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What is killing my chickens?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hi All! What in the world is killing my chickens?! When I find them dead, it looks like they've been gutted and dried out like beef jerky. Whatever it is, it has climbed a 6' chain link fence numerous times and just gone about slaughtering my birds!! The other birds killed that weren't in the fence were just sleeping in their normal yard/bush spots. I've had some of these birds for 3 and 4 years in the yard and nothing has ever bothered them since there's a good fence - backed by hog wire - around the perimeter of the house (no dogs or foxes can get in, unless foxes can climb really well).

Now mind you, I know racoons and opposums can climb like monkeys, but a chain link fence - up, over, kill, back up, over?

Please let me know. These birds are my pets and they're being destroyed right in front of my eyes!

Thanks,
Starr
sad

post #2 of 29

Foxes climb...very well.

Havent seen a fox gut a chicken only though but possible. Any tracks? Are the chickens being carried back over and away or left? What area do you live in? Might help narrow down what it is.

post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hi, thanks for your quick response. To answer your questions: I live in Northwest Georgia. The chickens in the chain link fence are gutted and left there, not carried back over and taken away. The ones on the outside are left in place as well. There is much leaf litter on the ground, so investigating tracks is not an option. I've NEVER heard of any type of weasel in our area of Georgia, which seems like something that could slip through the fence then back out, but I think something is climbing the fence, killing, then climbing back over. I really can't figure it out. If it were some type of owl flying in - which in searching the internet I've learned could be a culprit - I would think I would have heard him hooting long by now!

I'm desperate to capture and relocate this killer, but how? I have LOTS of cats and kittens, so If I get a "humane" trap and put grocery store chicken in it, I know the kitties will be the only thing in the trap in the morning!

S

post #4 of 29

I would add netting on the top and hardware cloth on the bottom for starters.

From my expierence, mink and weasel chew the heads off. Most "guttings" are releated to bird of prey so an owl may very well be the culprit. GA has both mink and weasel but both are regionally dispersed from what I understand.

post #5 of 29

you can not  keeep chickens in a coop / run with out a top to the run ,  you can trap the killer all day  and relocate the killer it wont help . chickens are defenceless .
traping i am sorrry to say is useless . the pretitor  , even if it cant get in will pull the birds right threw a 2x4 inch hole pice by pice  even ,preditors cant be stoped  no matter how many u kill  or humanely trap . if it makes u sleep better knowing whats doing it  a good ides is to tie  your least favorite chicken to a string , buy a cheep game camera  with night vision , u can buy them used on ebay or any hunting supply /sporting goods .u will quickly run out of chickens.grey foxare related to the cat family not dog family
if your coop isnice and cozy , any preditor will dine in rather than carry out

there are many books on beginner chickens and keeping chickens out there , keep us posted , good kuck
ps nylon  netting is useless and wont work cattle fencing works well for roof but wont stop mink or preditors like them


Edited by berkeleysprings - 5/12/11 at 3:08am
I have a small closed flock of wheaten Marans since early   2009 my names Randy
Reply
I have a small closed flock of wheaten Marans since early   2009 my names Randy
Reply
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 

Everything everyone has written sounds rational and makes sense, but I'm still not sure exactly what to do. I'm really going to have to think this over and decide if I want any more yard birds. I only put my new chickens in the big pen (the chain link I mentioned) to get them acclimated before I let them out to be free and show off for me. I don't believe in having any animal in a cage, on a chain, or captive in a stall. I've been here on my horse farm for 11 years and haven't seen anything like this. In fact, this has NEVER happened with all the chickens I've had. Granted I've had hawks fly in and get the chicks and chickens (and kittens!) in the daylight, but no night crawler has done this to my pets.

S

post #7 of 29

Im betting an Owl. Some simple bird netting will put an end to it if it indeed is what it is.

You may not like "caging", but if you are going to raise an animal, its your duty to protect it. You arent caging them in, you are giving them an area that should be safe from predators. Mine freerange, but at night they are locked up for thier safety. If I dont do that, they are fair game for foxes, owls, dogs etc. Might as well not raise them if all I am doing is feeding the wildlife.


Edited by Two Creeks Farm - 5/12/11 at 3:33am
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 

You're saying exactly what I don't want to hear - I don't think I should get any more exotics! I can't stand walking out in the morning and find that more of my birds have been slaughtered. An owl does likely.

S

post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by starrj3030 

I don't believe in having any animal in a cage, on a chain, or captive in a stall. I've been here on my horse farm for 11 years and haven't seen anything like this. In fact, this has NEVER happened with all the chickens I've had.


Then you're going to have to get used to loosing chickens to predators.  You've been lucky for 11 years.  Now the predators have finally realized that you have a chicken buffet and they will not stop coming back for an easy meal unless you get rid of the birds or create a predator proof coop at least to protect them, a predator proof run in addition to the coop would be better.  If you choose to free range your birds for all or even just part of the day, then you are going to have to accept the fact that you will eventually loose a few to predators.

A 6' chain link fence is not going to do much more than slow down any chicken predators.  Raccoons, opossum, fox, and even some dogs (I've personally watched some dogs scale a 6' tall wooden privacy fence) won't even break a sweat climbing over a 6' chain link fence and can just as easily climb back out when they're done.  Not saying that any of these are the culprits, just wanted to point out that while your fence is a good fence it is by no means predator proof.

post #10 of 29

i would bet anything you are dealing with a possum or a coon. i had a few of each climb up my barn and crawl throuth the eave of it and slaughter my birds in the same way you described it. they would eat them from the breast and stomach area. needless to say once i figured them out they are no longer a menace to anyone else. with that advice all i can say is good luck and happy hunting

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