Bird missing from tree

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Niss, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. Niss

    Niss Songster

    Apr 29, 2011
    I have some Silver Speckled Hamburgs that insist on roosting in a large spruce tree next to the coop. Two nights ago I lost 2 of 4. No body or mess, just some feathers in the area. Last night we caught the others and made them sleep inside. Then set out two live traps. This am the bait was gone and the traps had not gone off.
    We are in a rural area of western PA with a mix of mixed forests and hay fields/old strip mines. DH doesn't think an owl could grap them out of such a thick tree, so we're thinking feral cat, coon, possum, or fisher. Since traping was ineffective, we may put out poison that TSC recomended, but I would still like to know what it is to better direct our deterant and fortification efforts. Any ideas?

  2. lleighmay

    lleighmay Songster

    May 21, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    PLEASE do not put out poison indiscriminately- you may kill innocent animals including peoples' pets. Not only will you directly poison animals but others can be killed by feeding on whatever originally ate the poison. Keep the birds locked up and continue your trapping efforts- at least that way you can see what you catch and then decide what to do with it.
  3. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    My Coop
    Owls love to roost in and hunt in thick conifers... including spruce trees. While other predators are very possible, I would not rule an owl out! I don't live terribly far from you and our Great Horned Owl population in the area is rising, and they are large enough to take full grown chickens.
    Really, your best option would be to make sure that the birds are locked up at night and if you feel the need, keep setting your trap.
  4. Niss

    Niss Songster

    Apr 29, 2011
    We typically do lock everyone in at night but we have a few birds that just don't want to come in.

    If we put out poison, and I'm a little reluctant for the reasons you gave, it would only be set at night when our niegbor's cat and our dog are in for the night.
  5. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Do they come when you bring out treats? If so, lure them into the coop and keep them locked up there for several days--re-teaching them where beddy-bye is. I concur that it is probably an owl.

  6. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Songster

    Put the bird back in the coop and lock them down for a while and maybe they will learn to love the security unless the coop is too hot. (if it is, Ventilate!)

    Could be a bird or a climbing critter got them as chickens are helpless at night while roosting.

    As to the trap, be sure it's staked down and play with the sensitivity of the pan to have better results. I agree with avoiding poison, lost too many dogs to it thru primary and secondary poisoning.
  7. Niss

    Niss Songster

    Apr 29, 2011
    We did get the 2 surviving Hamburgs in yesterday and so everyone was locked up over night. They won't be allowed to free range until Satuday, and maybe by then they will be back to thinking inside is okay for bedding down.

    Tell me more about adjusting the trap, please. It didn't come with much in the way of instructions.

    Although, if it was an owl niether the live trap or the poison will work, huh? Then what? I know it's a big no no to shoot them.
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I also vote owl or climbing critter (coon, probably). Poison is not your best option since you will most likely kill something other than your target animals. Even if it's not your neighbor's cat or dog, what about other animals wandering through that aren't bothering your birds? We don't hesitate to shoot predator animals that come near our buildings, but are fine leaving them be when they are behaving themselves.

    Put the bird back in the coop and lock them down for a while and maybe they will learn to love the security unless the coop is too hot. (if it is, Ventilate!)

    This is sound advice if you want to keep your remaining birds alive.
  9. Pele

    Pele Songster

    Feb 25, 2011
    Owls are the most likely problem, from your description. Raccoons are nasty and messy about their kills, and tend to eat right there. You'd be finding more than feathers.

    Your live trap was probably raided by a rat or mouse, which would be too light to trigger, depending on how sensitive the pan is. Just put the birds inside for the night. Humans havn't been doing that for hundreds of years just because they think it's fun. Chickens don't fend for themselves well.

  10. animalpro24

    animalpro24 Songster

    May 13, 2011
    Quote:It sounds like a bird of prey, the animals you thought it could be would leave a body. You would be surprised in what birds can do to get in and around trees.

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