4 Roosters and one Runner taken

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by JCB42013, Nov 15, 2016.

  1. JCB42013

    JCB42013 New Egg

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    Nov 14, 2013
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    A few days ago we went outside to do our daily chores, goats, chickens, ducks etc and noticed that our alpha rooster was dead. My wife found him, head missing, in the middle of the pasture. When I went out there we both noticed a very strong odor of skunk.
    This rooster was not a friendly guy, however we always kept him because he was fearless. We always joked that he should have been buried a long time ago, we both have been on the recieving end of his spurs. However, I noticed that where he was killed the ground smelled much stronger like skunk spray. Our thought was he put up a fight, as he was the only bird missing his head.
    Well we are very upset to see he was killed. After going in the goat shack we came across two more silkies roosters, half way buried. The skunk smell was just as strong inside. Heads still attached. We did a roll call and noticed that we were missing more. All in all it was 4 roosters and one Runner hen. One of our little bantam roosters is gone too.
    That morning, aside from the smell, all the animals were on high alert, the Nigerian Dwarf goats wouldn't go in there "house" to eat, and they live to eat.
    I did some research, and couldn't find anyone who had a similar story online. Well last night I decided that this skunk needs to go. I decided that trapping him was my second option. After sitting outside for 4 hours after sunset, my eye got tired and I called it a night. This morning, sure enough, we caught the skunk using a peice of fish and an egg.
    I hate doing this, as I never have before (I have taken a skunk for a drive before) but the vengeance and anger leaves me with little other option.
    I just wanted to share as I haven't seen too many stories of a serial killing skunk before.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    The roosters are the first to go since they give themselves up to save the flock.

    Rest assured, this isn't your only predator. You have more skunks, lots of raccoons, weasels at a minimum. You just haven't seen them and they haven't found your place yet.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016
  3. JCB42013

    JCB42013 New Egg

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    Nov 14, 2013
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    I know they are out there, we have had pretty good luck for the last 5 years. We have only had a hawk take one rooster and during spring and summer they often are pastured.
    We left the roosters out at night, they would perch on a fence next to the coop. We have toour many roosters to cohabitate with the girls, so we half way expected this would happen if a predator came. However, we haven't read of a skunk doing so much damage in a night or two.

    Not saying it hasn't happened, just haven't come across it yet.
     
  4. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    That's pretty rare for a skunk to do that much damage. It must have been super hungry and found somewhat easy pickings with your flock.

    I do hope you put the skunk "out of its misery" per se and didn't relocate. They're notorious for carrying rabies.

    I'm sorry for your loss! We had a weasel take out 13 ducks in one night, and came back the next night and got the last 4. Our entire flock if ducks, gone, because of a one inch gap in the door of our duck hut. Never thought of the stupid weasels after battling coons for most of the last 2 years. Really stinks to think that things out there are hungry and my birds were lunch.

    Never did catch it; no revenge here, at least, not yet...
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016
  5. JCB42013

    JCB42013 New Egg

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    O wow, after reading it seems like weasels are the worst. Hard to catch or kill, terrorize everything and hard to protect against. I was worried that it may be, but we unfortunately have some rats that also need to be taken care of. I would imagine they wouldn't be living together happily if they were both present.
    I'm sorry for your loss, I think I'd go full Rambo if that happened. My wife just got over spray on her this morning trying to cover the trap. We were worried that the 4 nosey goats would get too close as its right by their shelter.
    Good luck on your fight. I always have left wildlife alone, I don't mind if the groundhogs or deer eat some veggies, if the turkeys take all my grass seed, or if the Coopers hawk stalk my Quail hutch from afar, but after killing one, my rules have changed. Haha
     
  6. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    Thanks.. Yeah, DH just about did go Rambo lol; trying to shoot a weasel with a 12 gauge as its running away is harder than you would think. :D too bad he missed by a hair...

    We don't usually mess with wildlife either. Just fortify better. But numbers fluctuating between predators and prey from year to year will draw critters out if their normal territory when they are hungry. We figure that when we dispatched 5 coons last year, we left a niche open for the weasel to move right in without worrying about the coons. I'd rather have the coons back. At least I knew what to expect and they can't fit through a light socket hole :p

    They need to eat; I need to protect my birds. Let's see that little weasel get through concrete, since that's what we did lol; made Fort Duck surrounded with concrete and reinforced mesh.

    You might consider some electric fence or a guard dog. They can help deter some predators at least. Can't be there all the time, but the peace of mind can help. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Did any of your birds turn up flat out missing? Another party produces a smell that some people detect very will and to those not familiar will assume skunk.
     
  8. Ethlin

    Ethlin New Egg

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    Skunks and raccoons are nocturnal so it's unlikely it's one of those if it was during the day. It is probably just personal experience, but I have never lost a chicken to a skunk even when they got inside the coop when my coop was still in poor condition (They often just eat leftover food, or eggs that might of not been gotten that afternoon). Raccoons will behead them though I have found, and raccoons will come out during the day sometimes if they are starving, really young and aren't used to it, are rabid, are scared out of their den.

    Foxes are another big culprit as they come out during the day or night. however with a fox you can usually tell as they often take the chicken with them and stop to shake it every dozen or so yards, so if you periodically see patches of feathers it's a fox. They also take the whole bird.

    Birds of prey are another one, though it's mostly eagles as chickens are too large for hawks or falcons, though those two can get bantams if you have those. There are also vultures and owls, but vultures almost always eat stuff already dead, and owls are nocturnal. Birds of pray often leave a single patch of feathers I have found. And like foxes, usually take the bird with them.

    Weasels and fishers are really bad, though fishers rarely come out during the day, weasels are probably the worst as they can get in basically anywhere and are very violent and make a huge mess, though I have never had personal experience with one thankfully, so I can't really comment on that.

    There are also coyotes and wolves, but they are almost always nocturnal (Or at least hunt at night), I have never seen one out during the day, though I guess it's not impossible. Coyotes leave a really big mess (One got my neighbor's), and I have never seen a wolf.

    Lastly there are bobcats. I have never seen one and know of nobody who lost a chicken to one personally, so I can't speak for that.

    If you want to see everything, a neighbor's dog (Or feral) could cause it, but often they take the whole chicken to the owner to show "What a good job they did".

    That's my personal experience with predators. Before anyone gets upset, that's over the course of 10 years out of over 100 chickens, so I am not feeding the wildlife with them intentionally or anything >.<
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    ......and what would that be?
    I know many mammals can have a pretty strong musk/urine......fox, weasel, badger, and others.
     

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