At a loss as to what's killing my chickens....

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by LovinMyHensInNC!, Dec 20, 2016.

  1. LovinMyHensInNC!

    LovinMyHensInNC! Chillin' With My Peeps

    We have had chickens for nearly eight years and have never had a a big problem with predators. I have lost about 15 chickens just in the last couple of months. Sometimes I find the bodies, sometimes I don't. Sometimes wings are removed, sometimes heads are removed. Sometimes I see no visible signs of injury.... just a dead bird on the ground. It seems like when an attack happens, multiple birds at a time become victims. My birds free range a large cattle-fenced pasture with my goats. I know it is not 100% secure and we are working on that but I don't think coyotes or dogs are getting in there.

    So.... this morning (9:30am) I noticed there was another attack. 2 hens and my rooster. The rooster was about 5 yards from the coop with no signs of injury. One hen was about ten yards from the coop with her head missing and loose feathers circled around her. I cannot find the other hen. There are feathers scattered throughout the coop but I can't tell if it is more than normal. I have not had any trouble with eggs missing. These are adult heavy weight birds. I know we have possums, coyotes, hawks, owls, raccoons, house cats, and who knows what else in our area (Western NC).

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. bostick18

    bostick18 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 27, 2015
    abbeville la
    Puzzling for sure. Are we sure they aren't sick and passing on the ground and then being scavenged on by say a neighborhood cat?
     
  3. LovinMyHensInNC!

    LovinMyHensInNC! Chillin' With My Peeps

    I don't think so.... there has been no signs of illness.
     
  4. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    7,856
    1,909
    421
    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    Hi,
    Oh what shame, sigh. Maybe some help here:
    Carnivores and Mammalian Predators Damage Assessment
    Damage Identification General Principles
    http://icwdm.org/inspection/livestock.asp
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    Texas Natural Resources Server
    Evaluation of Suspected Predator Kills
    http://texnat.tamu.edu/wildlife-management/evaluation-of-suspected-predator-kills/
    -----------------------
    Poultry Predator Identification: A Guide To tracks And Signs
    http://ouroneacrefarm.com/poultry-predator-identification-a-guide-to-tracks-and-sign/
    -------------------------
    BYC: Poultry Predator Identification
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/18670/poultry-predator-identification
    ---------------------------
    Extension Service article:
    Predator Management for Small and Backyard Poultry Flocks
    http://articles.extension.org/pages/71204/predator-management-for-small-and-backyard-poultry-flocks
    ----------------------
    Could it be a mink or weasel? Could it be one of them? How about putting out a live catch trap with peanut butter and canned tuna side by side. that ought to attract the majority of varmints.
    Sorry for your losses,
    Karen
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2016
  5. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    7,856
    1,909
    421
    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    How about putting the 2 Pyrs out with them and see what happens?
    Best,
    Karen
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2016

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