35 dead chickens. Coons, maybe weasels : Update Post #45

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Jschaaff, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. Jschaaff

    Jschaaff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2011
    New Hampshire
    Update: Post #45

    I haven't been on here in forever. Mainly because I've been so devastated. Today pushed me back here.

    In June, I lost 5 chickens, presumably to a coon. My son forgot to lock the chickens up... it happens, I know.

    July 5, I lost 24, 3 week old cornish babies, in ONE night. There was a grade stake propped up against the door, pushed hard into the ground, for added tension...this was broken COMPLETELY in half. The swivel lock had been undone. The drop down door was ripped off it's hinges (one screw was left part way in, the door remained attached only by this).

    2 weeks ago I lost 2 quail, hubby had never gotten around to protecting them from underneath the pen. Coons pulled their legs thru...broke both on one, she died that day...the other actually had her head ripped off thru 1/2" hardware cloth... Yep, dead too of course. Bottom of their pen is now wrapped with plywood, so nothing can get up under them.

    Today, had 5, 4 week old Cornish babies, living with the one survivor of the July 5th attack, 8 week old cornish x, "Peepers". Peepers was a very expensive chicken, as we'd put over $90.00 into the 25 babies when the 24 were killed..she became a 90.00 chicken.

    Hubby had redone the tractor...1/4" hardware cloth...thing was sealed up great...our tractor I mean, the one that the coons or something ripped into the month before....and he added a tension lock...

    Well, guess what, the coons didn't have any problem undoing that lock which is now laying on the ground, and Peepers, and her 5 little friends, are all dead..scattered about 15 feet around the pen. Heads ripped off of peepers..the rest heads intact but their bellies ripped open.

    The problem now, besides my fragile mental state (I'm a darn strong lady...and I can roll with the punches... but this time...I'm tapped..maxed..I've got nothing [​IMG] ):

    I have 25 more broilers coming tomorrow. Frankly, I am 90% sure I should just call the chicken lady and tell her forget it.
    I'm obviously not able to keep my chickens safe.
    I've tried poisoning the predators..they keep coming.
    I've stayed up ALL night with the .22 MANY nights. Nothing.
    We've caught some in the havaheart traps... obviously we end their lives...but more just keep coming, and will wander right past the trap to get to the chickens.
    I keep the back light on so the tractor is illuminated at night...
    We are changing the tractor door tonight, so that it's flush with the outside of the tractor, and locks from the inside (we can open the top of the tractor).
    We made the darn thing out of 2x4's..it's so heavy hubby and I can barely move it so nothing should be picking it up...
    The sides are covered in one layer of poultry wire, with a layer of 1/4" hardware metal over that.
    The top is plywood, and one side, the side with the door, is plywood.
    I have TWO dogs...dogs that bark at grasshoppers and ghosts...and chipmunks..but not coons in the middle of the night!?!?....

    EXASPERATED. I don't know what else to do to keep these babies safe. I feel like I have helped murder 35 chickens and 2 quail, all in under 2 months, and now I'm supposed to bring 25 more home to serve up as a buffet for these coons/minks.

    I don't know what else to do to make the tractor any safer...hubby says THIS time, it will work...they'll be safe. He said that last time too though.

    We've lost a bit of money in all this, $160.00+ that went to purchasing, and feeding all these now dead birds... That sucks, but not the biggest concern...
    The guilt is what's getting to me and the feeling of helplessness wondering if should even try this again.

    Is there a point where you just give up, or do you all just truck on and keep trying?

    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011
  2. ninabeast

    ninabeast Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2011
    Upstate New York
    I have no wisdom to offer, just heart felt condolences. You're handling this much better than I would. I hope you get some great advice here.
  3. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    a padlock with a key hanging nearby....
  4. Jschaaff

    Jschaaff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2011
    New Hampshire
    Quote:My husband suggested the padlock, but whatever we have seems to be spending nights working at anything metal screwed in, until the screws start to work their way out. We are all for the padlock, but not convinced the coons wouldn't eventually rip it out of the wood. Doesn't sound possible I suppose...but I'm beginning to think they're amazing..in an awful way.
  5. itom37

    itom37 Out Of The Brooder

    May 10, 2011
    Horrible experiences you're having. So sorry to hear about all your losses...

    But all of your problems could be solved by locking up your coop at night. You've clearly got some clever coons that can open most latches, but if they manage to open a padlocked door, I'd be shocked.

    Make sure your coop is secure... no holes anything large enough to kill your babies can wiggle through (if there are weasels, this could be hard). You can get an automatic door if you think you'll forget, as long as it closes securely. Keep locks on the other doors.
  6. Two Creeks Farm

    Two Creeks Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 23, 2011
    Hedgesville, WV
    Sorry for the losses.....

    You answered your own questions, you are going to have to get better prepared for what seems like a high predator area and get your enclosures ready for anything. It is a learning curve for some folks! Keep trapping and try everything to rid the area or atleast lower predator numbers. It will get much worse as winter sets in if you dont.

    Best of luck! We have traps out year round, dogs on patrol etc. Lucky for us coons usually only present an issue come late fall and winter.....hawks and owls are our biggest worry. Sooner or later we all get hit, and with the cost of things it hurts the checkbook no doubt.
  7. itom37

    itom37 Out Of The Brooder

    May 10, 2011

    If they are pulling out screws, you can address this by reinforcing the wood around the door and using deeper screws. I know it seems like a lot to go through to keep coons out, but a trip to lowes and some resourcefulness can solve this problem!
  8. Jschaaff

    Jschaaff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2011
    New Hampshire
    Quote:Thank you. That is why I am so frustrated. They door has always been locked. All of our chickens are locked up EVERY night (okay..except for the one day back in june that our DS forgot)...the largest hole on this tractor is 1/4" by 1/4". Before, when they got the babies, it was the poultry wire, but nothing (SO FAR) had gone thru, they always just unlocked the door. We've had two different locks, and both locks were undone by the coons... it wasn't a lack of keeping them locked up...

    I do think the padlock is a great idea. Maybe 10 of them too.
  9. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    So far....knock wood....I havent had anything break into my pens. And I know theres coons around here, because I see them dead on the road all the time. I got chain link kennels from Lowes, reinforced the chain link, put a wire panel over the top with a tarp. Then along the inside, I attached 1/2 inch hardware cloth with zip ties, so the coons cant pull it off, and the hardware cloth keeps them from reaching in. So far so good, I havent lost anything.

    You might try one more thing to encourage them to stay away, by putting a line of hot wire around your pens. A few hits with that and they'll likely go find easier pickings elsewhere. I hope you dont give up, youve done such a terrific job with your cornish. Im so sorry for your loss, but you can do it, I know you can.
  10. ladyride

    ladyride Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2011
    East Tn
    I am so sorry for your losses [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] you obviously have some very strong predators, they have man strength.My heart goes out to you . You have in the past inspired me & changed my thinking on cornish x's . I had the mindset never but after reading several of your post & of one of your recent processing I had changed my mind. I am sorry for what you are going thru right now. You definitely have the strength to muddle along & keep trying [​IMG] You have given several on here strength to go on & figure out how to keep their food safe , you & your hubby will too. I have had intruders to my runs but not my coops & I keep closing up holes. I am thankful for that . May GOD bless you & give you strength. Look forward to seeing you on here again with better news.

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