Can anyone help me figure out what happened.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by The Sheriff, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. The Sheriff

    The Sheriff Overrun With Chickens

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    My coop is the entire right 1/3 of this barn.

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    It is solid, well built and there are no points of entry for predators.

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    There is a wall with a screen door separating the coop area from my brooder/incubator room.

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    The weak link in this coop is this lousy automatic pop door that fails to close frequently.

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    When I went down to the coop yesterday morning I found the screen door pushed in past the stops into the brooder room. I had to use a tool to pry it away from the latch to push it back to the other side. It looked like a fight had gone on. I didn't notice anything amiss except a few feathers on the floor so I went about my day. The birds free range over acreage and all come back to the coop at night. Most nights I go down and check on them and do a head count. I didn't that night. I did wonder why I didn't get as many eggs as usual.

    This morning I went down and saw a lot more feathers on the ground outside and inside in the coop. The chickens had already left for free range so I couldn't count them. DH was mowing and found a huge pile of feathers a few feet from the pop door. When the chickens returned to the coop tonight, six were missing. All three of my roosters are accounted for but 6 hens missing. All that was left was piles of feathers. No blood, no bodies, no nothing, just feathers. What could have done this? I think something got into the coop when the door didn't close last night, and then killed them as they left the roosts. My roosts are high and unless it flies, I do not see how it could have gotten them on the roosts. I put the game cam out tonight and I'll see if I get anything on it. These were my Icelandic hens. I have been working with this breed for over two years and these were some of my foundation stock. I cannot believe this happened. I am angry at myself for not ripping that door off and sending it back. If anyone has any ideas what might have done this please let me know.
    Thanks for your time.

    Mary
     
  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    A Coyote or a large dog is most likely.

    Putting out a camera won't help much, but a strong snare set in the doorway might
     
  3. wolftracks

    wolftracks Spam Hunter

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    Oh Mary, I'm sorry about your girls. Wish I had an idea to help you out. I still want to try and hatch out some of your eggs eventually.

    My mom owned a coyote once and that sucker could get over an 8ft fence. Could it be weasels or raccons?

    I'd be thinking dog too, but they can be pretty dumb and bark their heads off when trying to get to something.

    Hopefully you'll catch it on camera and none of the other birds disappear.

    A trap does sound like a good idea though.
     
  4. aprophet

    aprophet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:if all 6 are really gone and none are hiding sounds like a yote teaching pups to hunt
     
  5. The Sheriff

    The Sheriff Overrun With Chickens

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    The hole through the pop door is only a five inch square. We put a wooden frame inside it to keep the baby goats from going in the coop through the pop door. I don't think a coyote could get through a 5 inch square space. At least some of the hens, probably half, were attacked in the coop because there are a large amount of feathers in there and the screen door was pushed in. We found two piles of feathers in the yard. Thanks for all the replies.
     
  6. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    Foxes tend to leave only piles of feathers behind... and a fox could easily fit through that door
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Not all foxes are the same, especially if they have babies to feed, but a fox does not usually take several chickens at a time. They do often leave just a pile of feathers. And a fox is extremely good at climbing. A fox with babies is highest on my list of suspects. I would not totally write off a coyote either, even with that small opening. They will often surprise you at what they can get through. Something obviously ate the entire body where that pile of feathers was. I hardly ever totally write of a raccoon as a suspect, even if this is not their regular mode of operations. I just don't like or trust raccoons.

    Those are my top suspects with them totally disappearing except for feathers, though I realize I am probably reaching with raccoons. Other things I can think or would probably eat it on the spot or not carry it very far away to eat it, would leave much of the body, would likely only take one, or would randomly kill larger numbers. But not all predators read the book.

    Yiou might put a layer of flour around the pop door to get some tracks, if your conditions allow.

    Good luck with this. It will help you plan how to handle it once you know what it is. And let us know what happens with that pop door. I would guess there will be changes there.
     
  8. poseygrace

    poseygrace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry for your loss! Let us know what you find.
     
  9. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    What ever it was had to be strong enough to push the screen door in past the stops, and I can't see a fox being able to do that.

    A large coon might.

    Either way a snare would catch it
     
  10. The Sheriff

    The Sheriff Overrun With Chickens

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    We had coon tracks on the deck last week.

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    I respectfully disagree with those who think it was a coyote. This is our pop door and the opening is barely 4 inches wide by 5 inches tall. A small baby goat tried to force it's way in and couldn't do it so I doubt a coyote could. I'm new to the country life so maybe I am wrong but I sure don't see that happening.

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