Can you identify what is taking my chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Epona, May 10, 2007.

  1. Epona

    Epona Hatching

    May 10, 2007
    Well this is a new one for me. I have something showing up every day between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. and harassing my chickens. Yet I've never seen it. Today it took chicken #2, and the odd thing is that there aren't even any feathers left at the scene of the crime. I've had previous experience with hawks, foxes, raccoons, skunks and coyotes (all of which we have here) but in the getting of the chickens, some feathers are shed. The hawks cannot get air to pick up the chickens I've found and end up chasing them around on the ground trying to lift them up to fly away.

    I try locking them up in the henhouse earlier, but they are so miserable they now make a break for it to get past me when I let them out in the morning, and then stay wandering the yard and won't go back into the chicken yard.

    It is as if aliens are taking my chickens! These are the preditors I have, do you think any of them could sneak up, grab a chicken out of a pack of eight, and disappear without leaving a feather, just a whole lot of really upset chickens behind? We have black bear, bobcat, cougar, coyote, skunk, fox, raccoon, hawks, eagles.

    My yard is about 3 acres in a rural area of the Columbia Gorge, no neighbors right nearby. The chickens are in the yard immediately adjacent to the house. I've searched the property, my neighbors' properties, and don't find feathers. Just now the same thing happened again, this time my aracauna hen Goldie. So I've been losing barred plymouth rocks and aracaunas. Mature, heavy hens. My roo is an aracauna and keeps his hens together and is protective of his (formerly) 7 hens. Now I'm down to 4. [​IMG]

    So the question is, what can sneak up, attack, and get away without causing so much as a single feather to drop off my chicken???????
  2. Critter Crazy

    Critter Crazy Songster

    Apr 19, 2007
    Binghamton, NY
    I lost 7 birds in one week, just like that! Couldnt figure out what was taking them, cause there were no feathers to be found, and most predators dont come around till dark. i Finally found out, my Neighbors dog was getting lose everyday! Since we caught on, and the neighbors heard about it from us, the dog has been locked up, and no birds have gone missing! Just a thought!
  3. AccidentalFarm

    AccidentalFarm Songster

    Mar 29, 2007
    I believe a bobcat could do this undetected. They are quick and silent.
  4. I'm so sorry to read this.

    Hopefully someone will have an answer for you...[​IMG]

  5. Hscorpio

    Hscorpio Hatching

    Apr 2, 2007
    Fox, Coyote, or bobcat could be possible, but sounds like a dog. The chance of finding out whos dog it is will be hard because people do not like to admit to them finding your dead chicken in their dogs mouth(accountability). You did not mention your security which can add or eliminate certain predators, but if you are sure its between 4-5pm, and no trace then it sounds like a dog, maybe someone coming home and letting a dog out after work.
  6. Epona

    Epona Hatching

    May 10, 2007
    I do have a neighbor about a half mile up the hill directly behind our place with a lab who has been here before. Don't know if he eats chicken, though. Hadn't thought of a dog. Well, low and behold, poor bedraggled Goldie reappeared last night. My frantic run and noise making when the chickens first yelled possibly helped and whatever had her dropped her. She's okay this morning though a bit freaked out still. I will keep a good watch today and see if I see dog coming. I have two dogs, both inside dogs, and my spaniel tends to bark at everything and nothing, yet he never peeps when this has happened. Thanks for the advice, currently, I am suspecting dog strongly. I also have a blind small pony and two rescue sheep, so if it was a larger predator, I would think they'd head for the sheep, or even the kitties we have around.
  7. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    Quote:[​IMG] [​IMG]
  8. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    My guess is a dog also. Especially a lab. They are bred to pick up birds without losing a feather. But especially because of the time of day it comes makes me think the dog is being turned loose, or let out of the house, unsupervised for a while when Master comes home from work. I hope you can get this problem solved quickly!
  9. therealshari

    therealshari Songster

    Apr 18, 2007
    Beryl UT
    I'm a little late to the party on this... have you tried clearing the area around your pen (as in level off the dirt) and then watering it heavily? Any animal would most likely leave a track.

    That should make it much easier to identify the animal.

    If it is a dog, I believe you have the right to shoot the animal on sight in Oregon and ask questions later.

    If you can prove who owns the dog, they are liable for 3 times the damages of livestock.
  10. missusduray

    missusduray Songster

    May 20, 2007
    Northern Minnesota
    Also, if the dog is friendly i have heard that you can hang onto the dog until the owner pays for the dead chickens. Or threaten to take the dog to the local authorities and they can make the owner pay for the damages. Most dogs will willingly get into a car thinking that they are going for a ride. But if it seems aggressive then dont try this at all.
    Just my thoughts.

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