First loss to predation, unsure of culprit

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by aka Rachel, Jul 25, 2010.

  1. aka Rachel

    aka Rachel Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have hens and a rooster who free range during the daylight hours and haven't lost one in the year we've had them. So thinking along these lines my run for the meat chickens and four turkeys is built basically to keep them in, not in the hopes of keeping anything out. They are only out in their run from about 9am to 8pm. Never at night, tho I have forgotten to close up the pop door on the layers some nights! My heart stops every time I realise I've done this but thank goodness they are ok.

    I suppose it was really only a matter of time until the critters found my chickens. We live in the country, have coyotes, raccoons, bob cats, skunks and possibly fisher cats. And probably a couple more I don't know about. We just don't see them during the day, so I thought the chickens would be OK in their run during the day.

    But not so. I let the meat chickens and turkeys out a little earlier then usual the other day(about 7am) and went to work in the garden. I check on them regularily during the day and really only head count the turkeys (cause they're awesome and come running lol). I realised about sometime in the afternoon that one turkey was missing [​IMG] I knew that if it could, the turkey would come when I called...something was up.

    On the far side of the run is a pasture area thats ready for cows, hasn't been touched this year and the field is higher then my head in places. Thinking that perhaps the turkey was caught in the grass, I broke trail to go see. Once I was near the fence I see a path slightly worn on the ground, smallish but bigger then a house cat type path. Farther up along this, and right next to the fence, just outside it I found one turkey wing set of feathers, one leg, some entrails and one bone, piked clean. My daughter also found some animal feces very close to the kill, sort of dog like in appearance. (pretty sure no dogs or cats were the killers)

    It looked like the turkey had been dragged from inside the run, under the fence, to just on the other side to be eaten. My turkeys at this point are about the size of a house cat.

    I tried to look it up and see what it might have been that killed the turkey, and it looks like everything fits the bill. If I know what it is....who knows. I honestly have no clue what to do. I haven't had any more losses but I'm letting everyone out latter in the day and bringing them in early. And the cat doens't get out after dark either.

    Any ideas? And what kind of battle am I going to be fighting from now on.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2010
  2. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY
    so about what time did the turkey get killed?
     
  3. brendapa

    brendapa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 2, 2010
    Chester County, PA
    Sounds like a fox to me.
     
  4. aka Rachel

    aka Rachel Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am really not sure, but I think it was early, probably before 9am. I never heard a THING!
     
  5. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    Take what is left of the turkey and use it to bait a trap. I guarantee whatever it was will be back!!! If you do that, more than likely you will find out what killed it by tomorrow morning.

    Good luck!!!
     
  6. ekemily

    ekemily Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 8, 2010
    Fairhope, AL
    sounds like a fox. When you do set up your trap, please don't jump to conclusions about what you catch and just start mindlessly killing. You will never really know which animal did it, unless you catch him in the act. They kind of all have a guilty look on their face in the trap. [​IMG]
    I'm sorry about your turkey. [​IMG]
    coyote droppings are often filled with a lot of hair, if that helps
     
  7. aprophet

    aprophet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:do not stop trapping after the first one most predators run in pairs and groups trap for a week or 2 and you won,t see more for a coupla months most folks make the mistake of stop trapping after they catch the first animal.
     
  8. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    Quote:do not stop trapping after the first one most predators run in pairs and groups trap for a week or 2 and you won,t see more for a coupla months most folks make the mistake of stop trapping after they catch the first animal.

    Agreed!!![​IMG] Especially coons and foxes and as for not killing what you catch because you dont know if it is the killer as ekimley stated..I have to disagree totally!!!....You will never catch the killer in the act, it is very rare that you do if ever. I personally have no problem taking care of any coon, fox, coyote, opposum or weasel that I catch around my coop. If they are not the guilty party then they will be sooner or later. They aren't prowling around your coop to "say hello" to your girls!!!! They have every intent on eating until they can't eat anymore if theY get in.
     
  9. ekemily

    ekemily Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 8, 2010
    Fairhope, AL
    Quote:do not stop trapping after the first one most predators run in pairs and groups trap for a week or 2 and you won,t see more for a coupla months most folks make the mistake of stop trapping after they catch the first animal.

    Agreed!!![​IMG] Especially coons and foxes and as for not killing what you catch because you dont know if it is the killer as ekimley stated..I have to disagree totally!!!....You will never catch the killer in the act, it is very rare that you do if ever. I personally have no problem taking care of any coon, fox, coyote, opposum or weasel that I catch around my coop. If they are not the guilty party then they will be sooner or later. They aren't prowling around your coop to "say hello" to your girls!!!! They have every intent on eating until they can't eat anymore if theY get in.

    If you free range your animals or house them in an unsecure run/coop, then you know you are at a high risk for predation. There will always be animals around for you to trap and kill. They might be the culprit, they might not. If you're willing to continue to trap and kill until all your wildlife is gone, then, by all means, shoot, stab, and burn away.
     
  10. dieselgrl48

    dieselgrl48 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2010
    Virginia
    I agree most likely a fox or coon.And sadly I baited the trap with one of my Millie Fleur's the coon got.But We have caught 2 coon's so far and sure there is more but will get them but all the bird's safe now in concrete bottom coops at night near house and I don't let them out till around 8/ 9am and neighbor's dog been staying pretty much now so anything come in will be alerted.I have 17 layers in the big coop yet and so far they are doing good.Unless coon has Titanium nails to dig through one foot of rock!Foxes will and do hunt daylight so.. Invest in a live trap try some cheap tuna or salmon or anything for bait.Hope ya catch the critter!
     

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