Chicken house raided, what predator could it have been?


8 Years
May 25, 2011
Our chicken house was raided the other night and there are about 5 chickens missing. There were 1 or 2 in the chicken yard dead. The only bird in that chicken yard that's still out there alive is a broody hen that's sitting on a nest in a corner. We have a relatively low wire fence (I guess it's about 4 feet) and we couldn't find any evidence that anything had gone over or under the fence. There were, and are, chicken feathers strewn all over the yard but we didn't see any feathers outside the yard. The entire area around the chicken yard is free of trees and easily visible, that's why we can't figure out how there are no signs of a predator entering the yard. From what I've read I guess it could have been a fox or a coyote but I don't see how either of them could carry 5 chickens over the fence and have no evidence be visible. We couldn't find any hair or fur on the fence or anything. What do y'all think it could have been?
P.S. We live in North East Texas.

---EDIT: They go in their chicken house at night which is where they were when it was raided. This happened AT NIGHT. The house is secure but it does have a small opening where the chickens go in and out, whatever it was would have to have been small enough to fit through the little door. I don't think it was an owl unless owls are known to go inside large chicken houses and spook all the chickens out of the house and into a mad fury in the yard where it then kills 6 or 7 of them and carries off 5 of them. We have another small flock of chickens in our goat pen which is adjacent to this chicken yard and all of those chickens were unaffected. The only live chicken in the other yard is a broody hen and she was sitting on her nest when this happened.
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Could easily have been air-borne. I have mine covered on all sides and the top to keep most anything out. If you read on here in the predator section you will find that there are lots of critters that like to eat chicken or even just kill them. Hardware cloth is one of the best materials to use.
Is your coop closed up at night? If not, it could be almost any predator. Probably with that many missing, it was a pack of coyotes or feral dogs. If you are lucky, some of the chickens hid in the bushes/ trees and they may come back. The predators will be back for sure, so reinforce your coop with welded wire if you were using chicken wire. Sorry for your loss, been there , felt that. It stinks. Consider traps, game camera, gun for protection. Good luck.Deb
Possible owl or another night bird of prey, comes in in the night, open area so easy to glide in, no overhead cover on the run, carcass' carried off,

You need to get very busy very fast and fix that coop & run or you're gonna loose the rest. whatever the killer is, chances they are feeding little ones and dinner at your house is an easy food source

Pen sides made out of real wire, covered with netting minimum, lockable / secure coop and entrance and you might be able to save your remaining bird(s) and you're newest additions
From what I have been told, this sounds like a group of coyote. I have been dealing with a coyote predation problem in MA and was recently in touch with the Fish & Wildlife biologist. Her words, "The coyote is an opportunistic, reward based hunter".

At the time of the attack I did not have anything in place except wooden fencing which the hens were roosting on.

I have since completely enclosed their area, added 3 strands of e-wire (150' feet of wire on a 3 mile charger) positioned 5" off the fencing and 10" off the fencing, 12" high PVC lattice on the inside of the fence, white twinkle lights (look like eyes). At the suggestion of the biologist, I am baiting the wire with 2" bacon strips (raw) 4-6 pcs over a 40' run. If they continue to visit I will add some motion detection flood lights & radio.

Good luck.
A weasel can fit into very small holes. As whole chickens are missing then it's probably not that. Your run you said was unharmed and no sign of digging so your most likely looking at an owl that flew in or raccoons that climbed over the fence. Netting over your run is up to you but the simplicity of closing the coop door at night, every night, will stop losses.
First of all make a door for the spot the chickens run in and out of so they are truely locked up at night. 4 ft fence isn't hard to bounce over if it was a fox or coyote. Chicken wire is useless unless its only used over the run area to keep the airbourne predators out. I am sorry for your loss but I would do something about it asap because whatever it was now knows you have an all u can eat chicken buffet just waiting for them. They will be back.
I agree, close up that hole at night. Could have been coon, possum, fox. Without that hole covered your chickens are easy prey. It will be back for more. So sorry for all your losses.

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