A Predator Saga

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Khorgan, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. Khorgan

    Khorgan New Egg

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    Oct 9, 2012
    I was feeling very upset after losing almost all my flock to hawk attacks.
    The last victim was my beautiful Rhode Island Red rooster (Cluck Norris) that I found half eaten in the back or my yard but that surely gave a serious fight back as his huge and sharp as needles spurs were covered in blood that was not his. That magnificent little guy didn't go down easily. After that incident the attacks ceased but my initial flock of 15 hens and 3 roosters was reduced to 5 hens and 2 coward roosters that don't have half of Cluck Norris heart.

    You all know that 2 roosters are just too many roosters for only 5 hens and the girls started showing signs of too much attention from their masculine partners. So I decided to order some more hens from a Hatchery House and in a few days I received 15 beautiful little creatures that in a few months would become adult Black Australorp Hens. I chose Black Australorp because they are a type of hen that are somehow big and would be difficult for them to fly over the fence that surrounds my 2 acres little farm, and that would save me the work of clipping feathers of chickens wings. As a courtesy or McMurray Hatchery I also got an additional free chick of a rare or unusual breed. These chicks were extremely friendly and they seem to run towards me while I was installing them in their new place that would be their home until I could let them run free range.

    I installed my 16 new chicks outdoors, inside an enormous cage made of stainless framed net in pieces of 8 feet long and 7 feet tall firmly attached with bolts and nuts. Inside I put a huge container for pet transportation and covered that container's floor with shredded paper and straw, and hung up a red lamp permanently on, to keep them warm. I surrounded the whole cage with very small squares net as I knew those little critters covered of soft feathers could easily find a way out in any little junction of the cage. I covered a large area where their food and water was in, with corrugated plastic so they could still eat and drink without getting wet in case it rained. There they were for 2 days and 2 nights and I was feeling very good about the whole thing until...
    Well, I woke up that unfortunate morning to find out some predator (I suppose it was an opossum) had made a terrible damage to my new flock. All the little chicks were gone and the only 3 dead bodies remaining were left headless. No feathers, no blood, no signs of struggle of any kind except for those 3 little cadavers that the beast had left behind. Later I found a tiny little wing and that was all. I had thought that my 3 dogs would be enough deterrent for any mammal predator but apparently the villain were much stealthier, smarter and efficient than the guardians; including me.
    While I was cursing my luck and my lack or care I heard a "Pew, pew" coming from under an empty flower vase. There was one survivor. We named her Maia.
    Maia is now a pain in my neck. She lost her siblings and now she is attached to me and my wife like I never saw and never thought it could be possible. I cannot leave her alone anywhere or she will start pewing furiously and even when she is content she never stops talking. She sleeps in my wife's neck while she watches TV and I have to carry her in my shirt's pocket anywhere I go. This little critter demands attention all the time and sometimes I just don't know what to do to get rid of her. Any advice would be much appreciated as this little chick does not let me do anything but baby chick sitting and I have other things to do besides that.
    Khorgan
     
  2. JanetS

    JanetS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So sorry for your loss. Do you have pictures of your coop? Is may help to solve the issue of how the predators got in. Poor Maia needs some chicken sisters to keep her company. If you don't plan on getting any more chickens you may need to re home her.

    We no longer free range our chickens because of bobcats and hawks. We expended their run so they have more room and that has kept them safe. Good luck.
     
  3. Shawhee

    Shawhee New Egg

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    So sorry.... I am feeling your pain :(
     
  4. Heidizzybean

    Heidizzybean Out Of The Brooder

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    Either possum or coon. Hate either predator. :( Sorry for your losses!!!
    Also, where do you live? I would LOVE to take her off your hands and give her a good home. :3
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2013
  5. Khorgan

