Chicken got killed - suggestions for a flock protector

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by leighton3, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. leighton3

    leighton3 Chirping

    Mar 22, 2013
    Hi, one of my chickens died the other night, something attacked it, took the head and left the body. It happened at night and I have 3 chickens left and 6 ducks. None of the others made any noise or at least not enough to wake me. I am wondering now what to get as a "flock protector" I want something that will alert me to danger and possibly even try to scare any creatures off. Would you recommend a rooster or geese, and also which breed would be best?

  2. Kim Yuhas

    Kim Yuhas In the Brooder

    Dec 18, 2014
    That sucks sorry for the loss....I have a RIR but he is to aggressive with us humans and I have to get rid of him, he is a great protector though. If we are near each other I'd give him to you, I'm in CT.
  3. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    A rooster or goose isn't going to do you any good at night.
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Only a predator proof night time coop will protect your birds!!! Mary
    1 person likes this.
  5. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. .....

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    X2 -- are your birds confined or free ranged (both during the day and at night)? If there is confinement involved (ie a coop or run) during the hours in which the attack took place, it is time to revisit your setup and identify the areas in need of improvement to provide a secure confined area vs. an enclosed feeding station for the next time this predator visits (it will be back). If the birds are not confined it may be time to consider the use of a secure night enclosure which would still permit ranging during the daylight hours.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Show pictures of your setup. Be prepared to do some short-term fixes this evening to prevent a repeat of last night.
  7. kyexotics

    kyexotics Songster

    Sep 26, 2014
    After suffering many many loses and constantly increasing our measures(including completely covering runs with aviary netting), we still continued to lose birds...The last predator clawed a hole thru 1" plywood, another, earlier attack, a predator moved a 40lb tire and opened a latched door...We thought it was a person until we found the remains...So now we have "Sarge", a Great Pyranese...It will take a Mountain Lion to get past him and even then, only after a fight...He's 4 1/2 mths old...
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2014
  8. leighton3

    leighton3 Chirping

    Mar 22, 2013
    Thanks everyone. Did a walk around and fixed some of their outdoor run. Haven't had any issues since. Thinking I will still get a rooster to alert me to the danger if something should happen again.
  9. Free Feather

    Free Feather Songster

    A rooster is a good idea, he will help in the daytime. You will probably need more hens though.
  10. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Songster

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    Birds are very vulnerable at night. They have very poor night vision and their best defense is to stay still and quiet. I live in the mountains of Colorado where we have bears and mountain lions, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, raccoons, and weasles as well as hawks and owls. I've lost one pullet during daylight hours to a bobcat while my hens were out free ranging. I've never had a loss in my coop, which I built with a fully enclosed inner-run that is hardware cloth on the bottom and chicken wire on the top. The gates to the inner run are secured at night as well as the doors to the coop.

    However I raise meat birds in the summer and have had several bad mornings, coming out to find several dead or missing birds. I believe they've all been lost to raccoons who reach through small openings, grab a sleeping bird, pull it towards the opening and start gnawing away on whatever part of the poor bird it can reach. One of my worst losses was four of my 15 dual purpose roosters, so don't count on roosters protection at night. I think they'll be just as vulnerable as a hen once the sun goes down. I've had to fortify every grow-out pen I've built. Next one will be like Fort Knox!

    I purchased an Anatolian Shepherd puppy after the bobcat killed one of my pullets. He spends about 60 - 120 minutes a day outside either teathered or in his oversized run while the chickens are out free ranging. I haven't had any other day-time losses. However, in order to protect at night he'd need to be out there at night and I'd rather have hiim in guarding me.

    BTW, whether you decide to purchase an Anatolian or a Great Pyr, remember that these dogs, while having great livestock guardian instincts still need considerable training and time to mature. I've seen so many ASDs, Pys and ASD/Pry crosses listed on rescue sites at 8 - 18 months of age with descriptions like "didn't work out as a livestock guardian" when the poor dogs were still puppies. These dogs don't fully mature until they are close to 4 years old and usually shouldn't be left alone with chickens until they are probably 2 years old and have been exposed and working with them all that time. Their puppy natures can lead them to "play" with the chickens, which doesn't always end well.

    I went out free ranging every day with a baggie of chicken treats in one pocket and a bag of puppy treats in the other. I'd sit on a bench with a book and supervise free rangeing, calling the puppy and the chickens to me with treats. If the chickens ran or flapped or took a dust bath my puppy was allowed to investigate but not chase or pounce. At three years of age he is completely safe around chickens and turkeys, but he'd still might wander off and leave them if he was unconfined.

    Good luck.

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