Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Sheldar, Jul 5, 2010.

  1. Sheldar

    Sheldar Hatching

    Jul 5, 2010
    I really am a newbie. We got day old chicks in April and have been loving and taking care of them just waiting until the day that they started laying eggs. We went camping for the weekend and when we got home today all 15 were dead.

    Reading other posts, I am wondering if maybe a hawk tormented them, but it seems odd that none of them flew out of the coop- as some of them do occasionally. Although, about an hour after my husband took all the carcasses out of the run we heard a hawk screaming as it flew over. Two of the chickens had been munched on a bit.

    I don't want this to be the end of my chicken raising, as I really do enjoy having them around. BUT I need to know what went wrong before I can even think of bringing anymore chickens home.

    They had plenty of water and food, so I am not considering that to be the problem at all.

    Thanks to anyone who can help me make some sense out of this!
  2. Mrs. Fluffy Puffy

    Mrs. Fluffy Puffy Fluffy Feather Farm

    Jan 26, 2010
    Texas, Panhandle
    Yep, sounds like a hawk. Did you run have a top? If it didn't there is your problem. They need a top. [​IMG] So sorry about all your chickens! That isn't a nice welcome home ... [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  3. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    This isn't enough info to go on. Munched on how? and if they could fly out of the coop, something could definitely get in to kill them all. Dogs will chase and kill them without eating them... if a hawk got in it would have eaten more than just a little munching.

    Here's a list I made for another site I belong to, maybe it'll help a little. Some I've put in from personal experience, some from the experience of people I know and trust, some from reading though I'm pretty sure of the sources too. It's not a perfect list, some people have different thoughts but it's as complete as I know how to make it.

    Dogs, Domestic Cats, Coyotes, Mink/Weasel/Martin, Raccoon, Raptors (Hawks/Eagles /Owls), People, Fox, Opossum, Skunk, Bear, Lynx, Mountain Lion, Cougar. I haven't said much about the lynx etc below because I don't have much real experience with them (I lived for 7 years where they were seen but they're very shy).

    Dog > By FAR!!!!! The Number one danger for most backyard flocks! Many birds in a flock will be mauled, killed, injured, dogs will chase and kill chickens for no good reason, to them it’s mostly “fun”. They’ll rarely eat any. Poorly kept dogs are a menace.

    Coyote > Somewhat like dogs, but they’ll come in pairs usually and scatter a flock, kill several because they get in a bit of a frenzy over all the wings and squawking etc, but then take away a couple out to the bush to eat. Once these guys find a likely source of food, they’ll return the next evening and the next and again and again.

    Domestic Cats > A feral cat could possibly kill a chicken, especially in an enclosed area, but it’s not easy and not common. Most people blame cats because they don’t realize how many raccoons, opossum, coyotes and fox are actually active in and very near cities and towns. Most well fed house-cats are pretty lame at trying to catch a chicken let alone kill one. It’s not impossible though.

    Various wild Cat species > I have limited experience with cats, I lived where Lynx were occasionally seen but they are very shy so never bothered us. Mountain Lions, Lynx, Bobcat, Puma etc will all take chickens if or when they can. They will carry their prey off to a safe spot to eat it where they feel safe. Once they find a source of easy food they tend to visit again periodical for another try.

    Mink/weasel/martin > Several killed, a lot of small bites, some portions eaten, especially heads and bellies. Mink do kill animals much larger than themselves and are incredibly fierce for their size. I have these since I live on a river… they're tricky to protect against, smart, agile, sneaky and hunt all hours of the day and night.

    Raccoon > Several birds may be killed or just one. Raccoons will often just eat the heads and crops. Because of their very dexterous paws, if a raccoon can't can’t get into a coop or enclosure but can reach a chicken through a fence or opening, it will ‘grab’ a chicken and hold onto it while it dismembers it. (yeah, gross I know)

    Hawk > One bird gone, a pile of feathers in an open area. Other parts nearby, sometimes only head eaten, depends on time of year (feeding young etc). Not all hawks will kill chickens, so don’t get worried about every sighting. The most likely ones are of the group called, “Broadwing Hawks” which is a larger type of hawk that includes: Red-tailed Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Rough-legged hawk, Ferruginous hawk and also, the Goshawk which is mostly in the very northern tier of the US and up into Canada.

    Owl > a lot like hawks, but owls usually (most say exclusively) hunt at night. IMO they also hunt in the very early dawn, and at dusk too. Most owls eat only field mice, shrews, voles and other similar fairly small vermin they can swallow whole. The only owl that is actually big enough to kill a chicken is a Great Horned Owl. Keep your chickens in a coop at night, they’ll be safe from these guys.

    People > Several birds gone, no sign of predator… yeah, it happens.

    Fox > Several birds killed, usually by a broken neck, only one taken away. You may find part of a corpse and/or feathers nearby, they do take away and don’t like to eat in the coop.

    Opossum > One or two birds dead, mauled. Mostly bellies eaten.

    Skunk > Much like an Opossum, and they love eggs. Biggest clue is the smell of course, even if they don't spray, they'll leave scent.

    Bear > door gone off of coop, fence destroyed, etc. you all knew that right?

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