Dead Chicken

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by greatestgrammie, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. greatestgrammie

    greatestgrammie Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 21, 2008
    Amarillo,Tx 79118
    OKAY,I did try to look through the archives and it seems hopeless to find the exact topic I am searching for so I thought I'd "re-ask" the question. Forgive me if I am asking something that has already appeared.

    Haven't had a bird taken in almost 2yrs. I trap and kill stray/ferile cats,skunks and the ocassional opposum.
    Generally speaking,a ferile cat will catch the bird,carry it off and all I notice is a pen full of feathers and a missing bird.
    The two dogs that got into my pen only killed the birds. . .some died from beating themselves to death in their efforts to escape the dogs.
    Skunks have left the carcass with it's head gone and the intestines "sucked out".
    Today I see that one of my new White Cochins is dead. It's carcass is only about 20ft from the henhouse/pen. It's head is gone,the intestines are gone and so is one thigh/leg.
    Earlier this summer my dogs were going crazy with their barking at some bushes in my yard and though at that time I could not identify what it was they were barking at over the next few days/weeks I started finding dead and alive baby opposums on my property and close to the trailer and my property between my yard and the hen house which is about 100 ft from my front yard where I keep my dogs.
    My first thought is that a Momma Opossum is under my trailer and she was out searching for food. That she totally bypassed my baited trap but I'm going to fix up Grammie's "Special Mixture" and I'll catch her! Only hoping that I catch her sooner vs later.

    With what I have described,would other Experienced Chicken People know if what I describe was caused by a Opposum? Have you have similar experiences.

    BTW. . . Yes I had left the little chicken door open so that the birds can come and go. I don't usually close it up at night during the decent weather but until I get this predator issue resolved I guess I had better do so eh?
    I had recently bought some new birds and they haven't yet gotten comfortable around the other birds so they have been "roosting" on the ground and until the last couple of nights I had been going in and getting those birds off the ground and up on the nesting boxes where they roost. Guess I should either continue to move these "floor dwellers" or keep the little door shut at night.

    What say you all?
     
  2. TexasVet

    TexasVet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 12, 2008
    Willis TX
    As a rule, and there are always exceptions, possums like to eat the soft insides and leave the rest of the bird. Raccoons eat everything and carry off the bird (at least at my place!).

    Kathy, Bellville TX
    www.ChickenTrackin.com
     
  3. greatestgrammie

    greatestgrammie Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 21, 2008
    Amarillo,Tx 79118
    With what you say I can only assume that you are probably agreeing with me that my predator is probably a Opposum. The head is gone,insides are clean as a whistle and a thigh/leg is missing which I would suspect would be fairly tender on a 3-4mo old bird.
    In our area of Texas we don't see many raccoons though they do exsist. Rarely if ever see a fox,bobcat,hawks known for taking out fowl or other known chicken predators.
    We generally have issues with ferile/stray cats,dogs,skunks,opossums and rats.One can hear the coyotes off in the distance and though they have been seen on the highways,we don't generally see any around the housing areas. I would think that should this have been a coyote there would have been a pack of them and most of my chickens would be gone.

    I have what I think is my own Special Recipe for making an irresistable trap bait. . . . LOL LOL I heat up left over bacon grease,add dry dog food and some canned cat food or tuna. Works like a charm.
    Since I think a Opposum is responsible and since I have some tall weeds alittle closer to the house where I think this predator is staying,I'll set the trap closer and I betcha it won't take but a day or two and I'll have my predator.

    The hardest thing about losing this particular bird is that I had just gotten 11 newyoung birds. IF this predator had to take out a chicken why did it choose to take a young pullet vs an older bird. Picky eater I reckon. . . . .LOL
     
  4. TexasVet

    TexasVet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 12, 2008
    Willis TX
    There's no rhyme or reason to which bird possums take. I've had them kill grown birds or ducks and ignore the little ones, or kill a dozen chicks but only eat 2 or 3. Racoons, on the other hand, seem to prefer grown chickens and ducks.

    I use dry dog and cat food too, although I haven't tried mixing it with bacon grease. (Probably because I don't fry bacon!) It works on nearly all varmints... coons, possums, and bobcats.

    Some critters won't go near a Hav-a-hart trap, so I improvised. First, pound a strong stake (metal or wood) about 3 feet into the ground. Then hook the handle of a bucket over the stake, so the bucket is laying on its side, on the ground. Toss a good amount of dog food into the bucket. Then set a leg trap at the mouth of the bucket and cover it lightly with straw. Whatever gets close enough to the bucket to take a sniff gets caught!

    Just be sure to hook the leg trap to the stake! Racoons are strongly enough to pull the stake out of the ground and drag it and the trap off into the woods.

    Kathy, Bellville TX
    www.ChickenTrackin.com
     
  5. Bizzybirdy

    Bizzybirdy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2008
    North of Nashville
    >>The head is gone,insides are clean as a whistle and a thigh/leg is missing which I would suspect would be fairly tender on a 3-4mo old bird.<<

    This is typical RACOON killing. They bite the head off, pull off legs and gut the bird. Possums mostly just eat the meat/breast in particular...or sides. I have not seen them decapitate the bird like racoons do. And possums also come along and "clean" up the kill that other animals have left.

    So maybe you have two predators. Hopefully not. Hopefully it is just the possum, which is so much easier to catch and dispatch than an awful racoon.

