Chickens gone!


8 Years
Aug 29, 2011
I live in Western New York and have a mystery predator. I had a flock of 21 egg layers earlier this summer that were kept in a coop open to a fenced-in run. I used 2 x 4 welded wire fencing, 6 feet high,
1 1/2 inch poultry netting over the top, and wire fencing buried underneath to prevent things getting in by digging.

The first night 4 hens were taken, no signs of a struggle, no loose feathers anywhere. I did a check of the fencing and found a couple of places where something could have squeezed through between the fencing and the netting and I closed them up.

A few nights later 7 hens were taken, again without any sign, but this time an eighth hen was left behind, dead and partially eaten. Her head was still there. I found another spot in the fence/net I must have missed and closed it up.

This scenario was repeated several more nights until all 21 were gone. I slowly realized that whatever was getting in was biting through the netting over the top of the run to get in, leaving a hole roughly 8 to 10 inches or less in diameter.

Known predators around here include fox, raccoon, fisher, bobcat, oppossum, skunk, and coyote. What baffles me is what could take numerous hens out of the pen through a relatively small hole without leaving any trace?
from Ohio. So glad you joined. Sorry about your losses. Anyone of those predators can get the job done especially a family of coons. A coon will kill a chicken and then grab hold and swing it on to their back and carry it off. You are going to need a coop that can be close up at night to protect them. Good luck.
I recently lost my first chicken to a predator and built a locking coop the next day. It's a lot of work and expense to build a predator proof run so you're better off locking them up at night.
from Kansas, Mumseemoo! Sorry to hear your flock got wiped out!
That really stinks! I agree about closing that coop up at night. Maybe get a live trap so you can learn exactly what you're dealing with. Best of luck with a new batch!!
from Louisiana!! Sorry for your losses!! I have an open faced coop also but I use chicken wire over the top not netting!! Haven't lost one to a predator in almost 3 years!! I would only use netting if the coop was closed up at night!!

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