Chickens for almost a year.. first massacre yesterday. :(

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by carcar80, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. carcar80

    carcar80 Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi all, wasn't sure whether to post this in injuries or predator, so here I am. (I have a "flock" of six.. hens are BO, RIR, Black Star and SLW. Then I have two roos, a SLW and BR- long story, I know it's a bit much but for now it works)

    Just wanted to share, we were gone from about 4pm until 10pm last night and when I went out to close up the flock, got a surprise. First bad sign was my Black Star girl on the floor of the coop, dazed, and walking around. The others were all up to roost. I also saw a big clump of her black feathers. Opened the walk-in door to check her out and found my RIR hen was missing. :(

    I helped the Black Star up to roost and found that she had a large clump of feathers missing just above her tail and a small tear in the skin. Guess her wing was sore so she didn't fly to roost. After a couple times helping her she was finally able to balance herself and settle in. Everyone else looked ruffled but OK, just a bit stressed.

    We walked around with the flashlight and found clues.. One huge pile of RIR feathers looked like the first attack site. Second pile was roo feathers... they were about 15 feet away from the RIR pile. Leading back to the barn area were two more piles of roo feathers, then inside the pasture was another small pile of RIR feather and another big roo pile.

    Well, lo and behold, this morning I went out to do some daylight investigating and to see how everyone fared the night.. and who was wandering around outside the coop but my RIR girl!?!? I figure the two roos put up just enough of a fight to help her get away. I am so proud of them.

    HOWEVER, upon further inspection the RIR hen isn't doing so well. She spent the whole morning bedded down in the coop so after she rested a bit I got her out to check her. Her hind end is torn UP. :( Her vent looks to be torn up, though everything is so swollen and swirled with messy feathers it was hard to tell. I did hold her so hubby could hose off the hind end, a friend held up her tail and plucked some of the messy feathers from around her vent and then we poured a ton of betadine on her whole hind-end. So we will see. She did let loose a VERY big BM immediately after, so that made me feel good. She is eating and drinking.

    Can anyone else think of anything I should do? I really hope we don't end up having to cull her. Also, I'm thinking this was likely dogs? It wasn't a very clean job at all so I'm thinking it was no kind of true wild, experienced predator. There are lots of stray dogs around here, two JRTs amongst them lately.. and I read that a fox usually goes for the neck.

    Anyway, just wanted to vent/share. It's just been a roller coaster, thinking RIR was dead, then she's alive! Then hurt pretty bad. :( Guess I just got a false sense of security with as much time as I've had them with no incident. Ugh...
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2013
  2. Azriel

    Azriel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would say you've got young coons after your flock, it normally takes about a year for the wild animals to find out you have easy prey for them. Make sure you get your flock locked up before total dark.
    Dogs, especialy Jack Russells would have ripped the birds up, a young coon just learning to hunt on its own will try to drag the prey away with out killing and will keep grabbing where ever it can acounting for the piles of feathers scattered along the way as they try to drag it to a safe place to kill and eat.
    Now that they have found your chickens, even tho they didn't make a kill, they will be back. If you can lock up early, or keep them locked up for a few weeks the coons MAY move on, but I wouldn't count on it.
    Good luck, and I hope your RIR makes it.
     
  3. carcar80

    carcar80 Overrun With Chickens

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    Thanks so much. Hmm, perhaps you're right, that does make sense.. I guess I could try to lock them up but my coop is only 4x8, not sure they'd be too happy or get along. I do plan to lock them up today before we leave around 3, IF I can get them to come in. :/

    Went to check on Rhoda earlier, she is hanging in the coop alone still but was perky and enjoying having the feeder to herself, however I went again just now and she is in a laying box, bleeding a little but not looking stressed. Literally maybe three good drops of blood on the shavings. We shall see...

    Thanks for the reply. :)
     
  4. carcar80

    carcar80 Overrun With Chickens

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    But! Wouldn't coons mostly hunt at night? With the distance from the coop that it looks to have started, it would have been well before dark, before they started the trek back to roost. But not having been here I guess it's just hard to know.
     
  5. MamaDoodle

    MamaDoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aside from locking them up early, do you have any other ways to deter them? I know sometimes you can trap some and have it taken care of, but for those of us who live in the woods, dogs can be a solution. :) Mine have done a good job so far... although, your roo's seem to have done amazingly. :D
     
  6. TaraBellaBirds

    TaraBellaBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I sure hope your girl heals up well [​IMG]. Are both of your roos okay?

    This is my first year too! I free range my birds throughout the day in a large fenced in area (THEY can breach the fence easily) on the edge of town. We have seen skunk, fox (only 2 in 6 years, but still) and stray dogs are an issue sometimes. I need to make a decision on whether or not to slaughter most of my adult roos due to aggression towards my kids. Or to keep a couple to protect my flock through the winter. Your story is giving me second thoughts on culling them all.
     
  7. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Were your roosters taken? It sounds like young coyotes practicing the hunt to me, personally.
     
  8. carcar80

    carcar80 Overrun With Chickens

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    Ya, whe our BR turned out to be an accidental roo I wanted to cull him. But, hubby talked me out of it as long as things were going smoothly. He is a good bit younger than SLW, just started crowing in the last couple months. SLW has been a gentle breeder from the get go, BR started out rough but has evened out and none of my girls are ever beat up, so I'm leaving them be for now.

    SLW will mini-flog men only, and only the feet as of now. He stays away from me and DS so I like that. He's a great roo over all, very protective of the girls and BR seems to be getting more protective/attentive lately too.

    Both Roos seem fine! The feathers are green at tip and striped at the end so most seem to have come from the BR roo.. His tail isn't nearly as full as the SLW yet anyway and SLW tail doesn't seem any worse for wear so I'm thinking that's the case.

    MamaDoodle, I do have two dogs.. A JRT (umm, NOT a good chicken protector I wouldn't think- LOL!) and a Doberman. She would definitely protect them but I can't leve her loose all the time. She gets short periods out alone but our perimeter isn't fenced and she will visit neighbors of left alone too long. I DO know, had she been loose yesterday this would NOT have happened. :( I told hubby, I know she was having a stroke watching it all go down. (she was on the back screens porch where she stays while we're away) :(
     
  9. carcar80

    carcar80 Overrun With Chickens

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    Speaking of the Doberman, SLW has already taught her a lesson not soon forgotten when she ZOOMED playfully too close to his hens one day. So he's definitely a brave roo! LOL
     
  10. carcar80

    carcar80 Overrun With Chickens

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    Well, checked on her again.. Butt looks terrible and now has gnats all over it. I sloshed some DE on it, but then decided that was prob not a good thing. Just wanted them gone.. took a pic but can't post from my phone, will have to get on computer.

    Anyways I'm wondering if I should go ahead and have hubby cull.. Her whole hind end is warm when you touch her, and I know it will probably only get worse. :(
     

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