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What killed my chickens?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

We got three full adult bantham hens last fall, and have ordered day-old chicks to arrive in about a month. Everything has gone along fine until today, when we found one hen dead in the enclosed chicken yard, and one dead inside the coop (small chicken door was open to the enclosed chicken yard. We have a fine-guage 4-ft fence around the yard, and poultry netting overhead. I found where the netting had been pulled away from one corner...so something climbed in, killed the chickens, and then left. The chickens weren't eaten except for one had been chomped in the rear, and a half-formed egg was found next to her. What does that and then climbs back out the same hole it climbed in...and in broad daylight? It would have been about 5 pm on a bright, sunny day. Any ideas?

post #2 of 21

First of all, welcome-byc.

Maybe a possum? Small rodent?  I don't know my predators well at all, but it doesn't seem like a coon, raptor, or big mammal did it.  Sorry hmm

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post #3 of 21

Could have been a coon which ran off when it heard you coming. If so, It'll come back for the other.
I can't imagine a possum figuring out how to pull a net off. A 'coon during the day, though? I dunno.

post #4 of 21

How big was the space that was pulled open? Could have been a mink or weasel. They will suck the blood from your chickens.


Edited by bobbi-j - 3/22/10 at 8:54pm

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 #5 of 21

Did you see any tracks?

1 Barred Rock Roo, 2 BR Hens, 2 Rhode Island Red Hens, 1 Jersey Black Giant Hen, and 1 Blue Ameraucana Hen, with the addition of 4 new pullet chicks born on 3/2/10: 1 Buff Orpington, 1 White Rock, and 2 Golden Comets
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1 Barred Rock Roo, 2 BR Hens, 2 Rhode Island Red Hens, 1 Jersey Black Giant Hen, and 1 Blue Ameraucana Hen, with the addition of 4 new pullet chicks born on 3/2/10: 1 Buff Orpington, 1 White Rock, and 2 Golden Comets
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post #6 of 21

Where are you located?  Different areas have different predators.

Rufus

post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbi-j 

How big was the space that was pulled open? Could have been a mink or weasel. They will suck the blood from your chickens.


Sucking blood is an old wives tale but they will kill chickens.

You might not be able to keep a bird from landing on your head but you can keep it from building a nest.

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You might not be able to keep a bird from landing on your head but you can keep it from building a nest.

"My doctor says that I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes."
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post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 

I'm in Nebraska. The netting was pulled up in the corner where my husband had bunched it, but evidently missed tying it down very well to the fencing. I think anything very big would have crunched the fencing a bit so the weasel idea is a possibility. It's impossible to say about tracks. We live just outside town and there are a number of neighborhood dogs (hunting dogs) that love to come over and visit OUR little Golden Retriever so there are tracks all over the place. She has been naughty about running off, she she was inside all day, or on a leash. One of the hunting dogs was over...the only other thing I can think is that the gate got left open, although my son who found the chickens insists it was shut and latched. I just don't want it to happen again with our new birds.

post #9 of 21

I had a weasel get into my coop and kill several chickens at one time. It didn't eat anything, just little bite marks on the neck or under the wing. That's why I figured it just sucked or drank the blood from them. Either way, my birds were dead. They don't need much of a hole to get into the coop.

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 #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dacjohns 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbi-j 

How big was the space that was pulled open? Could have been a mink or weasel. They will suck the blood from your chickens.


Sucking blood is an old wives tale but they will kill chickens.


Sucking blood is NOT an old wives tale.  I thought it was an old wives tale too until my friend showed me this website.

A quote from the united wildlife.com/AnimalsWeasel.

Occasionally weasels raid poultry houses at night and kill or injure domestic fowl. They feed on the warm blood of victims bitten in the head or neck. Rat predation on poultry usually differs in that portions of the body may be eaten and carcasses dragged into holes or concealed locations.

I had to see it to believe it!

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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.  ~ Anonymous

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