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Dissapearing Hens... Please Help!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ross.russo, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. ross.russo

    ross.russo Hatching

    May 31, 2009
    China Grove, NC
    We have a small flock of consisting of what used to be 16 hens laying and 13 pullets and 2 Roosters. In the past week we have lost 4 of the older hens and 1 of the pullets. They are free ranging on about 3 acres of fenced pasture. We have found only small piles of feathers from 3 of the birds. I did find one of the hens at the back of the pasture and (pardon the graphic description) she was split up the belly and inards were gone but the egg that she would have laid was still intact and visable, as well as her head and neck were gone.

    Baby Red was the hen that I found and she was our favorite. She would follow us around the field and actually liked to be picked up and carried around. Our flock has been free ranging for nearly 3 years and we have never had this problem before. Now we are loosing birds at an unbelievable rate. Typically if there are any hawks or vultures flying overhead in the area the two roosters will "herd" the girls into the barn to safty and they will stand "guard" until the threat passes. Does anyone have any thought on how to prevent any more dissapearing birds? Right now the only thought I have had was to sit out behind the barn with the shotgun and eliminate anyting bigger than a sparrow.

    Please help.

    Thanks in advance everybody. I appreciate any and all suggestions.

    Ross and Darlene Russo.
  2. SpringChickens

    SpringChickens Songster

    Feb 1, 2009
    College Station, Tx
    Are they disappearing at night or during the day? Two completely different classes of predators there. It sounds like it's probably a raccoon or possum to me. Where do they sleep?
  3. ross.russo

    ross.russo Hatching

    May 31, 2009
    China Grove, NC
    We believe it is happening during the day Baby Red was in the morning between 6:00 AM and 10:00 AM I was watching the girls running around just ouside the coop (which is a block barn with a 10 x 10 wire run and a small gate for them to get in and out). I saw Red while I was having my cup of coffee and about 10:00 I went out to the barn to get the tractor and my wife was walking with me and she saw the small pile of feathers only 20 feet from the coop entrance. The attacks are happening outside of the coop and there is no evidence of an attack inside the barn. Besides all of the girls are roosting in the rafters of the barn.
  4. PuppyBantamCochin

    PuppyBantamCochin Songster

    Apr 19, 2010
    If your chickens are disappearing during the day, the culprit could be a dog. Our neighbor's dog killed several of our chickens (some while free ranging, another time he broke into their coop) and 'gutted' a couple of them. I hate that dog...especially because I never actually 'caught him in the act.' But I know it was him because he's killed his owner's ducks, other people's cats (including ours), dug holes around our chicken houses, and he's chased our chickens while we were around....so...(I hate losing chickens.)
    I hope you're able to find out what is getting your chickens so you can take care of the creature for good.

  5. Miss Red

    Miss Red Songster

    Apr 26, 2010
    Trinity, Texas
    Whatever you do.. Do NOT shoot a hawk unless you feel like paying 250,000 for it (or is it 25,000? Can't remember).

    It sounds like a dog to me, maybe a cat if the chickens are relatively small.
  6. aprophet

    aprophet Songster

    Jan 12, 2010
    chesapeake Va.
    for some reason Our airports here are over run with coyote , rowan county airport look to be only 2-5 miles from you the biting the heads off sounds like a coon the carrying the whole bird off sounds like a fox or coyote

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