Bold Predator got my chicks HELP!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by violetsky, May 22, 2011.

  1. violetsky

    violetsky Songster

    Feb 14, 2011
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Last night I was about an hour late locking the coop. All the bigger chickens where on their roosts
    but I had two younger chickens that were in the habit of roostering under the coop, requiring me to
    put them in every night. The run they were in is a solid 6 foot fence with a four foot gate. They also
    have a big, albeit lazy dog just outside the run. A big picture window faces the coop and is about 5 feet
    away the lights were on and people were on the other side. I went out and found the chicks missing and
    searched all over with a flashlight without luck. The next morning I found the body of one, uninjured except it was
    missing its head, (I will spare you a photo) on the other side of fence where the dog was, maybe two feet away the other
    chick was long gone and probably eaten. Once before when I was late, like 20 minutes after dark something grabbed a half grown chick. That time I
    heard something rapidly running away. I live in suburbia but we coyotes, foxes, loose dogs/cats, owls and
    opposums. There is also some kind of rat, it looks cleaner and smaller than a city rat with a long tail. What's bothering
    me is something is lurking about and grabs a chick every single time I'm just a little late locking them in. The first time I was late was months ago. What is so fearless and sneaky it will go around/near a dog and have people that could see them if they looked through the window, but of course no one did and be able to take off
    with two sturdy chicks unnoticed? Oh, there were deep scratch marks in the ground facing the fence which could of been my dogs, but not likely, and no mess or loose
    feathers or sign of struggle. All the other chickens were very calm. I'm real puzzled. I need to know what it is so I can take measures to stop
    them. (electric wire around the fence will stop climbers but not owls)

    I guess the 3 clues to the identity are (1) Very Bold (2) Always lurking about, (we do back to woods) (3) eats head off but leaves body alone.

    Thanks for any suggestions or guesses or similar problem.
  2. wvfoxhunter

    wvfoxhunter In the Brooder

    Jun 21, 2011
    Lewisburg, WV
    We have had chickens disappear in the middle of the day and find there bodies a little bit later with their head or head and wings missing. We think its a fox thats getting ours because we have seen him in the yard and all over the olace so that could be what is getting your chickens. An owl probably wont go inside of the coop to get a chick though so thats probably not your problem
  3. animalcrazy52

    animalcrazy52 Hatching

    Jun 15, 2011
    i'm so sorry about your chicks. i would rule out foxes and coyotes because they take more than one bird at once and eat the whole body. I would also doubt it would be an owl or hawk because they eat the whole bird. My guess would be either a racoon or an opossum since, but they do also eat meat from the breast area of the bird. If you live near water it could be a mink or weasel, but they are usually quite shy.
    perhaps a fence would help, or you could try trapping.Once again, i'm sorry about your chicks.
  4. noitulover

    noitulover Songster

    Apr 23, 2009
    Central Virginia
    I'm pretty sure raccoons, possums, and weasels eat the heads and leave the bodies. Most of those can be pretty "used" to humans too, as they forage in dumpsters and such. I would assume that it is a smaller predator (not a wolf/coyote/fox/dog), as they tend to take the whole animal.
  5. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Songster

    Try screening off the area where the little ones hang out, maybe they will move inside. Also try removing any ramp or ladder to the door and wrap the coop legs with metal to stop critters from climbing in. If you suspect a bird predator, throw a fruit tree net or deer fence over the top.
  6. aprophet

    aprophet Songster

    Jan 12, 2010
    chesapeake Va.

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