Disappearing Chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Gwyllion, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. Gwyllion

    Gwyllion Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 1, 2010
    DFW, TX
    So I live in the suburbs on a pretty decent size lot. I let my hens out to free range in my backyard pretty much every day. Sunday before last I had 5 out of my 10 chickens vanish. I walked around the neighborhood and the neighbor behind me told me that they were in his (unfenced) backyard that morning (shortly after I had let them out). The fence separating our properties is horse fence so you can see straight through it easily. I found where they had gotten through the fence but didn't immediately repair it in case they came home, but they never did. a few days later I repaired the fence and again began letting my chickens out to free range. A few days after that (this previous saturday) I had 2 more chickens vanish just before dusk. Since then I have been keeping my remaining 3 chickens penned up. I have seen several hawks around the neighborhood and even saw one sitting on the edge of the run one day a few weeks ago, but I thought that my chickens would be much too big to be prey to them. Am I wrong? Are hawks taking my chickens? Is there any evidence left behind that hawks are getting them? Can they take 5 chickens in 1 day? Are my chickens just stupid and getting lost? I really love having them free range in my backyard. Will I have to keep them penned in their run 24/7 now to avoid more losses? Thanks
     
  2. Gallusfarm

    Gallusfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    So sorry about your losses. This does sound like a hawk, especially since you've seen them in the area. They don't really leave any evidence. They will take your birds, and unfortunately, chickens don't know enough to stay hidden, if they could find a place to hide - and hawks can see, well, like a hawk.... It's a bummer to have to keep them locked up. We've resorted to just letting ours out in the afternoons. We lost quite a few last year - let them out in the morning, come home, missing 5 birds. Repeat until we finally left them in. Even though we have an enclosed area for them, we still have to use bird netting for the hawks [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Is there any chance they just took off and found some other chicken coop more to their liking? Alot of people on the forum have had chickens take off and join neighboring flocks., especially if a rooster is to their liking.
     
  4. Robo

    Robo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2010
    Knoxville,TN
    I don't think so. How long have you had them?
     
  5. Gwyllion

    Gwyllion Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 1, 2010
    DFW, TX
    I don't think that it's very likely that they are finding a new home all by them selves, although I guess someone could be adding them to their flock if they see them wandering. How far will chickens wander? I know that someone a few blocks down has chickens. But I'm not sure who b/c lots of people have privacy fences, I only know b/c I can hear the crowing. But still, thats pretty far. One of my remaining 3 birds is my rooster, so they wouldn't be trying to find a rooster. I've had them for a while now. Most of them I've had since June, 2 of them I got in July and the last one I added at the beginning of september. Does anyone know if there is a way to keep the hawks out of my yard so I can still let them out?
     
  6. pw_quiltworks

    pw_quiltworks One Handy Chick

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    Maine
    That's too bad. We have fox that get ours. Had to build a pen. [​IMG]
     
  7. endicott83

    endicott83 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 23, 2010
    I have had this problem myself. I however can see some of the evidence such as feathers, but that is all. I can trace it to the exact spot they are getting in, but it would have to be something very small to squeeze through my fence. I have the small squared livestock fencing for goats with chicken wire too. It seemed that mine was only happening at night for as far as I could tell, so I decided to lock them up in their coops at night. I am curious as to what animal that small could pack them off.
     

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