So here's my story, and it's a weird one at that. A few days ago (probably Saturday) one of my chickens disappeared, I noticed she wasn't around on Sunday and couldn't remember seeing her the day before either. I look for feathers or a sign of a struggle and find nothing, not one feather. Yesterday I get home and I find a rooster near my coop. I don't have a rooster and didn't know what to do. I gathered up my hens, as was being a little frisky, and promptly put them in the coop. (All my chickens free range all day) He then tried to mate with my pullets who haven't started laying yet and are only a few months old. He ripped feathers from both groups, hens and pullets, and tried to mount them. I wasn't as mad about the hens but once he started touching the smaller ones I got mad. I tried to put the little ones in their coop but when I tried to pick one up the rooster ran at me, big mistake. I cornered him in the little chicken coop and wearing my armor, paintball mask, winter coat and winter gloves, put him in a trash can and waited for my friend to come by and take him to his grandmother. I checked with my closest neighbor who owns chickens and he didn't belong to them so I didn't just give him away without trying. (Those neighbors are the only ones within a mile that one chickens). Now back on topic, I come home today and realize I'm missing another one. Now I know something is up. At first I thought it was a person taking them because I got a rooster, kind of like a trade, but now I know it was an animal. I found a trail of feathers in my driveway leading into the woods. I followed them and found several spots with large concentrations of feathers, like he stopped there and ripped them off. Both incidents occurred during the day, the second one being probably around 1 or 2pm. I don't think it was a weasel as I was able to find feathers 55-60 feet away from the first feather. Any suggestions? The reason I included the rooster is I was wondering if a pet got the first one and wanted to try to apologize anonymously. I'm not sure. If you have an idea what animal it is please suggest a bait for a trap so my chickens can roam in safety again.The feathers are concentrated on the right of the picture and the left center near the first line of plants.
Help Identifying Predator; Two Taken (Pics Included)
*Update* It has taken 3, I did a head count and I am missing two hens and a pullet.
It is probably a fox but could be a coyote. They are known to carry the chickens off and hunt during the day. Your remaining chickens are no longer safe out of the coop and run. A pattern has been established by the predator feeding off your flock. Unless you can remove the predator they will continue to take the chickens till all are gone. Another remedy would be electric fence or electric poultry netting. This would be my choice as there will always be something trying to get a chicken dinner. The electric fencing is not too expensive and is easily repositioned to give the flock fresh grazing.
I had the exact same thing happen. Can you get a game camera?
My poor hens are no longer free-ranging, at least until I can figure out what to do about the fox situation.
Dogs will leave a similar pattern of torn out clumps of feathers. But with 3 taken on separate occasions, my money is on fox or coyote.
I've lost 60 chickens (all ages) to the same predator--FOX in 3 week! I now am training 2 dogs to keep the fox at bay. I've lost 2 juveniles in the last 2 weeks because they wandered into the "death" zone. I've been vigilant about looking out for it. They are very crafty. Mine was visiting between Noon and 4:30 PM every day. If I shot at it and set the dog to chase it from one area, within 30 minutes it was trying to attack from another area, and so on and so forth. It's taken 3 weeks of vigilance, dogs and a rifle to frustrate the hell out of it. I can tell you that it changed it's time on me in the last week...it now comes around between 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM. Pattern change. Unfortunately, my neighbor has a whole mess of dock growing in her "pastures" and it can easily elude. I wish you luck--dogs work great once they get the hang of it.
Would it be safe to assume that when/if I get the fox that it is safe for my chickens to go out again? I haven't had any problems until now from when I started in September.
- Veggie Chick
I had the same clumps of feathers in my yard last week and finally saw the culprit after losing four girls. Mine was/is a fox. Everyone is in a run behind electric wire for now until I figure out what to do. No time to train a dog. The run is huge but no grass so I am throwing sod in every day (cut from an area I am trying to make into a garden. Tried trapping Ms. Fox but I keep getting skunks. I am hoping Ms. Fox and probable babies move on once they realize the buffet is closed?