First Loss To A Predator

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by moriahamber, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. moriahamber

    moriahamber In the Brooder

    Jul 27, 2009
    On Friday morning around 2:30 AM our hens were attacked by an unknown predator. We had four hens, two Buff Orpingtons and two Easter Eggers. I live in the middle of a suburban area in Memphis TN with a relatively large back yard. We have neighbors on every side (none of whom mind the chickens, and few have even noticed their presence). We do have dogs in the neighborhood, but our back gate was secured and whatever it was had to have escaped quickly.

    The chickens shrieking woke me up around two-thirty AM. I ran to my window, which faces the back yard so you can see down into it, and I saw two hens, Sparkles the Easter Egger, and Ruffles the Buff Orpington, running across the yard from the direction of our back gate. I threw the window open and yelled, at which point the EE stopped running and fell to the lawn. I ran and awoke my aunt and maybe 30 seconds later we were in the back yard. We keep flashlights by the back door, and we had them in hand.

    I did not see any movement at this point in the yard. Nothing going up a tree, over a fence or anything. We found the EE, Sparkles, first, as she was just laying in the lawn. Around her and stretching across the entire lawn (sizable) and to the front corner of our yard were pulled out feathers. Just laying everywhere. We examined the EE and she was exhausted and in shock and missing feathers, but she was ok and nothing appeared to be broken. She was gently relocated to the garage and two other hens were scoped out. The second hen had wedged herself in a corner where the fence meets the house. We examined her, besides large bald spot on her back and shock, she was ok. We put her in the garage as well, where she and Sparkles proceeded to hide in a corner together.

    We moved across the yard to the direction we had seen them running from, the back gate and compost pile. There we found Buffy, our other BO. She was surrounded by feathers and her head had been pulled off. We examined the yard, and I think whatever had killed Buffy proceeded to attack the other hens AFTER doing so. There were no tracks that I could see, as that portion of the yard is covered in pine needles. I didn't sleep that night, and in the morning our other EE wandered into the yard. We think she went over into the neighbors yard away from the predator when trouble started. She is totally fine and is missing zero feathers.

    *sigh* The one night we forget lock up the coop and this happens. Extra vigilance all around now, for sure. We looked up every tree for coons, but didn't spot any. We don't have any holes under our fences, but it would be possible for something fairly small to get through the back fence. We also have foxes and opossums in the area, and I don't think a dog could have gotten out of the yard so quickly without us seeing. Any ideas as to what this predator may have been?
  2. carrlr

    carrlr Songster

    Mar 31, 2010
    Southern Illinois
    Its sound very possibly like a raccoon. So sorry for your losses. Good idea to be vigilant, once they are aware of the chickens, they will be back.
  3. moriahamber

    moriahamber In the Brooder

    Jul 27, 2009
    Thanks for your sympathy and suggestions. [​IMG]
  4. jimmythechicken

    jimmythechicken Songster

    Jun 8, 2010
    i would say coon 2 they do like to take the heads off.sorry we have alot of orps they are such sweet birds
  5. Oh gosh, I am so sorry for your loss. I live in fear of something like this happening. The worst. Your poor sweet girls. [​IMG] Hope you're able to raccoon-proof things.
  6. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Songster

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    I'm sorry for your loss but I have to believe that it was a coon as well. You had better get a trap set asap cause it will be back.
  7. babyrnlc

    babyrnlc Songster

    Jan 30, 2011
    Tulsa, Ok
    Quote:I am so sorry that happened to us this morning. the one night I did not close the coop (ir was raining and I got home late and my mom closed the shed the chicks were in) We lost 4 birds. The wind blew our run side ways (we had a pvc run and a good storm last night) needless to say we are changing them tomorrow and the coop is close for tonight!
  8. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    [​IMG] Awww, I am so sorry! It hurts to lose a hen, especially that way. You may also want to check with all your neighbors to encourage them to keep their garbage cans tightly closed, even strapped with bungees, and to not leave dog or cat food outside after dark. And to please NOT purposely feed raccoons. They are very comfortable living in suburbia, especially when folks do the opposite of the above and encourage them to stay. And when they're comfortable and well-fed, they have larger, healthier litters, and their populations grow.
  9. PartridgeRckgal

    PartridgeRckgal Songster

    Feb 22, 2011
    I am so sorry for your loss! It is so hard to lose one of your birds. I agree, once the raccoons (or other predators) know there are chickens they will come back. We have a raccoon sized live trap. It works! You can bait it with sardines or honey buns... they can't resist. We caught 2 raccoons last night in our trap.

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