again - air or land???

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by TLWR, Aug 8, 2014.

  1. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know what to do to protect them since I still don't know what the heck is taking them!!


    Last week, something tried to take peanut. I'll dig up the thread with those details. At dusk.


    Today, sometime between 11 and 2, something took Cashew and I think Peanut as well - still can't find her.
    We were getting ready for DH's annual work bbq and he was outside a bunch and didn't hear anything. He did see a bird swoop down and the ducks ran for the pond. He thinks it might have been a halk. Our hawks aren't big. He was in and out during that time. The guys got here around 2 and a bunch were on the deck. Anything happened then, they'd have noticed it. I went out to take a group pic and saw gobs of feathers in 2 piles. Handed the phone back and went out to start searching. DH and I did finally find Cashew. I saw no signs of Peanut anywhere.
    What I did find... lots of feathers. And an active hole in our yard at the edge of some brush. We'll toss a smoke bomb in that later today.


    I'm hoping somebody can help us figure out what is in the yard.
    We have a game camera ready to set up tonight, but this thing took Cashew in broad daylight.


    This is our yard. Or the part the ducks/chickens use. They don't go much further back than where the pines start (the brown sticks) There's another 2 acres of that behind that they don't go into.
    The red blobs are cashew feather piles from today. Purple are peanut feather piles from last week.
    From what I can tell, whatever it was took Peanut behind the duck hut and then down the path where the dog interrupted and saved her.
    Today, it looks like it took Cashew in the clear part of the yard in front of shrubs they hang out in during the heat of the day. Then took her to the brush by the garage. Through the brush. Little blobs of feathers through the brush. Then a big ol pile of feathers and her body was in that pile by the garage.

    I just don't see how a bird would take her into the brush. They can't fly through there. The ducks and chickens get along fine in there, but I don't see a bird going into there. I guess if mine can, no reason a hawk can't either.

    The active 'critter' hole I found is along the brush line back by the interior fence chunks

    [​IMG]
    From the deck, out toward the dark shrubs, there's 2 large piles of feathers.

    [​IMG]

    looking toward duck/chicken hut and garage
    [​IMG]

    the path between fence and brush by garage
    [​IMG]

    some feathers in the brush
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    more brush feathers
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    giant feather pile and where we found Cashew behind the garage in the brush
    [​IMG]
    more feathers along the fence and some through it, but I'd guess those got there when they were ripped out, not that it was trying to bring her through the fence (but maybe). This fence goes from property line to the garage. I can't walk through it, it is a bit grown up, but isn't too bad.
    [​IMG]

    more of the big feather pile
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    more of huge feather pile
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    more huge feather pile
    [​IMG]

    from the feather pile by the big shrubs where she was taken looking toward shed/huts/garage
    [​IMG]




    Her body was intact, but DH said her neck was split and not much was missing from her neck.

    here is last weeks thread when something tried to take Peanut - https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/913307/help-me-figure-out-what-it-could-be

    DH is going to upload the pic he took and link it shortly.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
  2. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very sorry for your losses. Hope you get a picture of what it was that attacked your birds.
     
  4. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Bright side... Peanut showed up as I was getting the ducks ready for bed. Walk out hoping she'd come out of hiding to go to bed and she was on the fence rail by our deck! Never been so happy to see a chicken before!
    Wish she'd shown up or shown herself while I spent another hour out with the mosquitoes getting eaten alive looking for her in the brush. But I'll take it either way. What's a few more bites.

    Now hopefully I set up the camera correctly. We also have a trap out there by the hole.
     
  5. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    opossum on the game cam around 2:20 this morning by the critter hole we thought looked active.
    But a opossum in the middle of the afternoon taking a chicken. I don't think that is what did it.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    A hawk could do that and they usually go for the head first, but with that hole in the fence I’m thinking more of a land animal. A bobcat could easily do what you describe, but they are more likely to go over the fence than dig under it. It sure sounds like a fox. A bobcat will often go for the head first. Bobcats also will carry off the uneaten portions and bury what’s left for later use. Did it look like it was partially buried or covered? A fox will leave a pile of feathers but often carries the carcass away so it leaves nothing but a pile of feathers.

    Raccoons and members of the weasel family like mink are other suspects. I’d expect them to go over the fence instead of digging under it. You might spread flour around that hole to try to get prints. It is also very possible that whatever did it did not use that hole but did go over the fence.

    Did your husband look on the carcass for bite marks or claw marks? Sometimes you can determine what did it from those. If the animal had stayed around long enough to eat the chicken it could have left poop or scat. Scat is another way to determine what you are dealing with.
     
  7. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have put stuff at the hole under the fence. Nothing has moved in the week it has been like that.

    I don't know that we have bobcats around here. Nobody has ever said anything about them.

    Whatever it is, is either going over the fence, flying in from above or already lives in one of the holes in the yard.
    She was just left in her pile of feathers with whatever the pic looks like for injuries (sorry, I can't look at it). As far as he could tell, the only wounds were to her neck. He didn't notice anything else.

    Did a poop hunt yesterday around the piles and didn't see anything.

    If the only piles of feathers were in the open, I'd go with hawk, but it just seems weird for it to have run through the brush with a 6 pound bird. No way it can fly through the area where the smaller piles and then the last huge pile of feathers were.
     
  8. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, I know what we are dealing with now...
    a fox

    I heard a chicken making lots of chicken noise, so got up to see what had her feathers ruffled. She's making noise, the other chicken is trying to hide under the shrubs by the deck and 2 ducks are quacking. Then I see the fox making its way toward my ducks. I yelled, the dogs took chase and it took off THROUGH our fence.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Red or gray fox doing similar to neighbor and I. Dog also interupted on last go. We will be using a caged bird as bait. Losses occur when birds at perimeter or beyond where dogs patrol.


    Your setup is too bushy to defend. Dogs will not be fast enough especially when predators of all sorts including fox can employ ambush tactics.
     

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