 

Currently suspect this is canine work of the domestic variety.  Suspect is a neighbors unruly pitbull mix, he's not trained or supervised when let out at all.  Other possibility is other neighbor's rat terrier/jack russle mix.  The dug out whole was very shallow so it wouldn't have been enough to allow a large dog under.

 

We've made attempts to resecure the run and husband is now doing regular checks.  I'm going to start letting them out later in the day as well.

 

Thoughts?  Ideas?

post #2 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizardlicks View Post
 

Lost two hens in two days, both the young girls that were just coming into laying.  I'm ******, I spent money on them as pullets last October and had barely just started getting eggs out of them after the long winter!

 

Evidence so far:

 

Attack happened quickly, in broad daylight.  One while I was at work yesterday and the other this morning after I let them out of the coop.  No one saw or heard anything both times.

Killed the chickens but didn't eat them or take the bodies.  Ripped out feathers.

Found a spot under the outside fence the lines the alley where it looked like something dug under the fence.  Filled it in with rocks.  Not very large or deep.

I live in the middle of the city, no large ground based predators in the area.

 

Currently suspect this is canine work of the domestic variety.  Suspect is a neighbors unruly pitbull mix, he's not trained or supervised when let out at all.  Other possibility is other neighbor's rat terrier/jack russle mix.  The dug out whole was very shallow so it wouldn't have been enough to allow a large dog under.

 

We've made attempts to resecure the run and husband is now doing regular checks.  I'm going to start letting them out later in the day as well.

 

Thoughts?  Ideas?


Just thinking out loud.  How many hens were out altogether?  If a neighbor's dog and there were several out, I would expect squawking and barking.  Plus if the dog were killing for fun, I wouldn't expect him to stop at one.

   By any chance was there what looked like a pile or explosion of feathers on the ground?  If so you could have a rapture such as a hawk at work.

post #3 of 20

Were there visible wounds and/or bite marks on the carcasses?  Were the feathers wet or matted as though they had been wet? 

As to the "no large ground predator" assertion - I would challenge you to rethink that.  You'd be amazed by the amount of large "wildlife" species that exist in your back yard - everything from skunks/raccoons to coyotes, etc are regularly spotted in the middle of large cities.  That being said, the fact that these attacks were in the daylight do point back towards other suspects.

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post #4 of 20
The attack sounds like a domestic dog or cat. The hole leads me to believe a dog is probably responsible. A dog can squeeze through a much much smaller hole than you would probably think it could. Did the attack on your chickens happen in an enclosed run or inside your yard?
post #5 of 20

Sounds like dogs to me. We have had four chickens get killed by dogs, and it was like what happened to you- broad daylight, killed without even taking the body.

The LORD is my Light and my Salvation, so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my Fortress, protecting me from danger.
Psalm 27:1

1 Black Australorp, 2 Amberlinks, 1 barred rock, 1 EE mix, 1 Dom mix, 1 BSL
Flock Page: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/our-chickens-under-construction
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The LORD is my Light and my Salvation, so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my Fortress, protecting me from danger.
Psalm 27:1

1 Black Australorp, 2 Amberlinks, 1 barred rock, 1 EE mix, 1 Dom mix, 1 BSL
Flock Page: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/our-chickens-under-construction
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post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 

Problem: it has been raining not stop here, so EVERYTHING was wet.  Two, there was a feather explosion... under the covered part of the coup, and the other the big wild rose bush where an aerial predator would not be able to reach.  It wasn't a snatch and grab, both corpses where in the run or just outside of it, and the one where it was outside there was an obvious feather trail leading to the dug part under the fence.  Both attacks happened in the run proper, not out in the yard.  Barking noises wouldn't have alerted us as... we also have a dog.  As do most of our neighbors.  Dogs are barking all dang day.  Daylight attack is also why I ruled out things like skunk, possum and raccoon.

post #7 of 20
All of those animals can and will come out during the day. I still think it sounds like a dog. Especially with pulling a chicken back out through the hole and not eating either one. You can put game cameras up. You can try putting metal stakes or rebar in the ground. You can try putting concrete tiles like large stepping stones around the outside of your run. You could put a "hot wire" around the outside of your coop and run.
post #8 of 20

My vote is for the hot wire.   You'll know when they touch it.

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post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks.  I will stop by in the country store and see what they have in the morning.  

 

It got one of my EEs Aubrey just after sunset.  This time body was warm when we found it.  Head and feathers over the breast are missing so I'm adding raccoon to the list. Found Blue and took her inside, Zeb and Rose are missing but if they found someplace safe for the night and bedded down there's too many possible hiding places for me to find them while it's dark.  I'll ask the neighbor across the street who also has chickens if any of hers have gone missing.  We have a lot in the neighborhood so if there's a 'coon on the loose we might be able to find it and stop it.  Dog will be harder, because we'd have to find the owner and prove it was their dog, but with a dog I at least have a possibility of recouping damages.

post #10 of 20
I would recommend buying a game camera also. You don't need anything expensive and they can be purchased for as cheap as $20. Then you can see if something tries to get in.
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