Coyote took my RIR...

Firefly

Songster
12 Years
Mar 26, 2007
163
1
139
Connecticut
Yesterday afternoon in broad daylight a coyote grabbed one of my RIR hens while they were free ranging. DH was using the trimmer not 100 yards away! He paused to do something and heard the hens making noise. When he turned around there was a coyote by the coop staring at him, and a pile of red feathers in the lawn.
He waved his arms and yelled at it and it ran away. We've had the chickens for 2 years now, and this is our first run-in with a predator. We spend a lot of time outside and have a dog, so I think though we are surrounded by wooded areas, our property has been a no-entry zone (until yesterday!)

Now I'm worried that they know where the free grub is, and they'll be back. I'm keeping my six remaining girls in the coop for the time being, but I'm wondering, will I ever be able to free range them again? I've read that coyotes are usually nocturnal, and we are vigilant about getting the hens in before dusk. This was about 4 in the afternoon though. During breeding season do they hunt during the day? Chances are there are more pack members around, so even if we bait and shoot one, more will be back, no?

I know that free ranging always comes with a risk. We work hard to minimize that risk, but obviously sometimes these things happen despite our precautions. I strongly believe in free ranging... in giving my ladies a good chicken life, so if at all possible I would like to let them out to free range again. So how much time do I have to let pass for these particular coyotes to move on (if ever)?

Kelli
 

jqs birds

Songster
10 Years
May 10, 2009
339
0
134
Western Colorado
Sorry about your hen.
That copyote though will probably be back looking for another easy meal. This time of year they have litters of young growing puppies. Now they are working hard and hunting longer to keep them fed that's why you see them later in the moening and earlier in the evening. If you do shoot one it will discourage the others and make them more nocturnal, thus you can continue to let them out during the day if you bag one. If not just keep a close eye on them even during the day.
 

janinepeters

Songster
10 Years
Jun 9, 2009
906
80
153
If this is the first bird that has been taken in 2 yrs from a free ranging flock, you are doing tremendously well.

Before you declare war on that coyote, all coyotes, or predators in general, please read:
http://www.projectcoyote.org/newsreleases/news_predatorinperil.html

Killing the one that took your chicken MIGHT deter other coyotes for awhile, but probably not for long. Totally free ranging birds with no guard animal are easy pickin's. If you kill the whole pack, another pack will soon move in to occupy the vacant niche. It becomes an endless saga of killing one animal after another. Some people literally enjoy that. If you don't think you will, you might want to provide a greater level of protection for you flock.

We "free range", but in a large, fenced in area. The fence is only 4 ft tall and does not deter digging animals. A motivated coyote could jump it, but it would slow it down somewhat. However, we "free range" the birds only from about 11am to about 5pm. Someone is always home when we free range them, usually spending a lot of time in the yard, doing gardening or something.

The fenced in area is close to the house. There is no vegetation for cover near the outside of the fence, so we would see any animal hanging around near it. But the purpose of the fence is really to keep the chickens close to their coop and our house, so they will not wander off into the woods or brush, where predators lurk, and so we can keep an eye on them.

Within the fenced in area, there are plenty of small trees and shrubs - great cover for the chickens, so they are not easy pickins for aerial predators.

This is not to say there is no risk - we haven't lost any since we put up the fence, but we know we will have an occasional loss. However, we have at least reduced the risk.

I explain all that to show that you need to do some thinking about how to provide some protection for your birds. If you don't, future losses are inevitable. Once an animal succeeds in getting a meal, it will likely return for more. But war with predators is simply not a sustainable farming practice, especially in this day and age when the assault on wildlife and the environment has reached staggering proportions.

Good luck!
 

Firefly

Songster
12 Years
Mar 26, 2007
163
1
139
Connecticut
Thanks so much for both your replies! No, I have no desire to wage endless war with coyotes, that's for sure. I will hope that getting the one will deter the others, but if not... I will just have to make some hard decisions. It may be that I won't be able to free range anymore, or only free range them when I can be working within visual distance of the coop.
At this point I'll just have to wait and see what happens...but I appreciate the feedback. Thanks, guys.
 

TipsyDog

Songster
10 Years
May 14, 2009
2,131
12
181
Aregua, Paraguay
Sorry about your hen.


My theory is - IT'S THE RAIN! I can't take it anymore and neither can the beasts.

You're not that far from me and I'm sure you've had endless rain also. In the past two weeks I've had more wild animals around my house than in the whole 9 years I've lived here!


A bear was 3 feet from my back door on Tuesday. All critters seem to be coming out of the woods and into more open areas - like my yard. My poor chicks are locked in the coop when it rains.

I'm blaming it all on this endless rain.
 

WalkingWolf

Songster
11 Years
Jan 1, 2009
2,285
21
181
North Carolina
Coyotes are not native to Connecticut, are a pest, and dangerous to children. We have them in NC here too, I wear a sidearm when out taking care of the animals, any coyote I see is a dead coyote. Raccoons though native also attack children, I shoot them on sight also.
 

jqs birds

Songster
10 Years
May 10, 2009
339
0
134
Western Colorado
In Denver this year they have had several adult people attcked by coyotes. They are protected by no firearms ordinance. The local vet says he gets atleast one dog a week in that has been attacked by coyotes.
When the division of wildlife removed several coyotes people were all upset??? They didn't like the killing of coyotes they said it was murder??
I like being on top of the food chain. So if a few predators have to die to keep there fear of man so be it. Coyotes are not just a wild furry pet. They are hunters and capable predators that need to be controlled and kept in check.
 

Old McDonald 27

In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 26, 2009
47
0
32
Alabama
My dad lives on a 40acre farm at the end of a mile long dirt road. His pasture is cleared, but completely surrounded by woods. Over the last 20 years or so he has lost birds here and there,but this year the predators have gotten bold. He coops his chickens at night and free ranges in the day. He has lost so many chickens this year to hawks/coyotes/foxes/owls. They are coming right up to his house to take them. I think he has finally decided that he can't get them all with his shotgun and is looking into getting a LGD. Maybe a great pyr. Mine is just a pup, but already knows her role here.
 

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