Coyotes took ALL MY HENS!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by empireman, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. Yes - start over and move on.

    29 vote(s)
  2. NO - it's too risky!

    3 vote(s)
  1. empireman

    empireman Chirping

    Sep 28, 2010
    Los Angeles CA
    So a few nights ago we had a heavy rainstorm. I have a SOLAR chicken netting fence that I purchased from PREMIER ONE last year that has kept the girls safe all year. I guess the rainstorm shorted out the fence and ALL FORTY of my chickens were taken in ONE NIGHT! I've been in a daze about this for days. There were two places where the coyotes pulled the netting up on each side of the run. This is devastating. How could they take FORTY chickens?? How is that possible. EVERY ONE GONE! No blood was found, just footprints and some feathers?

    I feel horrible every time I think of what they went through! I don't know what to do now - do I install a different kind of fence? How will I afford all the rarer chickens again? Do I take the chance of going through this another time? Should I just give up and let the coyotes win?

    Any thoughts?

  2. XavCas

    XavCas In the Brooder

    Oct 18, 2012
    Are you sure they ALL got attacked.? The coyotes could have gotten a couple, and some could have ran away to hide, I have never heard of anything like this and I am so sorry for your losses. Coyote wise, just fix the fences again and keep a watchful eye out. If you want you could try new fences, if they come back, just get a little gun or pellet gun and shoot at them to scare them. Or put poisoned meatout there so they get sick and realize to not come back..
  3. silkielover92

    silkielover92 Chirping

    Jul 30, 2011
    Eatonville Washington
    Forty were taken? That is a but intense. I bet if you go look start hunting you will find most alive hiding. This happenedwith mine.
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Please let us know if any where hiding and come home unharmed. I surely hope so.
  5. myfinefeatheredfriends

    myfinefeatheredfriends Songster

    Mar 1, 2011
    Oh no! So sorry to hear such sad news :'( Keep updated!
  6. Look for the chicken predator guide from Oklahoma State University.


    "Oklahoma State University thieves in the night"

    I hate to tell you this but it sounds more like you have some of those "two legged coyotes" in your neck of the woods.

    I think that someone who knows you have.... had chickens decided that they wanted to go into the poultry bizz as well, or else they wanted some cheep fixing for a chicken casadia.

