Confused

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by chena16c, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. chena16c

    chena16c Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 12, 2010
    Austin, TX
    So one by one my baby chicks have been disappearing. Now I will admit some of it is my fault as many of them were free ranging (along with the chickens and teenager pullets) while I was on bed rest at my parent's house post surgery. ( We came up and checked on them during the day, I didn't just leave them). But they free ranged because we've been have triple digit weather non-stop and they can find the coolest places in the yard. So I thought maybe a hawk was getting them (as I saw it happen one day before the surgery).

    I had one broody hen laying on some eggs in the closed up chicken coop. She had 1 chick that had hatched when I left. When I came back the next day all was well in the free ranging world but when I went into the coop to check on the broody her chick was gone. In the corner next to her I found some non-chicken looking poop. Probably the size of a chihuahua, maybe a bit smaller. What animal would eat a chick, but leave the broody chicken alone inside a closed up run/coop? My chick coop and run are of course connected, many time I leave the coop door down because the run itself is all enclosed, no open top, etc. So later when no other eggs were hatching I opened up the coop/run to let her free range as well and so the others could go back in at night (they weren't happy I was not allowing them to do so).

    Over the week some more chicks went missing (different chicks) so I assume predators like a hawk or the black cat i saw in my yard 2 weeks ago. A bit bummed but not a lot I can do not being home and with no one to watch my chickens over night, etc.

    So finally I'm home, start closing everyone up at night. My last two chicks( about a month and a half old) were big enough to start putting in the coop at night but small enough to get through the wires before the hens and "teenagers" pecked at them in the morning. All has been quit and as it should since I've been home. This morning I got up to let everyone out and found my little guy (I think he''s a rooster) under the coop cheeping his loud cheep. I didn't hear a second one and thought it mysteriously disappeared as well. But then I saw it in the run.....dead.....and it was only the head and a wing. That makes me think raccoon, right? I was told that raccoon are known to leave body parts behind. I suppose a cat could but the only way I could see an animal getting into the coop wouldn't be a way a cat could....or at least it wouldn't be able to get back out. The run door closes but the top of it could be slightly pushed in or out....however I would still think any animal of raccoon size would still push the whole door open in that case as it doesn't push in/out THAT much....unless it was young. *Sigh* the door is fairly new so I haven't had time to fix that part yet. Guess I'll go to Home Depot tomorrow.

    Run down:
    Chicks mysteriously disappearing
    Mysterious poop found in chicken coop once (and once buy the kiddie "dog" pool I fill up with water for everyone)
    No chickens or "teenager" pullets are being harmed
    1 confirmed dead chick with only head and wing.
    Locked up coop and run, but open coop "chicken" door (been this way for 2 years with no problems)

    I honestly thought, after 2 years, they were pretty secure but now I have my doubts. Time to go back to the drawing board. They were all my blue laced red wyandotte chicks as well! It's like this thing knew I wanted them! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  2. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    I'm sorry to hear about the loss of chicks. It could be a young raccoon. If you predator proof the coop for a coon, most other predators will be kept out as well. Good luck, it is an ongoing battle for us all here.
     
  3. chena16c

    chena16c Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 12, 2010
    Austin, TX
    Whelp.....I found the critter tonight (I closed the coop door) so all it had was the run.

    It was a juvenile opossum. Smaller than a cat (almost) but bigger than a baby. Now, I've heard they can squeeze through small areas....never in my life did I dream that one could squeeze through wire gauge that was 2"L X 1"H......in fact I couldn't figure out how it got into the run until I poked at it with a rake handle and it finally decided to flee.....then I since it only stayed under the chicken coop I turned the hose on it so it. It ran under the fence and into my neighbors backyard. *sigh* Guess I'll be off finding some smaller gauge wire tomorrow.

    Too bad I had to loose all my BLRW wyandotte chicks to figure it out [​IMG]
     
  4. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

    5,916
    545
    341
    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    wow. thanks for reporting back. I didn't know they could fit through such a small hole either.
     

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