Chicken Massacare!!!!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by theguy67, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. theguy67

    theguy67 Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 23, 2010
    I have not posted in a while, but I am fairly new to this site and I posted in december about incubating and hatchling care. Well I hatched 20 eggs, 18 survived to become pullets. I moved 14 of them out of the green house ( where I raised them) into the seperated pen inside the coop. ( I lost 1 by now from introduction attempt). The first week was great until one night 9 were killed. I moved the remaining 5 in to the green house with 3 younger birds. Later I moved all 8 into a tortoise pen (that was vacant) outdoors until I fixed the damage in the coop. The tortoise pen is a 6x6 box for a desert species in the summer time. It had a wier bottom and lid. Some how a possum managed to lift the lid that was TIED DOWN and kill/eat 5 more birds. We got the opossum and thought that was the end. I moved the remaining 3 into a bird cage back inside the coop after I removed the divider. Once they were placed into the vacant bird cage another 2 were taken by a skunk.The last pullet was killled last night and I was just informed that 2 of the layers were just killed. Altho , when I left to investigate one was still alive, but missing half its face. After putting the still living hen out of its missery and tossing all 3 animals ( including skunk) out into the field next to the 5 pullets and opossum from days before I come to you for help. I wish to obtain more hens but I would like to have a better, planed out habitate before anything is decided upon. I have 2 remaining hens and 2 remaining roosters. ( one was bought as a pullet and was told it was a female). The remaining 4 birds were injuried as well but nothing serious. I am going to sepearte the roosters for now until something is decided.

    I thougth about removing all the chips, and putting down chicken wire then, once agian, cover back up with fresh shavings. I am not sure how this will do agianst preditors. although the wire on the tortoise pen to prevent burrowing out kept the opossum from digging in.

    Any advice on how to handle this situation would be greatly appreciated. And BTW, we would of saved the meat if it wasnt a skunk that did this. I can still taste the saturated air that filled the coop with the spray. I would like to build back up my flock( since I enjoy breeding chickens) but if my time is going to be wasted in myself continueously loseing chickens I dont see the point.
  2. theguy67

    theguy67 Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 23, 2010
    I'd also like to take this info and apply it to the green house. It has dirt floor and not very secure barrier ment to keep tortoises/turtles in. ( which dosent take much). I would be even more devistated if I lost one of them since they have been around for over 10 years.
  3. mulewagon

    mulewagon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 13, 2010
    Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about all this! What you need is hardware cloth - a sturdy mesh about a half inch square. Fasten it firmly onto your wooden frames with screws and washers, and make a skirt on the ground outside at least a foot or so wide.

    Make sure you don't have any gaps - small predators like weasels can crawl through very small holes. Close the chickens in at night with a secure latch - raccoons can open doors.

    There's a lot of other deterrents, of course, but if you do this, you'll block most things. If you want to build a coop from scratch, there's a Coop Design link up at the very top, with lots of good ideas. Good luck!
  4. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    Learning curve when maintaining everything's favorite prey animal can often be pretty steep. If you use the SEARCH function and enter: Predator And Proofing you'll find that the hour-or-so investment of time will serve you and your chooks well.

    In the meantime, get a couple of live traps to work the preemptive defense:

  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    A very good place to go is the Coop & Run Design section here at BYC. You'll find lots of good ideas there that you can adapt to your greenhouse or use to build a whole new set-up. Wishing you the best of luck.
  6. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    Keep on trapping.

    Re-enforce your run like this.

    Add an electric fence. Doing anything less after your experince is an excercise in futility, as you have stated. There are critters in your neighborhood who like chickens, and they mean to kill them.
  7. theguy67

    theguy67 Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 23, 2010
    thank you all for such great input and support. I am going to add more hens to the flock ASAP but for now its time to secure the "nest". Making the coop larger would be good if I wish to lock them in. ( it is only sized for approx 6 chickens, and even that is crowded.) We will see what this weekend has in store. I saved 5 eggs that were laid by the hens to hatch out more chicks.
  8. journey11

    journey11 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2009
    Sorry for your losses. I hate coming upon a sight like that so unexpectedly. An opossum got my favorite hen yesterday and now I realize it was him breaking eggs in the nest after I had initially thought it was egg eaters. I've gone years with no predators to bother me, except for neighbor's dogs ( [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] ), but now I will have to tighten down security too.

    I hurried yesterday to fix the problem and I used 1" chicken wire to skirt my barn and lots of rocks. I know this isn't the most permanent solution, but it will hold up for at least a couple years and I had plenty of it on hand at the time. I am going to run electric too. I priced it at TSC and think I can do it for about $60. When you consider your investment in your chickens, I think that is a fair trade. I am also going to go ahead and invest in a small animal trap, which seems like a quick and effective way to eliminate the problem.
  9. theguy67

    theguy67 Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 23, 2010
    Yesterday I placed wire underneat the pen after jacking it up with blocks. I left afew inches of over hang outside that i later covered up with dirt. It seems to have worked, but we will not know until there is a 2nd attempt. When the pullets were in the vacant tortoise pen the opossum could not dig under due to the wire underneath, but was able to lift the lid. So this plan seems fool proof for now. Lets just say, i probably could keep dozens of rabbits in there safely with out any escapes lol
  10. magoochie

    magoochie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 26, 2010
    Grantsburg, WI
    Just want to say, that if you are just putting the dead ones out in a field and not burying them or putting them in a garbage can, you are going to draw in more predators. They will smell it and have a feast, bringing them closer to your place again.

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