Any idea what is killing my hens....?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by MissHenrietta, May 22, 2019.

  1. MissHenrietta

    MissHenrietta Chirping

    Nov 27, 2018
    Upstate NY
    i know this has been asked before, but I’m curious as to what I might be dealing with. I free-range my hens and have one rooster with them. In the past three days I’ve lost 5 chickens....first hen, no sign of anything I came home from work and saw a pile of feathers and noticed two hens were gone, one being my absolute favorite sapphire gem, Gemma...I followed the feathers, a few piles here and there, and found her laying in the woods with just a hole through her abdomen..nothing else was “eaten” if anything at all...I proceeded through our 7 acres and found another two piles of feathers (different bird - white leghorn), but no body or anything. I’ve just put our trail camera back up in hopes to find whatever is doing this. I’m absolutely devastated. Any ideas? Hawk? Fox? We live sort of in the woods so I know it can be anything, but I’ve definitely seen a number of hawks flying over. I intend to keep them fenced in for the next few days.
    Sequel likes this.
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Puppy Dreaming

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I would guess coyote or fox. Both will continue to return until they run out of birds.
  3. MissHenrietta

    MissHenrietta Chirping

    Nov 27, 2018
    Upstate NY
    Thank you. I was guessing a fox also. I’ve had them for over a year and haven’t had an incident yet, so 5 in the past few days, i know it’s definitely something coming back for more. Ugh, it’s so awful and so sad. Two of my youngest (about 8 weeks old) are gone as well from today. I feel so terrible :(
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Puppy Dreaming

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    One year I had a coyote take 10 birds before we took care of him. He would have cleaned me out eventually. With free ranging you are okay until you aren't, than you're a buffet. My husband hunts so we deal with any predators as they arise if possible and we accept loses. It always seems to be the favorites that get taken. :hmm
  5. trumpeting_angel

    trumpeting_angel Crowing

    Feb 6, 2019
    So sorry for your losses!
    MissHenrietta and Sequel like this.
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    So sorry! We've all had disasters at times, and have to cope.
    Keep your birds in their safe coop and run until this is resolved! You can set up live traps, and shoot the culprit is caught. Raptors most often don't take this number of birds at once, so that's unlikely.
    It's very difficult to trap foxes, but worth trying.
    Set up a game camera to see who's visiting.
    Let the neighbors know about this! Visit any within a half mile, at least, who have chickens. They will be visited too!
    Good luck,
    puffypoo, Sequel and trumpeting_angel like this.
  7. Chelsa'sChicks

    Chelsa'sChicks Songster

    Aug 16, 2017
    I x2 on fox or coyote. If the body is gone then its something bigger and stronger then your chicken to carry it off. Oldhenlikesdogs said it best that Your ok until you aren't with free ranging. This year ( :fl ) no issues yet free ranging, last year I was bombarded with fox, and the year before that nothing agian..
  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    If you have any game cameras put them up. I was amazed how many predators roam around on my property, especially at night.
  9. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. .....

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    It is really an eye opener, especially for folks who believe they have no predators due to being in an urban setting, never seeing any wildlife, etc.
    puffypoo, trumpeting_angel and Sequel like this.
  10. OhZark Biddies

    OhZark Biddies Crowing

    Apr 13, 2018
    s. central Missouri
    My Coop
    Indeed... I suspect there are more red foxes in many suburban and ‘small tract county areas’ than in the surrounding country side.... this is likely true for raccoons in a lot of areas too.

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