Any ideas what's snatching our chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by candemaye, May 15, 2016.

  1. candemaye

    candemaye Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2015
    Just looking for closure mostly. I've lost three chickens over the past few months. They disappear without a trace, not even a feather dropped. I've lost one to a fox before and it left quite the mess. Curious what could be scooping the girls up like this. I'm in central Indiana, near a wooded area. They disappear mid day. Not a sound, not a feather left behind.
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Are they free ranging? Taken out of a pen? Large fowl or bantams? A little more information would be helpful. If they're free ranging, my guess would be coyotes.
     
  3. CntryBoy777

    CntryBoy777 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When I was a truck driver....I have seen bald eagles from Shoals, southern Indiana, all the way up to Gary in the north....so, it would not be surprising if that is what it may be....could have babies to feed in the wooded area you have mentioned....or a great horned owl....though they are mainly night hunters....they can be active during daylight hours with nestlings to provide for....if it is a ground attack there would be some sort of scuffle, tracks, or evidence....at least that has been my experience...best of luck with your quest.
     
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  4. candemaye

    candemaye Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2015

    Standard/large I guess. The ones missing are red sex links. They free range as well as a flock of 13-11 week olds. The young ones have 3 cockerels amongst them. The two groups ranged separately. I imagine whatever is snatching them went for the big girls because there was only three of them. I thought coyotes too-we have an active pack in the area-but I thought they were mostly night hunters.

    While I've never seen an eagle it wouldn't surprise me. We have a creek down in the ravine that connects to a larger creek which feeds into the Wabash not to far away. Would they be able to just carry one off?
     
  5. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    I've had a coyote try to take a hen at 2 in the afternoon. It does not need to be dark for them to be hunting. I've had coons take birds in the middle of the day, too.
     
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  6. candemaye

    candemaye Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2015
    Huh, well good to know about the coyote. A raccoon would leave behind a mess though I would imagine? I've gone over our entire property (minus the woods which are a fair bit back from where the chickens roam) with a fine tooth comb and have yet to find a feather from one of them. Three hens totally gone and no trace of them. I've been through every building on the property (4 barns, a summer kitchen, and a spring house) The young ones are markedly different colors so I know I'm not overlooking the big girls feathers.
     
  7. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Nope. I've had coons grab and dash with full grown hens.
     
  8. CntryBoy777

    CntryBoy777 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh yes....an eagle can fly off with fairly good sized prey.....sheep, goats, calves, and very large fish....a fully mature chicken would only require one talon....and golden eagles are even bigger....your area sounds like a great eagle habitat.....beautiful country up there.....been thru there many times.
     
  9. candemaye

    candemaye Out Of The Brooder

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    Well shoot then.

    Can I maybe take this in a slightly different direction then? I have the three cockerels and honestly they all do pretty well at alerting and standing guard surprisingly. I was going to get rid of two leaving one rooster to (at the time) 14 hens. Should I still go down to one rooster to 11 hens or should I try to add more chicks (hens) and have two roosters and 17 hens in the end? More watchful eyes, perhaps a safer flock?
     
  10. candemaye

    candemaye Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2015

    It's lovely, just this one minor downside! I knew Eagles were strong but dang. Suppose I'll be looking into a bit more secure for covering the run too
     

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