    Good luck! So sorry for your losses. And yes, keep the chickens in lock down at night.
     
  6. greatestgrammie

    greatestgrammie Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 21, 2008
    Amarillo,Tx 79118
    Yes,the young Cochin that was destroyed was probably a 4-5mo old pullet that I had just bought from a lady who lives in town and had to lower her pullet count. . . our local cities have ordinances as to how many "backyard chickens" that someone can keep and those who try to raise up their chicks seem to do so until they get big enough to get somewhat noisy and then they get rid of them.

    On Oct 22 I posted my query. . . .on Oct 23rd the remainder of the bird was taken where it had been left the night before. On Oct 24th I caught and killed the Oppossum I trapped. Thought my issue was done and over with BUT this morning as I went out to let the chickens out and feed them I see that my re-baited trap has had the bait removed and the trap had been set but nothing in the trap.
    Today I have rebaited the trap with a piece of cooked pork chop and I have tied the meat to the upper corner of the trap and strung a string attached to a bell that is located in my house. Hopefully as the predator is getting to the tied bait in the trap and fighting to get it, I will find out what it is at the very moment that the predator is robbing the bait and I can deal with it accordingly.
    I can only assume that whatever it was that robbed my trap and set it off is large enough that it can get itself into trap,rob the bait while it's body is holding the trap door open until it leaves which allows the trap door to close. Depending on which type of predator I think I am dealing with depends on how I bait my trap.Most any kind of cooked meat will catch the predator regardless of what it is but often times I use a few tablespoons of fish flavored cat food and when I'm out of ready bait I will make my own. . . little dog food soaked in milk with a scrambled egg and bacon grease. Grease of any kind seems to work but I keep a jar of bacon drippings in my fridge and it is readily available.
    I would NEVER use a leg trap covered with straw etc as I could not bear the thought that any animal that would get caught and would suffer. The trap I use merely catches the animal and I take care of the rest QUICKLY and relatively PAINLESS.

    Wish me luck. . . .not into raising chickens to feed to predators who aren't as merciful as I am.
     
  7. greatestgrammie

    greatestgrammie Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 21, 2008
    Amarillo,Tx 79118
    An update to my Dead Chicken question that I posted on Oct 22,2009. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Since making my inquiry I have caught/killed an Opossum. Re baited the trap but had bait taken from the trap without the trap being set so I re baited my trap and affixed a bell to the cage that led into my house so that I could catch anything that might be too big to fit in my trap but agile enough to get in,take the bait and leave without being caught.
    Today I had caught a large FERILE male cat that I killed. I emptied the now dead cat out of the trap but did not immediately dispose of the carcass. Just as I went out to dispose of the carcass I now see a Coyote that had come in,picked/moved the carcass and was eating it. I went to get get my gun hoping that my presence had not been detected. Luckily I returned to see the Coyote still devouring the carcass so I got the Coyote in my sites and shot it.
    This would definitely explain my trap being robbed but the predator not caught. A Coyote is agile enough to get into my small trap,rob the bait while holding the trap open with it's body and not being caught by the trap. Real UNUSUAL for Coyotes to come so close to the houses around me but it does happen occasionally. . . really strange to see Coyotes during the daytime in our area.

    I will continue to keep the trap baited and will continue to get rid of whatever I trap as I am very adamant about keeping my chickens safe whether I pen them up at night or not.


    An update to the very first question I posed on July 21,2009 as to whether Cornish Jumbo's could breed. . . . . . . . . .

    I was extremely disappointed to the answers I received which really told me nothing. I was referred to alot of Internet sites on the subject and was sent an email address to which I responded to and still did not really receive any definite answers.
    Mid summer this year I was able to purchase some 4-5 mo old Cornish Jumbo's myself. I had been told that Cornish Jumbo's can't breed because they are hybrid's and are sterile but since posting my question I have learned more about the Cornish Jumbo's and for anyone else who might want to know if you can breed them I NOW have a definite answer.
    Though it is possible to breed Cornish Jumbo's it is more likely you will not be successful because they will not live long enough to reach egg laying age much less breeding age due to the fact that they grow so fast,gain in weight so quickly etc.
    I butchered a 5-6mo old Cornish Jumbo and in dressing out the bird I see that the lungs are so hemorrhaged that the hen could not breathe adequately therefore I am of the belief that this particular breed DOES need to be butchered at it's appropriate age(approx.6-8wks) for it's meat and to leave it at that otherwise you are causing the bird to suffer more than it should due to it's rapid weight gain etc.
     
  8. greatestgrammie

    greatestgrammie Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 21, 2008
    Amarillo,Tx 79118
    Another Update. . . . . .
    I had re baited my trap using "Grammie's Mixture" of dry dog food,bacon grease and some canned cat food. I attached a line from the trip plate of the trap and ran it into my house through a slightly opened window and attached it to a brass bell.
    This morning at 6:40a I was awakened by the sound of the bell and looked out at my trap to find a skunk that I thought had been lerking since Halloween night. Needless to say,that skunk made it into the sights of my .22 and is now ready for disposal.
    I can not believe the amount of predators I have encountered and had to destroy in the last 2wks. I haven't had a known predator in almost 2yrs now so I guess they are making up for the absence.
    Because of my work schedule I am not here every evening at dark (now that it is Daylight Savings Time) but as soon as I get home I get the chickens closed up,check for eggs and do a head count. All is well and all 39 birds present and accounted for.
     

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