First Attack in Six Years - What Kind of Predator?

The Chickens' Maid

Songster
10 Years
May 2, 2009
1,000
179
226
CT
We have not had an attack on our chickens since we first got them six years ago. Last night was a first. The predator, I think, tried to dig under the chicken wire first, but couldn't get past the wood that we put at the base of the runs. It looks like it then climbed up onto the roof of one of the runs and slipped in through a small gap in the wire, where two sheets are overlapping. It took the lowest hen, one of our Wyandottes, who was about three to four feet off the ground on her perch. All the other chickens were higher. At first glance, it seems like it went after the breast meat mostly. The head seemed to be attached, but we are going to look at her again to make sure. It did not try to take her with it. I'm guessing its size to be around three to five inches in diameter. I couldn't see any prints, and there was no blood in the coop.

Does anyone know what this thing could be? This is a first for us.
Thanks.
 

A.T. Hagan

Don't Panic
12 Years
Aug 13, 2007
5,379
195
303
North/Central Florida
My first thought would be a coon. Possibly a possum, but usually they start at the other end in my experience.

If there are any holes larger than about two inches in your night coop you need to get them covered.

Seeing as how you are up north and particularly if you are anywhere close to water if there are any holes larger than an inch you need to rectify the situation. Weasels, minks, martens, and some others that I am not very familiar with down here in Florida can squeeze through some mighty small holes.
 

The Chickens' Maid

Songster
10 Years
May 2, 2009
1,000
179
226
CT
Thanks for the replies.
My Mom took a closer look at. It looks like it went after the lower abdomen, nearer the tail than the crop. Her head is attached. I'm thinking it was a possum.
We're going to shore up any holes in the coop today, and we're going to try to trap it. I want this thing dead.
 

houzechickens

Hatching
7 Years
May 31, 2012
2
0
6
We lost our entire flock last night, just devastating! 10 birds 2 partially eaten and torn apart the others just killed for fun. makes me sick. i'm sorry for your loss.
 

houzechickens

Hatching
7 Years
May 31, 2012
2
0
6
I'm out for blood too, i'm gonna trap in tonight hopefully and take my 20 gauge to it. then enjoy my revenge, sorry i know it sounds crazy but i'm just so mad! i will take a pic of my first animal kill if i get it, i think it was a coon from what it looks like. i don't think anything else would've gotten back out as it came from the top of the cage.
 

Dutchgirl

Not Dutch!
11 Years
Apr 1, 2008
5,034
15
266
U.S.A.
Sounds like a raccoon. We've had raccoons get in any way they can, including digging and slipping inside. They even pull the chickens through the bars. (One of our most favorite little roosters was pulled through the bars of a cage, as well as another chicken.) Coons are really smart. We've trapped several, but in at least one case, the raccoon tried digging all the way around before he went in the opening. Crazy.

So sorry about what happened to you. We always keep our wire fixed up (though when we notice it, it sometimes is after an attack.)

I hate coons.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
12 Years
Nov 18, 2007
23,123
13,826
641
Florida
My Coop
I have not had any coons get my birds but have had possum, fox, coyotes, dog, bobcat and a skunk after my birds. I now have electric up and anything that touches the fence gets zapped. I have not lost a bird since electrifying. I have heard critters make contact with the wire and they don't come back to check it out again. Most of the predators have been diggers. I believe in sss.
 

The Chickens' Maid

Songster
10 Years
May 2, 2009
1,000
179
226
CT
Well, we put all the chickens in the safest coop we have last night (we have three coops, and this one has a three-foot-high cement wall). They weren't happy about it, but the vulnerable coops were empty. We set up a couple of traps . . . nothing yet, though.

houzechickens - don't apologize; I completely understand.
 

Big_Charlie

In the Brooder
11 Years
Feb 27, 2008
43
0
22
Fulton, KY
Lost an entire flock of 15 pullets in the last 3 nights to something evil too. Not sure what, though I suspect weasels. Ate everything but the legs off some of them, just killed others because they could. I cannot figure out how they got in and out last night. I'd found a spot where a clean out door was ajar a couple inches and boarded it up tight leaving no openings at all. Very angry at this point. My last flock that I had for 3 years never had anything like this happen. I lost them during the day to dogs, but never at night like this. Evil, evil creatures...
 

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