Did Something Get My Chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by BekkiH, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. BekkiH

    BekkiH Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2012
    I had six chickens, one roo and five girls.

    About a week or so, one of them disappeared without a trace. They free-range, so I wondered if she had just wandered off for a while. But she never came back. There was no evidence of a struggle, so I assumed it was a hawk or something that could carry her off.

    I usually lock them up at nightfall, but hubby worked extra late tonight, and I have two extremely sick children. I didn't get out to lock them up until about 9:30.

    The coop was empty. One hen was on our front porch, the other by the basement door. Both wanted absolutely nothing to do with going anywhere near the coop. Especially the one on the porch. Every time we tried to shoo her down, she flew back onto the porch and stayed put.

    Eventually, we were able to wrangle one into the coop, and another into the basement (into the dog crate that we used as a brooder). They will stay that way for the night, since at least they are both safe now.

    We checked around the property, and no sign of the other chickens.

    Do chickens ever run away for a night? Or should I assume that the rest are goners? :(
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    A predator of some sort attacked them. Since two survived, some of the others may have survived. If they were mine, I would seach the yard with a flashlight tonight just in case they are still alive. If you/they are lucky some may return in the AM. Keep them locked in the coop for a while - the predator will return.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
  3. BekkiH

    BekkiH Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2012
    Thanks.

    We scoured the property with a flashlight, and found no one else. I'm heartbroken. :(

    Will they be miserable staying closed up in the coop for a few days? It's not very big, but at least enough space that the two of them can move around.
     
  4. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    I don't know where you are, but my guess is a fox, a coyote, a bobcat, or a mountain lion, in that order. A hawk can't fly way with a grown
    (4 lb +) chicken, only an eagle can manage that feat.
     
  5. BekkiH

    BekkiH Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2012
    Probably a coyote, then. We hear them in the woods all the time. They've never been a problem until now, though.

    Fortunately, two of my chickens (including my roo!) were just hiding in the woods. They came back this morning. Roo's feathers are a bit busted up (mainly his tail feathers), but no injury.

    I'm trying to get them all back in the coop, but they're definitely not into that right now. They're out foraging, and hanging out in their favorite hiding place in the woods.

    Just want to get them in the coop before the snow gets bad! Treats are not helping. Ugh.
     
  6. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    It's the time now for coyotes to start rutting, whelping pups will begin in April. Now that the coyotes know that chicken tastes like prenatal vitamins, they'll be back.
     
  7. BekkiH

    BekkiH Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2012
    Thanks for that tip!

    The chickens are slowly making their way back to the coop. As long as I have them locked up before dark, they should be fine. I hope!
     

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