any idea what predator did this?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Poultry parent, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. Poultry parent

    Poultry parent Chillin' With My Peeps

    In late fall of last year (i know that this late to post about but I'm a new member) one of my red sex link hens was found inside the coop dead, and I have no idea what could have killed her.

    We haven't had any other losses and she was our first loss.

    I just wanted to know what could have killed her and that way I can protect my flock in case it could ever happen again.

    Another few details are, that 2 of my other hens had a few scabs on their legs as if something had scratched them, I didn't really get a good look at the one that died because I freaked out, so someone else buried her, but he said that it looked like her thighs were bitten.

    She was healthy before her demise.

    The only thing about her that wasn't normal was that she had been debeaked and her lower beak had a small split and was twisting, despite this she was eating and drinking fine.

    Also one of my BO hens was on the wrong side of their fence which has happened before so i don't know if that has to do with it or not.

    Thank you!
  2. AK Chick

    AK Chick Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 3, 2016
    I don't know if you have ermine or mink in your neck of the woods, but if this happened to my neighbor, that's what I would think of. They can break the neck of an animal much larger than themselves, and can really be a menace. Raccoons, pole cats and fishers can also do similar damage.
  3. Poultry parent

    Poultry parent Chillin' With My Peeps

    we live in the mountains in virginia, i read somewhere that mink, and ermine would leave a skunky odor is that true?
  4. Sel Gris

    Sel Gris New Egg

    Jan 11, 2012
    Another thought would be rats. When they get big and hungry, they're ingenious about getting into enclosures. Were there any chew marks around the coop somewhere that it could have squeezed in?

    The bites around everyone's legs makes me think of them...

    Was it a broken neck? Or maybe a heart attack? (apologies if you stated already; I didn't see it.)

    As far as hens being on the "wrong" side of the fence, I've seen my lazy, fat ones even vault the fence when there was a predator around and scaring them.
  5. Poultry parent

    Poultry parent Chillin' With My Peeps

    no chew marks. and i don't think that it was a heart attack as she was fit, lean, and it looked like what killed her was blood loss i think.
    i haven't seen any signs of rats, no droppings, or anything like that
  6. pigcoon

    pigcoon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2009
    I once had a hen take ill in the morning and by 1 p.m she was dead. I posted here and several folks referred to something they just called Sudden Chicken Death syndrome--in which nothing at all seems to be wrong and then your chicken is dead. I wonder if something like that was true for you?
  7. Poultry parent

    Poultry parent Chillin' With My Peeps

    possibly, but her leg was bloody
  8. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2016
    Mobile, AL
    Weasel would have killed all three or come back the next two nights until they were all dead.

    Rat gets my vote.

    Put out some "pet-proof" rat bait containers. I keep rat bait out 24/7/365.
    Keep your feed in a locked shed in a sealed container.
  9. Rock Home Isle

    Rock Home Isle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Here's a nice trick...

    If You think You know how it's getting in, but the ground is hard or there is too much leaf litter to allow for sign, then dig a shallow depression maybe 13 or 14 inches across and fill it with play sand. Any critter that comes by will leave their prints in that play sand. You'll get perfect animal tracks, and it's easy to erase, just smooth it out each day.

    After that, it becomes a matter of, "What animal makes this track?".

    Do this around the coop and run at key locations when you are trying to figure out how the heck are they getting in...or what the heck is killing my chickens. Play sand at key locations will give you all you need to identify the perpetrator.

    I would also recommend getting a cage trap...not a cheap cage trap, but a solid well made cage trap.
  10. Poultry parent

    Poultry parent Chillin' With My Peeps

    thanks for the sand idea! i think that i will definitely try that as we have some young pullets in the coop now

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by