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chicken massacre in broad daylight?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by tanjagus, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. tanjagus

    tanjagus New Egg

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    Jun 28, 2016
    Hi,
    I'm new to this forum, but not new to raising chickens. I've had a small backyard flock for over ten years but recent events have me baffled and maybe someone out there has had a similar experience that can help shed some light on my problem. In March 2/3 of my flock was killed in early morning hours. Six chickens were killed and only damage was one head missing. That incident was my fault, in that there was a mixup in family communication and no one closed the chickens in for the night. However, just yesterday around 10/30 am in full sunlight, 5 chickens were killed. The bodies were left intact except again, one head missing. I've never had a predator strike during the daylight except Hawks. Any idea what it might be?
    :(
     
  2. Poultry parent

    Poultry parent Chillin' With My Peeps

  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    southern Michigan
    Welcome, and so sorry for your losses. Dogs, coyotes, and foxes would be the problem here. Lock your survivors in until you get this resolved. I had a daytime fox take ten birds one day a few years ago, and I alerted the neighbors, including people who had chickens within a fair distance. It payed off when someone a mile away was able to get a shot the following week. We saw the fox, who was very ill with mange, so had a sure thing. Sad. Mary
     
  4. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 18, 2013
    Pennsylvania
    Quote: I am so jealous of people who are able to either shoot or trap foxes. Especially when the fox hangs around or climbs a fence or door, taking his time. They're our main problem here and we have tried hav-a-hart and snare traps. We've caught raccoons and possums. Never a fox.
    Two nights ago something knocked in a screened window in a coop I was growing a few cockerels out and one was missing.
    [​IMG] We can hear the foxes and recently saw two adults and three kits in an unfenced area of the back yard. By the time my husband got his gun they were gone.
    He's tried carrying the gun. No foxes. If he sets it down or thinks they are gone they're back. How canny of them.
    Our chickens are locked up now but the predators weren't satisfied with that. After DH repaired the damage and fortified the window, we placed a trap right under it last night baited with tuna fish. I was sure we would get something. NOPE!!!!!
    Husband thought maybe a raccoon because the foxes seem to stay outside the fence area. There was no sign of the missing bird at all. No feathers, nothing. He was 7 weeks old, maybe the size of a bantam
    After reading the description of Tanjagus' birds I was wondering if a wandering neighbor's dog killing for sport or fun since with the one exception the birds weren't eaten or the bodies carried away.
    It's frustrating!
    [​IMG]
     
  5. FarmerMac

    FarmerMac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 28, 2014
    Virginia
    We have over 50 chickens that free range so when we lose one to predators, we don't notice it until a few day have passed. Yesterday, earlier in the day, I noticed that one of the broody hens was with her three babies outside the fence. Sometimes when the chickens get scared out in the wood, they make the clucking sound, alarming others of danger. Yesterday, I heard one of the hens cluck but this time was different, it was long cluck as a painful scream, I ran to see what had happened and I notice that three of the babies were in the coop by themselves; they looked scared and were calling for their mom. I went back in the woods to see if I could find any sign (feathers or blood) but I could not find anything. I put the three little ones in a cage inside the coop; they kept calling for their mom. A few hours later I went to check on the little ones. I saw that the mom was back in the coop but acted strange. She was missing feathers so I picked her up to inspected her for wounds, there were some puncture on her back and sides, not sure if it was a fox or something else.
    Here you can see the puncture holes on her. She is in a cage with her babies and will keep her there for a few days.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Poultry parent

    Poultry parent Chillin' With My Peeps

    i'm not sure what but it looks like something bit her. clean it very well
     
  7. FarmerMac

    FarmerMac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 28, 2014
    Virginia
    That is what I am thinking, maybe a fox, coyote or a dog. I hope to see what it is so I can take care of it with 00 shot
     
  8. Poultry parent

    Poultry parent Chillin' With My Peeps

    make sure you clean it and keep an eye out for infection!
     
  9. tanjagus

    tanjagus New Egg

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    Jun 28, 2016
    Thanks for your suggestions and comments. I am leaning toward thinking it is a fox. My backyard has a 6 foot fence around it and I have 2 big dogs that patrol the yard. The chicken run also is inside the fenced yard with another 6 foot fence around it with netting over the top. The predator was smart enough to know that the dogs were in the house and waited until I drove away for an hour to visit the chicken coop. I've seen a possum around it at night but never during the day. There is a fox in the neighborhood and has been seen during day hours so I'm guessing that's what is getting in. Unfortunately, I am left with one young hen that miraculously escaped during the masacre. I don't want to get any more chickens until I have the coop secured so I will find a home for her so she isn't alone.
     
  10. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

    7,266
    1,572
    356
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Don't give up on chickens over this! Mary
     

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