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Mystery

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
So the past two months we've lost 4 chickens to "something" They are free range, locked in coop at night, out in morning just after sunrise, all kills except 1 incident(x2 dead) were single kils. Found out in the open, most discovered between opening the coop in morning to about mid day, small puncture wounds to upper neck area. Two birds had feathers pulled from body but that could have been subsequent to the kill after having been sitting out until discovered.1 additional chicken was "mortally wounded" from an attack, it's crop and upper chest area was exposed but still alive, had to put her down. None of the birds had any meat eaten from bodies. They share the barnyard with 3 doe boer goats so doubt anything large is killing the chickens as it is not bothering the goats. We live in central Texas.
post #2 of 15
I have no idea what it could be, it will keep coming back until it has wiped out your flock unless you do something to protect them. If you don't have a run to lock them into, I'd suggest building one so you can keep them safe until you get the problem resolved.

Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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post #3 of 15
Any dogs, especially pups?

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

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Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

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post #4 of 15

Small puncture wounds to the neck area had me thinking mink. Don't know if you have those down in Texas, though.

post #5 of 15
I'm thinking most likely mink or weasel. Raccoon's also a vague possibility, although they would take the entire body. The description also fits the lackadaisical hunting habits of an naive domestic cat. Any pictures?
Sorry to hear of your losses. hugs.gif
~Sarah
Edited by HeavensHens88 - 4/17/17 at 8:26am
"Determination is the wave that drowns doubt and the ember that sparks the fire of accomplishments that were once deemed impossible."~ HeavensHens88
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.~ Joshua 1:9
My New Chat Thread- All Welcome!:
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"Determination is the wave that drowns doubt and the ember that sparks the fire of accomplishments that were once deemed impossible."~ HeavensHens88
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.~ Joshua 1:9
My New Chat Thread- All Welcome!:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1155738/heavenshens88s-chat-...
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post #6 of 15

A inexpensive trail cam would take the guessing out of the problem.

Disclaimer:  I have not slept in any hotel recently nor am I a certified web lawyer.  Opinions expressed are by a cowpoke who believes the year is 1868.
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Disclaimer:  I have not slept in any hotel recently nor am I a certified web lawyer.  Opinions expressed are by a cowpoke who believes the year is 1868.
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post #7 of 15

Could the puncture wounds be from a snake? As in rattlesnake?

post #8 of 15
mink, mink, mink. I just got over an ordeal where I lost 16 chickens and a duck. I finally stayed up all night and checked the coop every hour u till I caught the thing red handed, I quickly ended it. mink kill quickly and easily with a bite to the neck vertebrae. he will wipe you out if you don't act quickly.
post #9 of 15

I agree that bites to the back of the neck (and sometimes puncture marks beneath the wings) are the signature of a mink / weasel and some of the cousins. But they normally operate at night, and often kill everything in sight. That didn't seem to happen here.

 

My best guess is something killed them, then of those that were gnawed on they may have been gnawed on by something else. 

post #10 of 15
I actually thought the same thing at first, that one animal was doing the killing and another was dragging away. it turned out that the mink was living under the coop and killing 3 or 4 a night then actually dragging dead birds under during the day. I couldn't trap him because he wanted to kill. I had to wait him out.
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