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First predetor loss today; what should I do to protect the rest of the birds?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by PaisyQ, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. PaisyQ

    PaisyQ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Had my first loss today. I thought my run was secure, but I guess I have a weak spot. There is a small gap between my coop and the ground, and it looks like something used that gap to squeeze in and then dig into the run. It then looks like it cornered one of the hens inside the coop, killed her and then tried to drag the corpse back through the hole it had made, but was unable to get the hen to fit, so left her there. There were a lot of feathers in the corner of the coop, and the hen was missing her head. Tracks are hard to see, but I am guessing maybe a raccoon. None of the other birds were harmed.

    I am trying to patch the gap with some left over hardware cloth, but am finding it difficult, since I still have quite a bit of snow on the ground. I leave for work before dawn, and have felt quite comfortable about opening the door between the coop and the run before I leave, but now I'm worried. I'm thinking about leaving them shut in the coop, but the coop is really too small for full time confinement.

    Any advise?
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Get a box trap, trap the predator, and leave the birds locked up until you have been successful. It will return. Good luck.
     
  3. PlanterJeff

    PlanterJeff Out Of The Brooder

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    You may consider adding hardware cloth dug 6 inches deep under your run wall. That will prevent the digging in the future.
     
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    A larger gap wire fencing will suffice for dig proof apron. With fixed runs I use 2x4 welded wire in 14 gauge for both the run wall and the apron. In my case I cut the 4' fencing in half to have 2' strips laid flat on ground or under sod. If your coop is slightly elevated then use washers and screws to secure the fencing to bottom of coop then bend it to run out from there for 2', cover with a few inches of soil or sod. Dig proof.
     
  5. chickencoop789

    chickencoop789 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    chicken without a head? sounds like a mink. theyre small animals compared to other predators so itll be difficult to find tracks. theyre able to slip into tight spaces and drag chickens around, but wont take the whole carcass with them. itll be back so youll have to trap it. before you fill in the gap where it slipped in, I suggest putting a #160 duke conibear trap blocking the hole. only costs about $10. this trap is an instant kill trap, so once the animal sticks his head through the hole, itll snap him dead. no chance he will be getting to your birds. the #110 size will be enough to catch a mink, but just in case its something larger I would get the #160, which will kill the mink as well as any coon or possum that try to sneak through the gap
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. chickencoop789

    chickencoop789 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    and once you get the predator taken care of, I agree with the hardware cloth under the run wall. put about 6 -12 inches underneath, then bend the wire at a 90 degree angle and have it come out another 6 inches under the dirt. so basically youll end up with and L shaped strip of wire under the walls. no predator can dig through that.
     
  7. PaisyQ

    PaisyQ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No luck with the trap so far. I've seen new tracks around the coop, but no sign that whatever is leaving them is trying to get back into the run. The birds have remained locked up in the coop until I get home from work, then they get a couple hours out before nightfall. Not ideal at all, but I guess it is my only choice for now.
    I had wondered if it might be a mink. The gap is very small, and I didn't actually think a raccoon could fit through it. But I know raccoons live on my property, and the tracks around the coop and the manner of the kill seemed to suggest a raccoon. I'm not ruling anything out though. I don't really have the experience to know anything for sure. I've ordered one of the conibear traps. I patched the gap the day I found the dead hen, but it's not a good patch, so I'll see about removing it when the trap arrives.

    I've been keeping chickens for 3 years now. They free range all day spring through fall. I've never lost one to a predator before. I've always assumed that one day I would, but I never expected it to happen while they were locked up in there 'safe' coop and run.
     
  8. chickencoop789

    chickencoop789 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    let us know when you catch the critter. and be careful with the conibear trap. its not a very good feeling if you catch your hand in one of those [​IMG]. or accidently catching one of your birds.
     
  9. zldema

    zldema Out Of The Brooder

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    "Thanks for this info. We are having problems with Ermine. Where can you buy these traps? Thanks"
     
  10. zldema

    zldema Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG]This is what we caught in a mouse trap today. It was a baby. So I'm worried about where the momma is.
     

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