4 week old silkie chicks-gone overnight! What could be getting them?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by SPRING CREEK FARM, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. SPRING CREEK FARM

    SPRING CREEK FARM Songster

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    [​IMG] I had a mama silkie hatch out 4 little silkie chicks and as they got feathered in, I removed mama hen into another coop and left the kids with Daddy Roo; he had already been watching out for them, better than their own mama. She had already started roosting overnight and letting the chicks huddle together on the floor of the coop. When I put mama hen in another pen, I also put 2 other hens in with the chicks and rooster. Everyone got along just fine. I noticed one morning that 2 of the little chicks were gone, no sign of them. No damage to the pen/coop or run. Their pen/run is heavy duty coated chain link with chicken netting attached on the inside; no damage here. I have seen and killed snakes in the coops this year, but would a snake get them at night? This morning, I noticed another one of the chicks are gone! The first incident happened on Wednesday and this is Sunday. I am stumped as to what is happening to these little chicks, now I only have 1 of the original 4 chicks left. This coop is styled somewhat like a duplex; the first section is where these silkies are and the back section is where I have another set of silkies, one black roo and a gray hen with 3 chicks that are about 6-7 weeks old. Nothing seems to be bothering these....does anyone have any ideas what might be happening here? [​IMG]
     

  2. Dora'smom

    Dora'smom Songster

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    It's hard to say. It could be a snake, or it could be that something is able to pull them through the netting. Hardware cloth, 1/4" is a better preventative. At that age, the chicks are still small enough that a snake might be able to eat them and get out through the netting. Good luck, I hope you're able to save the last chick. Whatever has been feeding at your pen knows there is an easy meal to be had.
     
  3. SPRING CREEK FARM

    SPRING CREEK FARM Songster

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    Yeah, that is what I am afraid of. I did not think a snake would be out moving about after dark...and they all roost in their coop. Whatever is getting them is getting them at night and not leaving any sign of having been there. And just one door over is the other pen with 8 chicks but they are all a bit bigger than those that were taken from the other pen. I even considered the possibility that I could have had 2 legged predators (there is always people coming and going here at the farm) but maybe it is a snake afterall...tonight I am going to have to come up with some different arrangements and move the chicks to another coop/pen and see what happens. Whatever it is, it is only going after the small chicks and doing it at night...[​IMG]
     
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member 8 Years

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    is there any chance the rooster or other hens are eating them.? If a predator was taking them I think the other birds would have shown some effects of trauma, and be frightened.
     

  5. SPRING CREEK FARM

    SPRING CREEK FARM Songster

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    [​IMG] Heaven forbid, I have thought about that as a possibility, but it is always happening overnight. The chickens are always roosting and bedding down for the night so I don't really think that is it, but I have considered it. Like I said earlier, the roo was such a good dad, he actually took better care of the chicks that the mama hen did! I feel like it is something else...
     
  6. Dora'smom

    Dora'smom Songster

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    There are pictures on this site, of a hen with a snake at her feet and coiled up into the nestbox, eating eggs. If it is a larger snake, and the chickens are sleepy, they may not react very much.
     
  7. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Many snakes hunt at night.
     

  8. SPRING CREEK FARM

    SPRING CREEK FARM Songster

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    [​IMG] Well, I ended up rearranging my chicks this evening. I spiffed up the nursery coop/pen and put some of them in there. I also fixed another layer of wire on the outer side of the pen that was "losing the babies". I actually moved several of them around to different pens. I do not know what could be getting to them but it will have a bit more trouble even finding them tonight. Wish me luck, everybody! [​IMG]
     
  9. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Crowing

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    My bet is a snake. I was having the same problem and I found a snake skin. I still haven't found the snake either.
     

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