    The rain was a convent cover for their actives.
  7. bcboy

    bcboy Chirping

    Aug 12, 2012
    Extension Poultry Specialist
    Poultry producers should be aware of the possibility of
    losses to predators. Owners of small flocks usually have more
    difficulty with predators than those with large flocks, primarily
    due to differences in housing. Small flocks are sometimes
    housed in buildings that need repair or are not specifically
    designed for poultry. As a result, predators have less difficulty
    gaining access to the birds. However, large flocks housed
    in new buildings in good repair can also be victims if proper
    precautions are not taken. Anticipating problems and taking
    necessary preventative action is the best defense against
    Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service
    Thieves in the Night
    Properly constructed houses can do much to discourage
    predators. Deep foundations keep animals from tunneling
    under, tight fitting windows and doors that are screened with
    poultry netting or hardware cloth keep unwanted visitors out,
    and siding and/or curtains kept in good repair also prevent
    entry from outside. These suggestions apply to all sizes of
    houses and all sizes of flocks.
    Rats and mice, although not usually problems as predators,
    encourage the entry of other predatory animals by gnawing
    holes in the wood or by burrowing around buildings. A good
    rodent control program is necessary for proper predator control.
    The following key may aid in identifying the predator:
    Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources • Oklahoma State University
    Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Fact Sheets
    are also available on our website at:
    If small flocks are allowed outside the house, fences
    are important. Fences not only confine the birds to a desired
    location, but if they are properly constructed, they keep out
    most predators. A mesh wire with openings smaller than one
    inch is recommended. Burying fencing with the lower 6-12
    inches turned outward deters predators from digging under
    the fence. A convenient method of burying the lower part of
    the fence is to plow a furrow against the turned portion.
    Clues Possible Predators
    1. Several birds killed
    a. Birds mauled, but not eaten Dogs
    b. Birds killed by small bites on body – neatly piled – some heads eaten Mink or Weasel
    c. Heads and crops eaten on several birds Raccoon
    2. One or two birds killed
    a. Birds mauled, abdomen eaten Opossum
    b. Deep marks on head and neck, some meat eaten Owl
    3. One bird gone – feathers remain Fox or Coyote
    4. Chicks killed – abdomen eaten – lingering smell Skunk
    5. Several birds gone – no clues Human
    Playing Detective
    In many instances predators leave clues to their identity
    when they have visited a poultry house. From these clues the
    poultry producer may be able to identify the culprit and take
    the necessary steps to prevent a reoccurrence.
    Dogs. A dog usually kills chickens for the sport. Several
    dead birds with much mauling of the carcasses is usually
    evidence of a dog. Dogs usually visit the chicken pen during
    daylight hours rather than at night.
    Mink-Weasel. Birds usually show signs of attack on the
    sides of the head if a mink or weasel has visited the poultry
    house. With these predators, several birds will probably be
    killed and piled neatly together. The back of the head and neck
    are frequently the only parts of the carcass consumed.
    Raccoon. If a predator visits only once each 5 to 7 days
    and eats the head and the crop of the dead birds, a raccoon
    is probably responsible. Sometimes more than one bird will
    be killed at each visit.
    Opossum. The opossum generally attacks only one bird
    at each visit. Usually, the bird’s abdomen has been eaten.
    Eggs may also be the object of the opossum’s raid on the
    chicken house.
    Owl. The only likely culprit here is the great horned owl,
    which does sometimes attack poultry. One or two birds are
    usually killed, with the talons being used to pierce the brain.
    The owl will usually eat only the head and neck. Feathers
    found on a fence-post near the chicken house or pen may
    provide an additional clue.
    Fox-Coyote. The old sayings about the sly fox were not by
    accident. The fox and the coyote are very smart and difficult to
    catch in the act of raiding the flock. Since birds are frequently
    carried away with little evidence left behind, the only way of
    determining losses may be a head count. Visits from these
    predators will usually be very early in the morning. Keeping
    birds in a secure pen or poultry house until late morning is
    good insurance against losses from a fox or coyote.
    Skunks. Skunks do not usually attack adult birds. They
    may kill a few chicks and eat the abdomen. Eggs may also
    be the targets. If skunks have been in the poultry house the
    odor is usually a clue.
    Humans. Unfortunately, there can be problems from
    people as well as animals. If birds are missing with very little
    evidence, particularly from a predator proof pen or house,
    the possibility of humans being involved should not be overlooked.
    Preventing Repeat Visits
    Determining the identity of the predator is essential in
    preventing repeat visits. Once identification has been made,
    appropriate steps can be taken. Eliminating the point of entry
    is the first deterrent and eliminating the source of the problem
    by trapping or other means is the second. Trapping should
    be done properly to minimize the chances of catching an
    innocent animal. Seeking advice from a wildlife specialist is
    desirable if individuals have no experience with trapping.
    Again, prevention is the best solution to the predator
    Oklahoma State University
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  8. Gallus Sapien

    Gallus Sapien Chirping

    Mar 29, 2012
    Sorry for your loss. Have you found any ckns hiding yet. You said footprints- what kind? It is hard to think any animal(s) save one could take 40, and that one drives!
  9. empireman

    empireman Chirping

    Sep 28, 2010
    Los Angeles CA
    Sadly - I didn't fine ONE alive. I live in the mountains of Los Angeles just across the street from a state park. It is against the law to harm the coyotes. They run in packs here, and I see them on the streets even in the daytime. I have a double fence, with the outside being a solar netting and it has always stopped them in the past. I haven't had a problem for two years. They are the culprits for sure as my neighbors said they heard them howling that night. The area was covered in hundreds of paw prints. No one stole them - I would even RATHER that - knowing that they at least didn't come to a horrible death. It's so sad, because I have raised them from chicks and have a steady group of neighbors that I supply with their eggs. It was so hard to tell them what had happened. I was in shock for the last few days. I'm going to call Priemier One tomorrow and maybe they can suggest another fencing system - possibly a hard wired electric fence. At this time, I can't afford to replace the hens with even chicks if I could find them. Getting a flock of French Marans was a costly and timely project and it will take me another year at least to get even close to what I had. I thank you for the support, as most people don't understand the attachment I have to my animals. I was so frustrated, I didn't know if I was going to start up again, but I guess I'll wait until spring and see about getting some chicks and some pullets. I heard last night on the Jimmy Kimmel show that a Celebrity just lost their flock this week. It's a case of "man against nature" once again - but sadly - it's our domesticated pets that suffer!
  10. empireman

    empireman Chirping

    Sep 28, 2010
    Los Angeles CA
    Thank you for this information. There is no way that HUMANS were responsible for this. It was COYOTES for sure. Too many tracks and feathers scattered. I was surprised that there was no blood as well, but way too many footprints.

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