Day Time Attacks - any advice?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by morsekathan, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. morsekathan

    morsekathan Out Of The Brooder

    79
    6
    46
    May 12, 2011
    Maryland
    I came out this morning to find one dead chicken and two missing. I thought I had solved the predator problem with my automatic door, it works perfectly. But something got them this morning after they came out. I heard them at 7:00 getting up and a lot of noise at 7:30, which I figured was announcing but at 8:30 when I went to feed them, only three of my little flock were left. Any ideas on what got them? I've looked all over for the two that are missing, hoping that they escaped - there are no feathers from them anywhere. They free-range and there are plenty of hiding places. But, after two hours, I'm not hopeful. Now, I don't know what to do. If I'm going to continue to free-range is there anything people can suggest. Maybe try to trap racoons? There are a lot around here. My neighbor just removed a family from her attic.
     
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I would suggest having the pop door open after full light. 7am here is dawn...and raccoons are quite prevalent at dawn and dusk. With free ranging,there's not a lot you can do (especially if your property isn't fenced). You can get and train a LGD, trap and shoot the raccoons, or contain your birds. There's not a lot of other options.
    My pop doors open early (before full light), but only into a fully contained (incuding roof) run. I let them out to free range each morning, but only after it's light. Plus our property is fenced, and we have indoor/outdoor dogs...I think the smell of dog discourages many predators.
     
  3. morsekathan

    morsekathan Out Of The Brooder

    79
    6
    46
    May 12, 2011
    Maryland
    I have the door on a photo sensor, but my plan is to do just what you recommended, turn off the photo sensor and set it to 8:00 or maybe even 9:00. I don't need the same predator coming back. The worst thing is that I have a fully fenced yard and a dog. But racoons can climb the fence, and the dog - even though he gets up in the middle of the night to bark at who knows what - didn't seem to even stir this morning. I'm still hoping the missing girls are hiding some where deep and will come home. I had chickens for two years now, and although we lost a flock from forgetting to close the door (hence the installation of the automatic door), I didn't think I would have to deal with a day time lose.
     
  4. morsekathan

    morsekathan Out Of The Brooder

    79
    6
    46
    May 12, 2011
    Maryland
    The two missing hens are back safe and sound! I was hanging laundry in the driveway (outside of our fenced area) and there were Ginger and Betty at the gate asking to be let back in! We don't know where they went, but we're happy they escaped the attack. Nine lives for one hen, it's the second raccoon attack that she escaped. A roller coaster of emotions here.
     
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Yayyy!!! [​IMG] Glad your hens turned up...alive! Yeah, my doors are on digital timers rather a light sensor...if you can set your door to open after it's fully daylight, then do it!! I bet that will help a lot!
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,722
    2,347
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I do not think raccoons involved with daytime attacks. Other players more likely and shifting opening of door to later in day will not provide complete protection from those.
     
  7. Bobaroni

    Bobaroni Out Of The Brooder

    11
    0
    22
    Sep 20, 2012
    You said you thought you "had solved the predator problem". What was getting them before? Raccoons are a nocturnal animal, it is rare they scavenge during daylight hours much less go into predator mode. Here is something you might find interesting though and might find to your advantage. Most predatory animals do their hunting after dar up untill around 2 pm during the day. You can usually free range you chickens from that time until dark without to much fear. For Raccoons I use 2 live catch traps and take them about 15 miles into a unpopulated area. The traps stay set and baited at all times. I would recommend you put up a game camera and see if you can get a pic of what you are dealing with. Sometime its hard to get a coyote or fox in the act, I've shot a couple coyotes but usually I just poison them with anti-freeze/coolant, you gotta be careful though because it will kill cats and dogs if they ingest it. My runs are covered with chicken wire to prevent hawks from swooping down on them. Hawks do most of their hunting in the morning hours but if their is one predator that will buck that rule its the hawk or falcon. But they hunt solo and take one at a time a coyote, fox or dog will kill them for the fun of it. Snakes will get eggs, bantams, baby chicks but it takes a pretty big snake to take on a rir or a heavy breed. Raccoons, opossums, skunks or any animal that is by nature a nocturnal predator and is out during daylight you should consider it rabid whether it is or not.
     
  8. morsekathan

    morsekathan Out Of The Brooder

    79
    6
    46
    May 12, 2011
    Maryland
    I'm pretty puzzled about a raccoon attacking in daylight too, but it was really early in the morning probably between 7 and 7:30, just after sunrise here. I can't think of what else it could be. The dead chicken was fully intact which seems consistent with a raccoon attack from what I've read on Backyard Chicken. I would think that a fox (or less likely because of where I live, a coyote) would either eat the chicken or carry her away. I don't think it's a hawk because - one) she wasn't carried away and two) she was found under a tree. If she was dropped, it would be in the middle of yard. Maybe a cat? But the dead chicken was really big - Jersey Giant size, (she only laid double yolk eggs[​IMG]) - so I don't know if a cat would take her on.

    There is a string on Backyard Chicken (with photos) of raccoon activity during the day. So, it can happen. Hopefully it's a freak occurrence, but I have set the door timer to an hour after sunrise and I'm letting the dog out earlier to "clear" the yard. And I'll look into getting a live trap. We do have lots of raccoons here and I know they patrol the backyard hoping that they will find the door open. Shooting the animal is tempting, but probably would make me really unpopular with my neighbors as these are urban chickens and barely legal!

    On a happy note, the remaining chickens actually laid today - I was pretty impressed as I thought they would be spooked for days and days.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    7,564
    2,055
    416
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    It is illegal in many states to relocate raccoons; they carry rabies, among other nasty diseases. Any racc oon that has been in a live trap will probably never get caught again, but will be happy to find another flock of chickens!! Shoot, shovel, shut up---words to live by in this situation. Mary
     
  10. foxrfarm

    foxrfarm Out Of The Brooder

    45
    2
    39
    Jul 13, 2011
    Medina, MN
    So happy to hear that your girls are back! I thought I had lost one last week after a dog attack. After one loss from another neighbor dog, this neighbor's dog attacked my hen while he was feeding horses. When he saw that is Vizla had run to my porch and had a chicken in her mouth, he commanded her to drop it, which she did. The chicken flew off, he said, into my barn. This all happened while I was working in the house, so I didn't know anything until my neighbor called to tell me. After looking for our girl everywhere I could think of, it got dark and I gave up until the next day. I search high and low all over our 6 acre property to her - nothing. I was so sad, as she was only 6 months old and just started laying. Funny, this neighbor never called back to see if I found her and offerred no monetary retribution.

    My doorbell rang today at 3:00. It was a new neighbor who lives about 1/4 mile down our private road. She asked if I had lost a chicken. I said that I had several days ago, and I described my Stella. She said that "Stella" had walked into her kitchen (literally) the other day around 2:00 in the afternoon! She didn't know who she belonged to, but started asking people. In the meantime, she kept her safe and sound in her back large screened porch with nice bedding, feed, water and a nest. Apparently, Stella had been laying eggs since she got there and her kids were in love with her! I did pick her up and take her home, but we now have some new friends and little kids who want to come and visit our chickens!

    Thought I'd share this heartwarming "good ending", after hearing and experiencing the "bad" ones!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by