3 dead chickens, only 1 left

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by shadygrove, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. shadygrove

    shadygrove Hatching

    Feb 17, 2008
    Hi all,

    I am brand new to this forum. I inherited 4 lovely 3-4 year old araucanas when we bought our little farm this past summer. I am new to the world of chickens and have loved every minute of it.

    Yesterday morning we went out to feed horses and chickens and discovered 1 dead in the chicken run, eaten where it was killed just outside the coop. We could not figure out how anything got into the area - we have a 6' high chainlink fence surrounding the coop, fully roofed with extra chicken wire fencing covering all gaps everywhere except for 3-5" gaps at the roof line which we will now cover up. Our coop area is completely surrounded by 7' high deerproof fencing, it actually looks like a compound.

    This morning, we had one dead chicken on her nest, eaten, and another dead chicken not eaten on the floor of the coop.

    (1) Socially/emotionally - do I need to worry about my one remaining chicken? Besides the obvious eminent physical threat, of course.

    (2) What in the WORLD could be scaling not one but two wire fences with no assistance, killing and eating but not attempting to remove the carcassess, and subsequently scaling the fences again to get back out. All of this while squeezing through a VERY tiny gap from what we can tell.

    Please let me know what you think, I am very worried about our remaining lovely lady and want to protect and preserve her.

    Thank you for your help!

    Also - I am located in central North Carolina if anyone has particular insight regarding local predators.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008
  2. Littlecimarron18

    Littlecimarron18 Songster

    Jan 3, 2008
    Where i am at we have skunks and weasles which will do ANYTHING to get to a chicken, they can squeeze themselves through just about any gap. Also if the hole is big enough a raccoon would be able to climb the fence. If it is a skunk i can send you some trapping info.
  3. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    Oh... Shannon, I'm so so sorry. That is awful. :aww

    Gosh, it could be anything. Coon, bobcat, house cat, opossum. What do you know of that is in your area? Check to make sure nothing dug under the fence, too. That could be a coyote.
    For your remaining girl, she is probably very very stressed from her ordeal. Poor thing. Whatever came the past two nights will be back for her. Do you have someplace in the house you can keep her until you are certain your run and coop is 100% safe?
    And, as I'm sure you know, chickens are flock animals and your remaining girl (besides being scared and in shock) is lonely. Once your coop is totally secure, you should get her at least one friend.
    Someone here will be able to help you trap whatever it is that did this. Whether you SSS (shoot, shovel, shut up) or relocate, whatever did this needs to be removed!
  4. Flufnstuffs~FluffySilkies

    Flufnstuffs~FluffySilkies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Yes - Your remaining chicken will almost certantly be killed tonight.
    Once a preditor finds an easy food source he will be back until it is depleated.

    MY GUESS IS A MINK OR WEASLE they can go/squeeze threw the wire like it is not even there. You will need to move your remaining bird before dark and if you have a live trap you need to set it with something STINKY like sardens or tuna.

    I would also stop by the store and buy a RAT trap they are much biger than a mouse trap and may work.

    These are sneaky animals GOOD LUCK

    Oh and Welcome to BYC
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008
  5. hypnofrogstevie

    hypnofrogstevie chick magnet

    Jul 12, 2007
    Newton NJ
    If you can please bring her in and trap that sucker.
  6. StoneEchoChick

    StoneEchoChick In the Brooder

    Feb 15, 2008
    Hello Shady,

    What type of building are they in? Could something be getting inside through the floor, roof or walls of the building?

    Our first year of chickening...(if chickening is not a word it should be [​IMG] ) we started with 12 and dwindled no matter what we tried, down to 1. Fox, bobcat, Coyote, and other birds of prey were smarter than we were. We did get down to one chicken. The kids called the one remaining Hanibell (a female version of silence of the lambs) they were sure she really ate the other chickens...

    Our one chicken did ok on her own for a whole season, until we got 23 new friends for her (and a boyfriend to boot!)
    It took time to acclimate the new birds with the old but with time and patience it worked and she's a happy old girl now.
    Good luck with your one girl and I hope you're able to locate the problem.
  7. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    I have witnessed a weasel go right through my chain link like it wasnt even there. After that, girl go away at night!

    Sorry for your loss.

    PS....and I watched a possum very easily go right up and over 6ft high chain link....not to eat my chickens, but to get the eggs. I caught him after many nights of this!
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008
  8. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    *Geez, that's AWFUL!! Poor babies & all of you!! Bring chickee IN awhile. She'll feel better with you CLOSE. *PUT HER IN THE TUB IF YOU HAVE NO WHERE ELSE, with a towel in the bottom so she doesn't slip. IT WORKS! & IS EASY TO CLEAN UP. o.k.?? AND THEN, you can concentrate on catching the bad guy!!
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008
  9. shadygrove

    shadygrove Hatching

    Feb 17, 2008
    Thank you all so very much. I am going to put her in our tack room in the barn for at least the next few nights, and we will work to fence up/seal any gaps we can find no matter how small.

    And get her a friend. About that - since it will likely be one chicken being introduced to another chicken, is it as complicated as it is when you are introducing one to a whole flock? Will they fight each other if I do not appropriately acclimate the new chicken?

    There are no holes under the fence or into the chicken run that we can tell at all, and none of the wiring is even bent out of place that we can tell.

    We just can't figure out what this can be in order to figure how how to trap or kill it. I was hoping we could figure this out based on the way it was killing, but I can't find any patterns that make sense for something that is either very small and slipping through chain link or is a creative climber.
  10. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    I just went through this...see the post...Its a MINK! in predators.
    A mink can squeeze through a 1 inch hole. Is there a bad small in there? Like a cat..or skunky type smell? THATS how I knew it was a mink. Boy do they smell...and they WILL come back untill all chickens are gone. I set out traps as well....fish...sardines...canned cat food...nothing tempted it to go in the traps. Finally I cornered it in the coop....and shot it but after it already killed 4 chickens. I sure hope you can get that critter, whatever it is. I dont think a tack room will be safe enough for your remaining hen. Do you have a large dog crate? You can possible set her in the house, or garage? She is not safe...untill you catch/kill that predator. Im so sorry you lost your others.....its hard seeing them dead. What a shame. Good luck...I hope to read that you got it!!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: