3 hens and 1 roo dead and partially eaten

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by TammyTX, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. TammyTX

    TammyTX Overrun With Chickens

    2,064
    141
    258
    Feb 16, 2009
    Texas
    Last night after the football game, I realized that I had left the chicken coop door open. Before I got out of the car I saw a dark animal, about the size of a medium dog, but wider, run in the shadows away from the coop! I checked and whatever it was only ate a few eggs. So, I closed up the coop, latched it and went inside. It was about 10:30pm.

    This afternoon I went to let the chickens forage in the yard, and I found one dead hen partially eaten on the coop floor, that was not there last night. Then as I looked around for clues in the chicken's fenced (50x50) yard, I found another partially eaten hen and roo (this was a LARGE black Jersey Giant roo). THEN, as I walked around investigating further, I found the skeletal remains of another hen, and there was NOTHING (not even entrails) left except for her intact head/neck, which I found in the coop run. (**I just came back in and found another hen, totally eaten remains...only the pelvis and one partial wing left...no innards, not even a head.) It looks like I'm still missing about three that I haven't found any trace of.

    It had to be something that climbed over the five foot high fence into the chicken yard, then found its way into the narrow opening of the chicken run, THEN found the chicken size door to the coop.

    Could a large raccoon have done this? A bobcat..? ....would they eat eggs? I would have thought a coyote except there was no damage to the fence. Chupacabra? (jk...except that I AM in Texas....! [​IMG])

    Due to the conditions of the bodies, and the fact that fireants had only swarmed one hen, I am thinking the attack took place early this morning between 4:00-7:00am. I checked the dirt for tracks...nada.

    I locked the chickens in the coop for the night and we just came in from setting the live trap. I shut up the chicken yard, but left the coop run door open, just like last night. The coop itself is secure. So whatever managed to get to the chickens last night will have to do the same thing tonight, and hopefully, when it sees it can't get into the coop, it'll go after the tuna can in the trap.
     
  2. citychickx6

    citychickx6 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,045
    21
    151
    May 14, 2011
    Loveland
    Raccoon. I do believe that you have them.
    When I had ducks I lost a couple like that. It was a raccoon. I saw it in the act and dang they can be fast. It got out of range before I could get the gun loaded. ( Guess I should not have yelled at it )
    I have one trying for my hens now. I have a very secure coop and hopefully we beefed up the run door enough. [​IMG]
    Live trap is effective and tuna is a good bait. Canned cat food works well also.
    Any plans on what to do once you catch it?
    What can you do to make the run area more secure?
    Myself if I find it is still trying I will run a hot wire around the run top middle and bottom. Door will get wired too.
    We are in town now so I cannot shoot the vermin.
    Raccoons are difficult to get rid of. They are smart and can open latches. 50x50 would be hard to put a lid on. I am thinking you may need to hot wire the run or make it smaller so you can lid it.
    How many chickens do you have?
     
  3. TammyTX

    TammyTX Overrun With Chickens

    2,064
    141
    258
    Feb 16, 2009
    Texas
    Quote:If it is a raccoon, and I think you're right, it is a BIG raccoon.

    We are locked and loaded and will dispose of it. Just checked the trap and nothing yet.

    The only thing I can do to keep the coop more secure is be here every night when they roost, and then open them up every morning...and that's impossible. The reason we fenced off the 50x50 was to keep them safe during the day when we are not there. We let them out in the afternoon to free range the acreage.

    I like the idea of a hot wire. That is probably the easiest and most effective thing I can do. Thanks for the idea!

    We are down to 18 now. I had lost 4 (I'm in central TX and the heat has been horrid this year) which put me at 27 and now I'm down to 18.
     
  4. citychickx6

    citychickx6 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,045
    21
    151
    May 14, 2011
    Loveland
    I think the hot wire will help you most since the run is large.
    The heat in TX this year OMG. Sorry you have lost some.
     
