2 dead one missing from coop! What animal is killing hens inside Enclosure? Please Help! I have los

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by kritschixs, May 5, 2016.

  1. kritschixs

    kritschixs Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 30, 2014
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    Lost three chickens outta five within 36 hours inside the coop!( I use coop & enclosure interchangeably.) Anyway we used the"dog run" that came with our house,its at the back of yard and turned it into a chicken coop. Basically a 9"x24"- 4 sided fence with concrete floor, built the hen house, then put 4 or 5 sections of chicken wire on the fence to enclosure the coop. I used zip ties to hold the chicken wire tight so no Hawks could squeeze through the top of the enclosure. When we built the hen house we added locks to the nest box door & the door I use to access house easily. The hen door does not have a lock but opens up & down on a pulley.I had it opened so the hens can come & go as pleased. Wished they had ran inside it to escape! I live in central/northern Illinois. country but I live in town.

    At 4pm only 3 hens greet me. odd, I noticed a hen is missing, the other hen murdered in the back of the coop. Hens neck looked naked, meat missing from side, obvious predator attack!
    But how did the predator take a chicken? It didn't drag it away, it had to of taken the hen from the top of the fence. I did notice one spot where there's a space it could have fit through. Somehow it squeezed the 5lb prey through a very small opening on top. So I removed the carcass & while cleaning up I saw a hawk circling overhead.Then I got metal wire to wrap it around the chicken wire/ top of the fence, leaving no space for a hawk to fly in. No way was a hawk getting inside now!


    The remaining 3 hens seemed fine, gave em some treats & wondered the yard. I put them back into the enclosure around 6pm. I look up some info online & start to worry. We grab flashlights & checked on coop. One hen was walking the front fence, squawking loudly, frightened. I knew something had been inside. The barred rock was lying dead under the hen house . Now another hen victim! The other Hen was in the house. What is coming in, likely evening/ night that can climb a 6ft fence, and sneaks a 5lb bird over that fence? left bigger hens behind.

    After finding the 3rd victim tonight around 10pm, I put the remaining two hens in the house and shut their door & checked locks. I still have to dispose of the hen, in the morning[​IMG]

    I will look for footprints since its been rainy & try to check the carcass for more clues as to whats getting in. Im just baffled & feel violated. We were getting almost a dozen of eggs every 2 days. dman

    Any help is appreciated!

    update from last night. Its a raccoon, I think. no weasels in town. My neighbor showed me two legs with the bone attached, in his yard. As I was cleaning up his yard I found the rest of the carcass 10-20feet up the tree. The other hens head was ripped off and eaten, the skull left behind. . I do see where the coon pulled back the wire from the fence.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2016
  2. mimsy

    mimsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Could be a weasel, a raccoon, mink, martins-any of those can scale a high fence.

    If a Weasel, they are tiny and can get into VERY small places. The safest way to fix the issue is to cover the whole thing in 1/4 hardware wire, including the top.

    I'm not sure what you have for a coop, by your description, but if the coop itself is secure (all windows and vents are covered in hardware cloth) I would make sure they are all in it and it's shut for the evening till you can make some security changes.
     
  3. bigoledude

    bigoledude Chillin' With My Peeps

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    SE, Louisiana
    I know you've probably read a bunch on the possibilities. Your situation is very similar to hundreds and hundreds of posts here. Many predators kill in the same way at times. It is nearly impossible to determine what killed your chickens based on the few facts that you have.

    It is true a weasel can fit through the smallest gap imaginable. But, he can't drag a chicken through that small gap. You had a hole in your defenses big enough for a dead hen to fit through. That is definitely something you need to address.

    Whatever got your birds is most likely gonna return. You probably read the drill here. Hardware cloth. No gaps. Game cam to absolutely identify the killer. Electric wire in appropriate places. Trap and kill this killer. Choose one or all of these measures to aid you in stopping the carnage.

    I am never satisfied until I know who/what the culprit is! You can find great deals on trail cameras on ebay. Here is one that is not expensive at all. If you can wait, they do have them cheaper at times

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Primos-6305...464095?hash=item464d69675f:g:yCUAAOSw2GlXJ4pN

    It wouldn't take many dead chickens to justify the cost of the camera when you consider chicks, feed, eggs and not to mention the time invested.

    You've gotta take some defensive measures or quit raising chickens.
    .
     
  4. kritschixs

    kritschixs Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 30, 2014
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    After I read your response, I realized I did Not use hardwire on the top! I used hardwire for the house windows. We bought both kinds of chicken wire because we built a temp coop for the garage when they were younger. That's what you get for being cheap! Im going to buy more hardwire cloth today and redo the top of the coop. The other two hens stayed safe overnight in the house. Im going to be closing their door from now on.
     
  5. kritschixs

    kritschixs Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 30, 2014
    Small town, Illinois
    any idea how to deter raccoons from coop? I don't have a trap
     
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Electric fence is a good, fairly inexpensive deterrent. I would put several strands up, starting at about 2-4" off the ground, then 4-6" between the next few. It's not hard to put up, and works great. We do that with our sweetcorn. The lowest strand is for the rabbits. The next two are for raccoons, and the next two are for the deer. The top strand is about 36" or more off the ground.

    I wouldn't encourage trapping unless you plan on permanently eliminating the predator.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2016
  7. bigoledude

    bigoledude Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Trap and kill this killer!
     
  8. kritschixs

    kritschixs Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 30, 2014
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    To end this story, it was a vicious raccoon. I had used chicken wire on the top of the enclosure. Now when the hen goes inside her house, I close her door & remove the stairs. I also replaced the top with hardwire cloth. I used 16 gauge wire to hold the seams together. Havent had a problem since.
    Thanks to all who responded!
     
  9. bigoledude

    bigoledude Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What became of the vicious coon?
     
  10. kritschixs

    kritschixs Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 30, 2014
    Small town, Illinois
    Coons are still out there, but did not nor will not get to my hens! I had one hen out of five left when I put in the hardware cloth over the top of the enclosure. BTW, we used an old 8ft by 26ft long dog run the previous owner installed behind our garage for our enclosure. We waited a month to make sure she would be safe before buying anymore pullets. I got five new pullets on June 5th and now all of em are in the backyard together. They have been safe ever since. Funny story after this incident...

    One day I was outside grilling, not chicken, and this huge raccoon comes into my yard through the bottom opening of the wooden fence (around yard) Anyway, I scream, "how DARE you come into THIS backyard" and started chasing it with the spray bottle I had in my hand! My husband races outside, "who are you screaming at?" HAHAHA I haven't seen a coon since!
     

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