Dead chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by rschunk, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. rschunk

    rschunk Out Of The Brooder

    I came home today and went out about 4 pm to feed my chickens. I have/had 8 Barred Plymouth Rocks, not a small chicken.

    One was in the nest box and was slightly injured. Another was lying on the floor of the coop. I went around outside the coop and looked in the enclosed outdoor run. The other 6 were lying there dead. They were right up against the wire enclosure. One had it's head pulled through the wire. One was totally missing.

    I looked around and couldn't find any opening in the wire. I did find a short trail, about 6 feet long, of feathers leading from one side of the run on the outside.

    There was no obvious trauma other than chewed necks and some missing feathers on the backs of several of them.

    I shut the sliding door to the coop and hopefully the one left will recover.

    I would like any suggestions about what kind of predator does this kind of 'work'..

    I haven't seen any hawks (they couldn't get through the wire anyway probably) or raccoons around the house. Dogs either or snakes......

  2. ReikiStar

    ReikiStar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Very sorry to hear about your birds. [​IMG] Thinking racoons. Could have been a pair of racoons. I've heard of them working in tandem. One scares the chickens to one side as another, attacks once the chickens move over. You can try the flour trick. Put some sort of bait outside the run, sprinkle flour in the area and the next day see what kind of animal tracks you find.
  3. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I'm so sorry.

    What kind of wire is your coop made out of? You might want to consider replacing it with hardwire cloth so that nothing can reach through and the birds head can't fit. It is on the pricier side but now that the animals have attacked once they will definitely be back.

    You can use non-pain relief neosporin on the bird's injuries, just clean them well first. Chickens make really amazing recoveries.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Move survivor out. Remove all but one carcass and use it to bait live trap big enough to handle raccoon.

    Did attack occur night before or during day?

    Make no assumtion only one predator involved.
  5. juststruttin

    juststruttin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 9, 2010
    So sorry. Sounds horrible. I would say it is a day time predator, like bob cat, fox, coyote or areal predator hawk sometimes even crows. I doubt it's a nighttime pred like raccoon, skunk, weasel. We have a million raccoons living all around and they never come out during the day unless they have distemper.

    Fox can climb through very small opening. Is you coop / run fully enclosed? Did they dig under somewhere, perhaps under the coop?

    Unfortunatnely, what ever it was will probably be back. I would stick a havaheart trap out and try to catch it so you atleast know what it is.

    Good luck. I hope you girl survives.
  6. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    BIrds pulled up against and/or partly through the wire is pretty classic coon work. Not saying it couldn't have been something else but they are very good at that with those little hands. I'd do hardware cloth and hot wire.
  7. rschunk

    rschunk Out Of The Brooder

    I checked again and found one spot, perhaps 2" high by maybe 5" wide at the bottom of the wire. The wire is 1 x 2 welded and there is a layer of regular chicken wire mesh on the outside of that, except in the one spot. Good idea about the flour. I"ll bait my Havahart and spread some flour around soon as I get done with this post.

    I did go out with the shotgun and looked around the barn and pond area and the surrounding woods. I didn't find any signs of the missing bird or any feathers or blood.

    AFAIK they were ok this morning. I didn't park in the barn last night so I didn't really hear them cackling when I went to work so I can't say for sure.

    The disturbing part was that the carcasses had no other visible wounds except torn up necks.

    The floor of the coop is concrete with a 6" piece of lumber they have to go up to get to the outside. No snake holes visible either, but I haven't seen but one snake in the last 15 years or so on the property.

    Still at a loss.

    Too bad I don't have a wireless PC camera I can put out there....
  8. Hutton

    Hutton Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 8, 2009
    Alachua florida
    its a pair of coons, they even wear a mask. sorry about your family:( 1"x2" x3' steel wire after it hapend to me 4 years ago ..i Smile every time, i see one on the road.dead!!
  9. rschunk

    rschunk Out Of The Brooder

    Checked trap this morning, prints I could see in the flour I spread either.....

    New question: Is it too late in the season to start some more chicks????
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    No. If brooder reared, keep them protected through 6 to 8 weeks then make certain acclimation to outdoors is on warm day so not to rapid.

    You can do 365 days a year so long as birds kept dry and properly fed once put outside.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by