1 dead 3 injured

Brenda Jones

Songster
Sep 9, 2020
95
111
103
Upper Eastern Peninsula of Michigan
I don't know exactly what happened, I had 4 Sapphire gems 12 weeks old. I went in to the garage this morning to let the girls out of their coop and found 1 laying dead and the other 3 standing nearby. They have a 2 story coop with the roost area up top and an attached run at the bottom. we keep it in the garage with an access door that opens into a covered larger run. I keep that access closed at night so nothing from the outside can get into their coop. Anyway I usually keep water and the food they have left during the day. Last night I just left the water as they were in the roost area when I got home. would a break in routine cause them to peck each other? The deceased chicken had blood on her head mostly on one side, and one had a very small blood spot on her comb area, another chicken had a blood spot on her toe, and the last one had a bloody area on her leg. I put an antibiotic salve on all the injuries. I could not see any signs that there had been any attack (feathers all over or straw thrown about) and there was no piles of poop up in the roost area like I normally find in the morning. One of their waterers was off the wall and on top of the dead chicken, the other waterer was half off the wall and all of the chickens were wet. Those were the only indications of struggle. My girls have always huddled together/ roosted right up on each other even though there is plenty of space to spread out / they foraged in a group and stayed pretty close to each other since I got them at 1 week old. I have never seen any aggression between them or bullying from any of them. Any thought as to what could have happened? I didn't see any signs of anything that may have gotten into the coop area, but I am going to close off all my ventilation gaps with hardware cloth today. I guess I felt that they were a bit safer since their coop was housed in the garage.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
24,924
37,128
1,122
Colorado Rockies
It sounds like a predator got in, perhaps through the vents, if they aren't covered in screening. Owls are very wily night predators and can fly through narrow slits by folding their wings up as they go through. Even raccoons can figure out how to slip through narrow slits. Rats can run up trees and jump through high windows or vents.

The waterer found on top of the dead chicken would indicate a struggle as you've concluded. It could be from the chickens all fighting, but a giant free-for-all is unlikely. It's far more probable a predator got in.
 

Brenda Jones

Songster
Sep 9, 2020
95
111
103
Upper Eastern Peninsula of Michigan
It sounds like a predator got in, perhaps through the vents, if they aren't covered in screening. Owls are very wily night predators and can fly through narrow slits by folding their wings up as they go through. Even raccoons can figure out how to slip through narrow slits. Rats can run up trees and jump through high windows or vents.

The waterer found on top of the dead chicken would indicate a struggle as you've concluded. It could be from the chickens all fighting, but a giant free-for-all is unlikely. It's far more probable a predator got in.
I am definitely closing off all the ventilation gaps with hardware cloth... that is the only way anything could have gotten in. as the coop is in the garage I don't worry about the larger predators and I have only seen chipmunks and squirrels in the garage, but that doesn't mean that there isn't something else living there.
 

alan dart

In the Brooder
Apr 17, 2020
10
7
31
Does your climate allow for snakes? The visual I’ve got from your description of the crime scene would fit a snake that was interrupted by your other birds.
sorry for your lose.
 

Brenda Jones

Songster
Sep 9, 2020
95
111
103
Upper Eastern Peninsula of Michigan
Might have been a weasel, they squeeze through very tiny openings and cause havoc.

Sorry for your loss.
I have never seen a weasel here, but that doesn't mean they aren't around. My husband and I put hardware cloth around all the ventilation openings around the coop. Two of the girls have pretty bad leg injuries... it looks like the feathers have been ripped out, but I don't see any puncture type wounds or claw or bite marks.
I guess we got too comfortable thinking they were safer with the coop being in the garage
 

LaFleche

Meadow Devil
9 Years
Sep 22, 2012
7,085
25,790
932
Germany
I have never seen a weasel here, but that doesn't mean they aren't around. My husband and I put hardware cloth around all the ventilation openings around the coop. Two of the girls have pretty bad leg injuries... it looks like the feathers have been ripped out, but I don't see any puncture type wounds or claw or bite marks.
I guess we got too comfortable thinking they were safer with the coop being in the garage
Make sure to use small meshed hardware cloth for covering the vents and other openings.

Weasels are very cute looking, tiny but ferocious vermin, often underestimated: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weasel
 

LaFleche

Meadow Devil
9 Years
Sep 22, 2012
7,085
25,790
932
Germany
I have never seen a weasel here, but that doesn't mean they aren't around. My husband and I put hardware cloth around all the ventilation openings around the coop. Two of the girls have pretty bad leg injuries... it looks like the feathers have been ripped out, but I don't see any puncture type wounds or claw or bite marks.
I guess we got too comfortable thinking they were safer with the coop being in the garage
Keep a close eye on their lesions and after disinfecting apply triple antibiotic ointment or Blue Kote Spray.
 

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