    Khorgan New Egg

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    Oct 9, 2012
    Thanks for your kind words of solidarity guys. I live in Virginia and this year we had a locust year that only happens every 17 years. Billions of a specific type of red eyed inch and a half cicada came out from underground at the end of this Spring and beginning of the Summer. My chickens were very happy eating lots of them during the whole day. So happy and stuffed they were that they were not eating any of the supplement food I always give them. That means tons of protein were given to the natural world and everybody got fattened up. I believe that thanks to that, all predators could raise more than the usual number of off spring this year and now that the cicadas are gone they are attacking my chickens as it never happened before, as everyone of this new inhabitants of the land needs to eat. At least this is my theory. Forgive this rant of mine but I feel so upset that maybe I am over thinking this whole mess that is happening here.
    I hate to interfere with Mother Nature but I already hate this assassin that killed 15 of my lovely and friendly baby chicks, and I'm going to take some measures to get rid of him. In the meantime I decided to order some more baby chicks, at least to make Maya some company as she is driving me crazy with her endless demands for attention. 15 new Pullets should be here tomorrow, and meanwhile their sleeping cradle is already transformed into a high security bank vault with a new steel cage that I assembled around it, covering every possible side; - even the ground. Unless he or she is Houdini, the beast is not going to enter the babies cradle.
    After some research and following the considerations that some of you wrote, I think I'm dealing with a raccoon and not an opossum because this creature shows much intelligence and skill. Last night I prepared a trap to catch it alive as I thought the villain would come back to eat the 3 cadavers it left behind the first night. Around 3 AM I checked the trap and it was upside down and the bate had been eaten. A plastic container that had baby food was open, although I could not tell if something was missing.
    Wish me luck guys and once again thanks for your kind words.
    Khorgan
     
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Flipped trap may indicate that you are dealing with a coon that has been caught and released by someone else; hence, educated and trap wise. Stake the trap down so that it can not roll it. Good luck.
     
  7. Khorgan

    Khorgan New Egg

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    Oct 9, 2012
    That's a very clever observation. Yes it has to be some beast that really knows what a trap is. Thanks for your input.
    I'm going to hunt down this marauder with all resources available. I wish I didn't have to kill it but there is no way to compromise with this assassin now that he has found out there is food available in my place.
    Khorgan
     
  8. Khorgan

    Khorgan New Egg

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    Oct 9, 2012
    Just a little update to let you know what is happening here in Central Virginia.
    It was not a raccoon... it were 8 raccoons so far.
    I don't hunt or shoot animals at all, but I own a good collection of PCP and spring air guns. I usually shoot paper targets and empty bottles of beer that a neighbor of mine supplies me, but this time I had to do something about this systematic invasion of my property.
    I installed 2 strong and very bright solar powered LED lights with a sensor and I believe it kept them away the first night but soon they started feeling comfortable with or without light.
    The trap after being staked to the ground could capture one that was probably a young one given its size but all the others were shot by my .22 caliber Benjamin Marauder. Very clean shots that ended their lives at the first shot. Only one had to be shot 3 times but as my gun is a repeater that has a 10 Pellet magazine it took me maybe 5/8 seconds to finish this big male and I'm convinced it was a humane kill.
    However their population may be dwindling, this has been like a surrealist nightmare, as every time I go out during the night, I see the lights going on and I see some uninvited guest eating the dry dog food bait near the nest of my young chicks. I am losing sleep and I feel irritated all day long, but I need to stop their raids. It feels like we are under siege here and in the meantime I lost two more of the adult hens I still had. They just vanished, no feathers, no blood and no signs of struggle anywhere. Now I have only 3 hens and 2 roosters, and I'm hoping I can raise these young chicks to adulthood against all odds.
    The one creature that was captured by the trap had to be executed and that was indeed painfully unpleasant to me but I had no choice. I feel so desperate that I found myself considering using poison to get rid of this permanent threat, although I think poison is a horrible way to kill and I am not sure if it can actually be as fast as I read on line.
    I could use any advice you can give me.
    Khorgan
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Hot wire with a good charger.
     
  10. Khorgan

    Khorgan New Egg

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    Oct 9, 2012
    You mean electric fence, better saying to electrify the existing fence?
    Thanks for the idea, I'm going to research that immediately.
    Khorgan
     

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