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Chicken Massacre of 2015

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ziggy2106, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. ziggy2106

    ziggy2106 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 21, 2016
    Central South Dakota
    I have only had chickens for two years. I started with eighteen (I ordered 15 but I received extra and they did well!) They were mostly Buff and Light Brahma hens, with three Salmon Favorelle hens and three Salmon Favorelle Roosters, plus an adopted SF rooster that had been a 4H project. I only have one chicken left from that group, a Light Brahma hen. I also had two pairs of Snowflake bobwhites.

    I had gotten complacent last summer and started letting my chickens roam the barn and sheep pens. Suddenly my chickens started disappearing, and we were down to four. I locked them in the barn at night but I didn't slide the big wired door in front. My husband even sat in the barn with his gun a few nights with no luck. A few nights later the killers came back and yanked a pair of my quail through the chicken wire (!! Those poor things! The wire wasn't even broke! I can't imagine!) and my chickens were all gone too. Or so I thought. The next morning I was crying in my barn when my last hen just walks in the barn back to her coop. Smarty pants was hiding somewhere either outside or in front of the barn with the cats and avoided being eaten. She went in her coop and I made sure to lock the hold coop up.

    The next night the killers came back again for the other two quail, but this time we noticed my dog freaking out. My husband ran out with his gun and spotlight and killed this humongous raccoon. I mean the bugger was HUGE! It was a relief but the next morning I was looking into the backyard at my apple trees and I see these raccoon kits just pouring out of the tree. This mama had seven kits that she was sustaining off of my flock. I phoned my husband who was in his ranch office next door with an employee who gladly helped cull the family of raccoons down. Two got away through my pumpkin patch and into the tall grass but I haven't had a problem since.

    The survivor hen settled into her nest box and didn't move for weeks. I assumed that she was just depressed but she had a surprise for me! She had been incubating two eggs, but abandoned one once the first hatched. It was the only chick I had then entire time, but I love my Salmon Brahma pullet. I also received two Buttercup hens and another SF hen from the 4Hers again to keep my hen company. This spring I will be getting 15 more chicks, including all three variety of Brahmas and some Easter Eggers and three Cayuga ducklings. I am also expanding my coop into a covered run. Wish me luck!
     
  2. CochinLover1

    CochinLover1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 17, 2015
    Ohio
    My heart goes out to you! I had a chicken massacre last winter. Thanksgiving night I woke up to half of my breeding turkeys dead in their coop. Pieces of their necks were missing and we filled any holes and blocked up the coop. The next night, 15 of our chickens in the next stall/coop over had been killed as well. And the next day another 15. We tried to find any traces of whatever killed our birds with no luck. We blocked up the coop with extra support and the next day we had no losses. We thought that we had gotten rid of whatever had killed our birds only that we looked at our show/breeding buckeye pen... several hens' bodies up against different areas of the fence, where something had tried several times to pull the bodies through our fence. My father stayed out in the barn that night and shot the culprit, a mink. We were all so relieved that the killer was killed! It was so hard waking up every morning, wondering who would still be alive that morning. I also remember crying in my barn, holding the bodies of some of my favorite hens. So, best of luck to you!
     
  3. ziggy2106

    ziggy2106 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 21, 2016
    Central South Dakota
    I am so sorry to you as well! I'm glad you figured out the problem and I hope it doesn't happen again to either of us!
     
  4. Paganrose

    Paganrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2010
    Albany,, Wisconsin
    I feel for you! We have had issues with coons also. our property backs up to a state natural area and the coons are prolific. We free range and Coons by far have been our biggest predator issue.

    Our coop was an old corn crib that we refurbished it was originally open to the barn and the chickens preferred to roost in the rafters. After loosing our first couple of birds our first winter here we coon proofed the coop by adding a ceiling, coon proof latches and hardware cloth covering the windows. Then the coons learned to sneak into the coop right before dusk and wait for the birds to go in. We had been lucky that the chickens knew when he coons were in there and would roost in the sheep pen. We have caught and disposed of several coons inside our coop at dusk. We then started doing coon checks, fed the chickens in the coop before dusk and lock them in at that time to discourage the coons.

