Okay, I am truly perplexed at the moment. I have 28 6 week old chicks right now. Tonight at about 7:45-8:00 it was starting to get dark and I was getting them in. I had one little Turken hen and an Delaware hen still out. I was in the coop which is a 10x10 dog kennel with a roof and chicken wire over the chain link so I can see right in or out. I literally had just filled up the feed, and sat there water down it took approximately 45-60 seconds. I then went out to get her and she was gone. What could have gotten her? What I mean to say what would have been so bold to come up with a person not 25 feet away? It's pretty open and there isn't a lot of hiding places. I thought that since it was getting dark she may have hunkered down somewhere. I really don't think that because my wife and I have scoured around and looked everywhere. Also, they really don't get very far from the coop. They come running to the door when I come in. I know she's not hunkered down somewhere, but now i don't know what it could be. Any ideas on something that could have gotten her? The facts are it was about dark when it happened and she didn't make a sound. I don't think fox or raccoon because I think I would've saw them and foxes especially seem to not come around people. Could it have been an Owl or Hawk? Or worse yet a snake. I am terrified if it is a snake because I don't know what I could do to keep it away. Has this happened to any of you all. I am pretty new here and I don't want my little flock to get pulled off one by one. I will stay out there all night if I have to. Any body know how to stop a snake if that is what it is. Any advice or ideas as to what it could be would be great. I know this may sound silly but I am really attached to my little chicks as you all are too, and I want to protect them. Please help the new guy out with any ideas or similar stories.
To not make a sound, it would have to be something pretty big. I think you'd have heard/found signs of a struggle if it were a snake.
Hawks aren't usually dusk/night hunters but owls are. A hungry fox would be able to slip in and grab one and so many animals are becoming less frightened of humans because of human encroachment on their territory - there are coyotes that are living in cities here in TX and come into neighborhood yards to snatch cats/small dogs. Do you have coyotes in your area? All it takes is second for you not to have your eyes on that chicken, which is enough time for a hungry animal.
Whatever you have, it's waiting for the right time to snatch a chicken. If you don't have your chickens in a coop with 4 solid walls and small mesh hardware cloth over ventilation holes/windows, they are at high risk for being eaten. I would also recommend a protected run as well. Now that something know you have a buffet for them, it probably won't be the last time they come around.
That's what I am afraid of. The only way that something could get in the coop is by digging under which I know that could happen. I don't think it was Coyote because I have only seen 1 i the last six years I have been here. The fox thing scares me a little bit because I know he could dig under. Could've been an owl, and if I am not mistaken they only really come out at night time right? I am not letting them out for a few more days in case it is waiting. If it was an owl maybe I can get the chickens in a few minutes earlier.
Owls are generally dusk/night hunters. Although we have owls here that have come and perched on the barn to do some hunting in the early morning before even though the sun was up.
For digging foxes/dogs - burying wire in the ground about a foot will help deter that. A hot wire around the bottom of the area is helpful too.
Thanks, I fenced in and built a large lot for the chickens to roam in. I will also have my Great Dane in a fence that is outside of the Chickens 65x100 lot. He is about 160lbs so I hope that would deter any fox that would scale his fence to then scale the chickens fence. Thanks for your advice. I was out there shining the light in the trees to see if I could see anything. No luck but hopefully I will not have to experience this again!