An exhusting morning already...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by PineBurrowPeeps, Apr 26, 2009.

  1. Well yesterday I about killed myself getting the my meaties all set up in their new hoop house for the next week or two. I moved them all out there by myself.
    I knew the hoop house wasn't exactly predator proof but we took the risk because we've never ever seen anything around, have never lost a bird to anything, and we were going to beef it up today.
    They had 5' run wire all the way around, a roof over their head, etc. No buried wire or anything though.
    We get up this morning and find that something had gotten in and we have 7 dead or missing birds and another 8 injured. We found 4 bodies all without heads. At first I thought it was a coyote. Now I'm not too sure.
    Something started digging under the fence and left a print in the soil, it looked very canine-ish to me. A distinct paw pad with toes and the print was about 2 inches wide Max. Coyote or Fox? I doubt it was a Racoon.
    Luckily they didn't take any of my goslings.
    The injured birds mostly had head injuries, but also other little nips and bites here and there.
    I had to put 5 of the injured birds down. 3 are in the hospital cage with minor wounds.
    Thinking back on the whole thing, here is what is not sitting right with me:
    We found them at about 7:45am. And all of the wounds were FRESH. There was a discarded carcass with it's entire head/neck/ and about half of it's breast missing in the middle of the field about 50 feet away from the hoop house. We found two heads on the ground surrounding the hoop house like something might have first plucked the head off through the wire, (but why wouldn't it have eaten them?).
    My husband found them. I was down here at the computer with my morning tea and he came running down the stairs and outside because he had been in the upstairs bathroom and looked out the window to see feathers on the ground and the fence messed up.
    I am now thinking he might have scared it off and it was in the middle of eating that bird in the field.
    Their wounds just looked too darn fresh.
    What would be more prone to attack in morning daylight, a Coyote or a Fox?
    Whatever this thing was it was awfully sloppy about how it went about hunting them. And we still have 3 just missing, we went into the surrounding woods and found no feathers or bodies...
    We're moving them this afternoon and I have my 150 pound Newfoundland staked out right outside the hoop house for the time being.

    The other thing that concerns me is their size... These guys are 7 weeks old and were due to go to processor next week. I processed 5 of them myself this morning and the heaviest dressed out bird was 2.5 pounds!
    What is up with that?! They are getting food 12 hours a day and eating nearly 25 pounds of grain a day.
     
  2. lurky

    lurky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    Thats terrible.........I wonder if it was a mink or a weasel. I think i have read that they cause that type of Damage.
     
  3. the_great_snag

    the_great_snag Chillin' With My Peeps

    381
    0
    151
    Apr 14, 2007
    Staples, Minnesota
    Are they getting GRAIN or FEED? If they are only getting grain they will not gain weight nearly as fast as they would on true chicken feed.

    This sounds like a dog attack. Dogs tend to chase and kill birds more due to their chase instinct than any desire for food. If something runs from a dog, it will chase it and try to kill it in most instances. Most of the time they will only eat part of one bird at best.

    I would bury your wire and/or reinforce the bottom with wood or stones. Posting your Newfoundland nearby will also provide added security, especially if he will bark if a strange dog comes around.

    If you live where it's allowed, I would seriously consider shooting the offender if you get the chance. If the dog's owners let him run wild and destroy livestock I have no pity for them.
     
  4. It's Feed. The same stuff I always use for my broilers over 4 weeks of age, gamebird food, because we don't have broiler feed here and I have had good luck with no leg problems, etc. with the higher protein.
    Usually my birds are much larger than this. I have no clue what is up with these guys. I may have to hold them over some more and grow them out since these are for customers.
    A regular dog huh?

    I mean the thought crossed my mind, but I just found it odd. We don't really get strays around here.
     
  5. the_great_snag

    the_great_snag Chillin' With My Peeps

    381
    0
    151
    Apr 14, 2007
    Staples, Minnesota
    A flock of chickens will attract stray dogs like flies. If you do have one around, the chickens will bring them in.

    I think your Newfie is your best line of defense. I just hope he doesn't get loose and turn killer. It's almost impossible for some dogs to resist the urge when they see a chicken run.

    I wonder if you got a poor batch of chicks. Are you SURE they are broilers and not regular White Cornish or some other breed?

    2 1/2 pounds is not terrible for 7 weeks, but I agree they should be bigger if they are Cornish X Rocks.
     
  6. My Newfie is a great dog and I have him outside the hoop house.
    My Lab is actually inside the hoop house right now, I put him in there for added protection. I know some people would think me nuts for putting a bird dog with chickens but this dog gaurds my layer flock every single day, he spends all day everyday in the run with them protecting them from hawks (we have never lost a chicken to a hawk but we have them overhead alot, we know this pred attack this morning was no hawk!).
    I figured I would stake both dogs out with the meaties for the rest of today.
    The Newf is very protective of anything that belongs here. The Lab is laying amoungst them and is very lazy and older but I still think his presence is better than nothing.
     
  7. Oh and I got them from Central Hatchery, they are indeed Cornish Rocks.
    I guess I'll just keep feeding them [​IMG]
     
  8. lilbirdee

    lilbirdee Chillin' With My Peeps

    175
    0
    119
    Mar 14, 2009
    Ridgefield, WA
    So sorry for you predator troubles.
    I haven't had any experience with any myself. And hope I never do.
    But I know lots of alpaca owners that have had things go after their herd. What sticks in my mind is that coyotes will kill to eat, only kill what they need, and either take it with them or not leave much behind. But neighbor dogs just kill for the sport. They'll wipe out an entire herd of alpacas and just leave a huge mess.
    We have a saying about any dogs coming onto our property.
    Shoot...shovel...& shut up.
     
  9. the_great_snag

    the_great_snag Chillin' With My Peeps

    381
    0
    151
    Apr 14, 2007
    Staples, Minnesota
    You are so fortunate to have such good dogs to watch your birds. Seems all the dogs I've had seem to enjoy killing them.

    Yeah I don't understand... if you are using meat bird rations and they are truly broiler birds they should be pretty fat by now.

    I bet you got some White Rocks or something by mistake...
     
  10. ohiofarmgirl

    ohiofarmgirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 22, 2009
    after you worked so hard! sorry - what a terrible find.

    not sure what got your birds but this is what i'm hearing - more and more coyotes are getting more aggressive and brazen. my buddy had a couple right by his barn at mid morning!!! and the vet nearby strongly cautioned us to lock up our barncats at nite b/c the coyotes are getting so aggressive.
    :-(

    sorry to hear about what happened.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by