chicks disappearing

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by PunkinPeep, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    I have a broody mother, who hatched 8 chicks. The chicks were one week old on Saturday. I very carefully watched as she and the chicks were integrated into the flock, and there has been no aggression at all from the flock toward the chicks.

    The chicks are still a little too small to get themselves into the coop, so at night, i physically put them and the mother inside. And i count them. Last night, i counted eight chicks into the coop, but when i opened it up this morning, there were only 6. I looked all over and could find no sign of them. No feathers, no feet, no nothing.

    I don't know how this could happen.

    My chickens live in a solid wooden coop with a wooden/linoleum floor.

    The only thing i can conceivably think of is maybe a snake? But it would have had to come in through the hardware cloth under the eaves. I couldn't see any holes or anything, but that's the only thing i can think of.

    Anyone have any other ideas? Could this be what happened?
     
  2. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Weasels and rats and snakes can get into some very small holes...Check every bit of floor and screening for loose areas...It wouldn't be another chicken at night. Something must be getting in, and out.


    Any chance of human predators?
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  3. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:No, i don't think so. My dogs would have a crazy wild fit if a human walked on the premises. And i'm not sure why a human would show up and steal 2 baby chicks in the dead of night....and risk getting shot to do it.
     
  4. crperdue

    crperdue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lake Waccamaw, NC
    My bet would be rats.
     
  5. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've never even seen a rat or a weasel around here (or anywhere that i can remember). Would you expect them to return to the site of their last meal looking for more? I put my trustworthy dog in the coop tonight.

    After looking again, i would be very surprised if something got in through the eaves. I looked very closely.

    But i think it is conceivably that something very small or slinky could have gotten in through a small gap under the door. I intend to remedy that gap tomorrow.
     
  6. LizGled628

    LizGled628 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What a wonderful dog you have, staying the coop and not bothering your chickens. My dog has never shown any interest in our babies, except to herd them, but I'm not sure I would trust her to sleep in the coop!

    I'm so sorry about your chicks. Perhaps sometime hid in there before you put them to bed?
     
  7. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:[​IMG]

    Yes, she really is. She's a mutt, but she's a wonderful mutt. Her name is Jelly. I am blessed to have her.
     
  8. newchickengirl

    newchickengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My bet is rats. Ive been dealing with them here for almost a month. They have taken 11 chicks so far. The reason why I know its not a snake is because I left eggs in over night and not a single one was taken. Ive tried everything with no luck. My Grt Pyr even killed 4 within the past two weeks. HUGE suckers. Last night, I went to TSC and purchased them old fashion traps that you set but for rats instead of Mice. I set three and caught three rats. Ill be setting them untill I feel comfortable they are all gone. If there is even one tiny hole, a rat can fit through. Good luck!
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    I had a black snake take all the eggs from under my broody, four the first visit, then two more about three days later. They can visit during the night or during the day. I saw it in the coop the middle of the afternoon but it got away. It was actually in the nest with my broody, sort of wrapped around her. She was just sitting there. Definitely creepy.

    I don't think it would be a weasel since I'd expect them to leave evidence behind. I kinda doubt rats for the same reason but not as sure. It is very possible that the chickens cleaned up any evidence since they are cannibalistic, but my guess would be a snake.

    Good luck on plugging up all the holes. That can be hard.
     
  10. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, with my Jelly in the coop last night, i didn't lose any chicks. And i didn't see the remains of any unwelcome visitors - i was kind of hoping Jelly would rip some trespassing egg thief to shreds, but no such luck. But no lost chicks, so just as good.

    I'm trying to figure out how to fix the cavity by the door, but i'm sporting a very vigorous head cold this morning and having a hard time getting up the oomph to put on outside clothes, go out in the heat, and wrangle with hardware cloth. Maybe after lunch. Or maybe Jelly will sleep in the coop tonight too. We'll see.

    Thanks for all the input.
     

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