    One weekend at the end of last winter we took a 3 day vacation and left the chickens locked up in the coop. We came home to the pop door on the coop being busted in half where the wood was weaker. Feathers everywhere, half eaten birds, etc... Only had one lonely hen left. She refused to go into the coop (understandably) and we ended up catching 3 more coons over the course of the next week inside the coop, and the last hen also disappeared. Some of our birds were 5 years old and well loved. We took a year off from chickens after that devastation.

    Or coop now has had many boards replaced, along with a better functioning configuration that what we threw together when we moved here with our original flock. We are also planing on building a coon proof run for them for when we are away and in the evenings as soon as the ground thaws. We just got new chicks earlier this week. Here's to hoping to having less coon issues!
     
  5. ziggy2106

    ziggy2106 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 21, 2016
    Central South Dakota
    I wish you the best of luck! I am terrified to let my chickens out again, although I have been letting them out on the warmer days lately and they go in nicely at night. Fingers crossed that your new measures work!
     
  6. CochinLover1

    CochinLover1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 17, 2015
    Ohio
    My chickens didn't want to go into their coop after their devastation either. It broke my heart, knowing that my birds were afraid.
     
  7. 007Sean

    007Sean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 25, 2015
    South Central Texas
    Bummer, i feel your pain and loss. I loss 15 pheasants(Bianchi, Elliot, and Yellow Golden) to a nasty bunch of young rouge coons. I had just moved them to my outside brooders. The brooders are about 2 feet above the ground. The bottom covered in 1/2" hardware cloth, sides plywood and chicken wire. I live 1/2 mile from the Guadelupe river, a haven for coons. Pulled them through the wire...not a trace left, not even feathers, just a few spots of blood. At 1st thought someone had slipped in and took them, got 7 that night. They returned a week later and attacked again, got 3 more and scalped 5, and ate the toes off a couple of others and tore the thigh skin off one. I set steel traps around the brooders and waited....they returned again, 2 nights later, caught 2 coons, both males. Thought i had taken care of the marauders! Reset the traps anyway, caught 3 more, all males, again, the next night. They must have been litter mates. Haven't had anymore attacks since then. I still have the traps set, just incase i have unwelcomed guest. It's hard to lose birds when you spend so much time, blood, sweat taking care of them and think you have predator proof pens, and a bunch of marauders show up and wipe you out. Hope your next venture is more favorable.
     
  8. hotmessJess

    hotmessJess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 16, 2015
    Western NC
    This is so terrible, Ziggy! Truly sorry to hear it.

    I had a near incident last night, myself. I didn't go to lock up my birds. At around 11, I heard them stir. Nothing wild, just a little chatter (they're outside my bedroom window). I run out to find half the flock decided, because it was such a nice night with a full moon, they were going to roost on their pallet gym instead of in their coop. There they are, chatting away with a GREAT HORNED OWL! I didn't lay eyes on him, but he was talking right back to them! They were apparently unaware that he was NOT a friend!

    Today in the woods (in view of where I think our owl lives) I found a whole mess of hackle and down feathers, with a few broken sickles. My favorite roo has been MIA for a month, so I'm guessing he must have met our new neighbor! :(

    Good luck with your new flock! I'm sure they'll be lovely!
     
  9. sixbabychicks

    sixbabychicks New Egg

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    Feb 21, 2016
    Alabama, USA
    Sorry to hear about that. One of my hens was killed by a hawk on the 7th of this month. Saw him perched over her through the window. Cried like a baby. I understand what it's like to lose your livestock, but I am SO happy that your lil survivor had babies!! As Walt Disney said, "Keep moving forward." :)
     
  10. velani

    velani New Egg

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    Feb 21, 2016
    Fordland Missouri
    I just caught a possum in mine the other night....he was just killing to kill =( he got 5r of my good hens 3 bantams and 2 bigger hens. We have had our chicken coop house for almost three years and never had a problem. They have always been shut up tight but he ripped a whole panel off the side of my coop. I boarded it up of course. I just hatched out 17 babies, but I am still sad to say the least. I have about 35 chickens altogether.

    Last summer my neighbors dog tore down my door and killed half my flock....to say the least i have had two bad experiences so far. Hoping that this year will be better and can build my new coop!!! I also had my hogs get a few chickens too =(

    Sorry to hear about your chickens! I am moving my coop and stuff hopfully this Spring too.
     

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