Chicken CSI: help solve a murder

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by cheirogloss, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. cheirogloss

    cheirogloss In the Brooder

    Aug 23, 2009
    Lenoir, NC
    Attack 1: 1.5 weeks ago, suspect did not make it into the run; rooster had feathers pulled from his chest, neck and under his left wing; all feathers were outside the coop, perp reached in through the wire

    Attack 2: 2 nights ago, suspect entered coop by moving a 4x4 locust post and dug a "tunnel" about the diameter of a 2 liter pop bottle under the buried wire into the run; killed rooster and dragged rooster out of coop through a different hole (also dug under the wire); the body of the rooster was never recovered, the only evidence of murder were some feathers

    Attack 3: last night, two of the hens roosted in a tree too high for us to get them with a ladder; hen one was killed approximately 200 ft from her roosting spot in the middle of our concrete driveway, she obviously made a run for it and made it that far; her body was taken leaving only feathers; hen two was rescued as she was chased through our yard at full speed by a dark-colored suspect approximately the size of a large cat (hen 1 was already dead and gone at this point, suggesting the possibility of multiple suspects); suspect fled on foot into the woods; speed seemed too fast for a racoon or possom but we don't think it is possible for a fox to flush two hens out of a tree at 25 ft of height; suspect ignored a havahart trap with sardine bait placed at the point of previous coop breech.

    All attacks took place between 4 and 6 am. The only attack we heard was the first, which woke us up because the roo was fighting the perp. We knew the attack was happening this morning because DH heard the chickens after he woke up for his alarm at 5:45. I was outside within minutes and that's when I rescued hen 2 as she was chased through the yard.

    So, my question for you is, what is our perp? It takes the bodies, chases the chickens down on foot at a speed as fast as full chicken speed, ignores sardines, and only kills one chicken at a time (only took the roo the night it got away with it in the coop, and only got one last night because we came to the rescue).

    Any ideas?
  2. BayMinetteChickenMom

    BayMinetteChickenMom In the Brooder

    Aug 6, 2009
    Racoons can run pretty fast. Could you see a tail on the suspect? In NC bobcats could also be suspect.
  3. momreda

    momreda Songster

    Aug 31, 2009
    Cumberland Furnace, TN
    Maybe you should use a whole raw chicken as bait for your trap.
  4. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    I'd think coon or fox.
    I doubt a bobcat would dig when they can climb so well.
  5. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    Sounds like a fisher cat to me and for your sake I hope it isn't. They are bad news.
  6. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    I'm thinking bobcat at this point, that's some pretty deternined digging, uprooting, climbing and chasing... raccons can be fast, but not 'that' fast IMO. This really sounds like a cat. Cats WILL dig if they don't feel secure because the fence doesn't feel like it will support their weight.

    I'd have said coyote, except for the tree thing. So yeah, cat or coon, either way, it's trouble!

    After the birds are locked in the coop, if you have dirt around the coop, rake the ground so footprints will show clearly, that will tell you. If the ground is too hard for that, sprinkle flour through a sieve or colander all around so it makes a nice film, then you can see tracks easily too. (not if it's raining though, but this doesn't sound like it's going to be solved overnight mores the pity)
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009
  7. urban dreamer

    urban dreamer Songster

    Sep 28, 2009
    Sherwood, AR
    In my opinion, coon. You'd be surprised how fast one of those little b***erds can be.
  8. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    Yes, coons can be very fast I agree, but coons usually eat on the spot, they don't often carry the birds off, cats almost always do. (as do canids, but they usually kill more than one and then carry off one or two at the most) We need ABBY from NCIS for this! ((LOVE ABBY!!))
  9. cheirogloss

    cheirogloss In the Brooder

    Aug 23, 2009
    Lenoir, NC
    Would a feral, domesticated cat be a fair suspect? With the exception of digging into the chicken run, the critter I saw running was very graceful and more than coon like. Thoughts?
  10. TexasVet

    TexasVet Songster

    Nov 12, 2008
    Willis TX
    Coon or bobcat, but my money's on the coon. A large one can move pretty darn fast, especially if startled. And at my place, during this time of year, they usually carry the chickens off. In the spring and summer they tend to eat them on the spot, so I suspect that they're carrying food back for their varmint brood to consume.

    I've trapped 2 coons and 1 possum in the last week, but I'm really after the bobcat that's developed a taste for my largest, fattest hens. [​IMG]

    Kathy, Bellville TX

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