6 chicks killed/missing

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by petdr96, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. petdr96

    petdr96 Hatching

    Apr 29, 2011
    I had a horrific weekend. I have been lurking on this list for awhile...sorry I havent posted until today. Anyway, we HAD 8 chicks, various breeds..favorites were the salmon favorelles, buff orpington, jersey giant. They were all about 6-8 weeks old (I think, we got them as babies from a feed store about 5-6 weeks ago.) We had been allowing them free-range during the day and in a temporary rabbit hutch overnight. Have been discussing various options for a more permanent coop w/my hubby. In any case, Saturday morning I'm eating breakfast and find a couple of the chicks walking around in the yard. Know they were locked up overnight. So, went out to the hutch and find it's open, with one pile of black feathers what's left of the jersey giant. 3 wings from the salmon favorelles....2 right by the hutch and another one maybe 20 feet away, in the middle of the yard. Also found 2 legs near the coop, a gizzard, and some intestines. Nothing else. We live in the Chicago suburbs and have a fenced yard....fence is 4 feet high split rail with wire mesh pulled even with the posts so 4.5 feet high total. (We did that to discourage the dogs from jumping the top rail- it's harder for them to judge when the mesh is high like that.) *sigh.* These were our pet birds. All of them had names. I was very attached to them. One of the living ones (she's a Phoenix) did not have a scratch on her. The other one had a big giant wound on her breast. Luckily I know some bird specialists in the area and she pulled through with surgery and sutures, so far she is healing ok. My lone 2 survivors are back in the Rubbermaid tubs in the basement for now as I need to keep Cinnamon indoors until she is all healed up. I feel horribly guilty and I fully take the blame that this happened. Really...it could have been almost any kind of animal that did this although I feel that a raccoon is more likely. Since we have had the fence up I have never found a coyote in the yard but I cannot completely rule it out either I dont think. My poor girls. My 4-year-old son has since named the Phoenix "Speedy" because she got away. We thought about re-naming Cinnamon as 'Harriet" Potter because she basically got away from Lord Voldemort with a scar. Some sort of magic was involved. Anyway, this weeks project is starting to build a decent coop for them. We will likely be using padlocks with keys nearby to secure the doors. Thanks for listening.

  2. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    [​IMG] Awww, I am so very very sorry for your losses! What an awful thing to happen. Don't berate yourself, with keeping chickens we live & we learn, and often learn the hard way. You're smart to have learned lessons from all this and are taking steps to prevent it from happening again. My high school mentor said "Seldom make the same mistake twice".

    In many communities the populations of raccoons, opossums, skunks, etc are increasing along with development. Their predators have been chased away, but they're not shy about living near humans. They find abundant food in pet food dishes & garbage cans, and sadly, backyard chicken coops. I've heard that a latch that can't keep a 5-year-old child out won't keep a raccoon out either.

    [​IMG] I'm sorry your first post was such a sad one. I wish you & your family lots of happier days ahead with your backyard chickens.
  3. NHchicks

    NHchicks Songster

    May 13, 2010
    Kris, I posted on another thread that a fox attacked my group today, and one of my 2 yr. old hens got almost eaten, but I think the dog chased it away before it could kill her. But piles of feathers, and she's hanging on by a thread, I don't know if she'll make it thru the night, we moved her into the coop so that she's safe and in familiar surroundings.

    But the emotional toll, like I was saying on that thread, OUCH. It almost makes me not want chickens anymore, because you get attached to these darn things, and they are so fragile, everything eats them, they really don't have much of a defense. Mine free range and there's no way I could keep them cooped up - we have 12 acres here and I love having them all over the place.

    I hear you about your grief, and I think it's natural to blame yourself in some way - how can you blame a critter who only wants to eat? It has to be the humans who are in charge. Of course we know it's not our fault that someone decided to have our pets for chicken nuggets, but it's still a heavy feeling.

    Oh well. It's nature way - animals are carnivorous.
  4. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Songster

    Might want to run electric fence around the yard where a coon cannot get by without getting nailed. For the portion of the yard with the rail fence, a single strand run about 4 " above the top will get him when he climbs up. Fry him!
  5. FourPawz

    FourPawz Songster

    Apr 2, 2010

    Many, many of us here know your pain, sad to say. When you do that coop, make sure you use hardware cloth so animals can't reach in and grab a sleeping bird. Hardware cloth will also keep snakes at bay.

    I'm so sorry you lost your pets.
  6. csalt

    csalt In the Brooder

    Jun 17, 2010
    I know what you're going through. I just lost 15 of my beautiful young birds yesterday. I had raised them from birth and I feel like it was my responsibility to keep them safe. I'm heart sick. But I really thought the yard and coops were secure. Now I've learned the hard way that they're not. I'm going to begin to install an apron around the bottom of the fence tomorrow (I'm too sad to do anything today) and beef up the already-double wire on the two coops that the predator got into. I don't know where I'll find replacements for these beautiful birds now but I'll keep looking until I do. I loved those little guys and I can't stop crying.
  7. Jill on the hill

    Jill on the hill In the Brooder

    Feb 16, 2011
    :(Very sorry about your chickens, it happens to almost everyone at some point.It sounds like a coon to me.
  8. CamillaRules

    CamillaRules In the Brooder

    Sep 29, 2009
    I'm so very sorry for your loss. I too am mourning the loss of my favorite hen...3rd one this spring. It's true,I guess, we all learn the hard way and hope to make improvements to protect the next girls who come to us. But it's still heartbreaking to lose them.

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