  5. TammyTX

    TammyTX Overrun With Chickens

    2,064
    141
    258
    Feb 16, 2009
    Texas
    ....another dead hen last night, this time coop was shut up, barring anything of much size getting in into the coop. Nothing in the live trap. BUT, we did see a 'possum outside of the coop last night.

    I know they are mean little vermin, but could of all of this damage be from a POSSUM ??? At least six dead chickens, all either partially eaten or fully devored...especially the guts...a possum?
     
  6. JD4570

    JD4570 Chillin' With My Peeps

    If it's a coon it will have to be over 30 pounds to do that kind of damage! I killed one just over 36 pounds awhile back and it had killed 11 chickens in one night. Bait the trap with dry cat food. I know you might catch a cat but if you do just roll the trap on its' side then upright and release it. It will not go in the trap again. I hope you catch the bugger! By the way a large coon can pull off tin, wire or go through chicken wire. If you see that possum again get rid of him too! They're sneaky and nasty buggers.
     
  7. flyjam1979

    flyjam1979 Out Of The Brooder

    48
    1
    24
    Oct 9, 2011
    flyjam is thinking maybe hubby will have to sleep on couch from now on, must tuck my precious few chickens in bed with me for the night...................to keep em from the chicken eating critters.........nah too extreme just have to boot one of the kids outta there room and let the chickens roost in there at night..........lol j/k it's a thought tho
     
  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    83,561
    11,941
    816
    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    alot of people say raccoons really go for marshmellows - if you bait with that it won't attract cats
     
  9. KandiandJerry

    KandiandJerry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:This one really works......[​IMG]
     
  10. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,450
    272
    246
    Jun 4, 2011
    I think coons will go for most anything as bait. But, you have to attract them over the tasty chickens they know are there.

    I close the coop every night and open it every morning. Some nights it gets closed at about 7-8PM (they're going to bed early these days), other nights it might be 10PM or later. In the morning, I open at 6am before I go to work. Except weekends, when I tend to sleep in as long as the dogs will let me!

    It is amazing how small a space even a huge coon can squeeze through. They will dig, climb, and smoosh their way into all but the most secure runs. And yes, a possum will also eat chickens and the guts are one of their favorite parts.

    This time of year, you have a lot of Mom/baby troops as well - coons have 3 to 5. I've lost 20+ birds at once before. And coons are vicious killers, probably second only to dogs in the amount of damage they will do. To be coon-proof, a run needs to be solid welded wire all the way around (with holes smaller than 1" to insure they can't reach their arms in to grab things). It will need a roof of the same material or a solid roof. The run will either need a floor of wire or a "dig skirt" around the edges to keep predators from tunneling in. If you don't have all of this, then the only thing to do is to lock the coop. Of course, shutting the pop door is pointless unless the coop is air-tight as well. No open cracks or vents that animals can reach through. Windows covered with sturdy wire, firmly attached so that it can't be pushed aside, same for any vents that are larger than a couple inches. Again, coons can squeeze into some pretty tiny spaces, even big ones! 4" is the DNRs estimate of how big a hole a MATURE (30+ lbs) raccoon can enter, so imagine the tiny spaces a young one can squeeze through!

    They say that coyote urine will repel females with babies, but not usually effective on males or females with no young. Probably because a raccoon can more than hold its own against most predators. They will kill and eat cats and in some areas have taken to killing small dogs as food. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14486644/ns/us_news-weird_news/t/theyre-urban-raccoons-theyre-not-afraid/#.TpQetVZVXgg
    Only
    a very hungry predator would take the risk of tangling with an adult coon or even a juvenile, so that's probably why most repellents don't work. The only 100% preventive for coons is to remove the food source. They are wicked smart, even able to figure out how to open doors and locks. My pop door has two sliding latches and a concrete block when I close it at night! (because I know my run isn't 100% coon proof.)

    Also, it requires patience to trap raccoons. After you trap the first one, you will probably wait several days before you catch another. Unless you get lucky and catch Mama first, then the hungry babies will go in for bait a little quicker.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by