first time losing a hen

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Frza, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. Frza

    Frza Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 12, 2010
    Something came and killed one of my hens last night. I heard the sounds but thought it was a cat fight, so I did nothing. I woke up this morning and saw what happened, now I feel awful! I am just so sad and also worried that whatever it was will return for the rest of my small flock.

    The predator dug up and ripped apart the chicken wire. It was burried underground around the base of the coop, I thought this would prevent predators from getting in but this creature was obviously determined. It pryed open the henhouse door and dragged 1 hen out. The carcass had been chewed around the neck area but not eaten. What on earth could have done this!? If the beast killed my hen I wish it would have eaten her as well. Now I feel like she died for no reason. I can't justify her death with "the circle of life" when she was just mauled. I am so angry and sad!
  2. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2007
    Fair Oaks, California
    i am so so sorry! [​IMG] What a horrible thing to find. i would switch to the hardware cloth. That should help. So it pried open the door? Do you have locks on your door? i have several on each door, but have often thought that a strong predator could probably still pull the doors open.

    i can't help you on your possible culprit. i'm sure others can. What kind of predators do you know to be in your area? i wonder if hot wire would be a good deterrent? i've never used it myself, but many people on this board do.

    Again, i am so sorry!
  3. rungirl

    rungirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2010
    Columbus, Ohio
    Could have been a raccoon or opossum. Secure the coop door so it can't be opened tonight and lock them up tight. Go get some box traps and hardware cloth from TSC. Hardware cloth is much tougher than chicken wire. Bait the traps with a can of cat food and see what you get. Be prepared to kill what ever predator you catch. You can drown it in a trash can if you can't shoot guns where you live. If you catch nothing but neighborhood cats, you can try peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches and marshmallows. For some reason, they like grape jelly.

    I had something get into my coop one night and kill one of my hens also. It took her head off. I also heard the commotion, but arrived too late. I later caught two opossums, a skunk and several cats. I think it was the opossum that did the deed. I killed the opossums and the skunk, but I let the cats go. Cats won't hurt your chickens. But anything else nosing around the coop at night is up to no good. Sorry about your poor little little hen. It's our job to protect our flock. Good luck to you.[​IMG]

  4. gpwelding1

    gpwelding1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2011
    upstate south carolina
    sorry for your loss,we lost 3 recently ourselves.
    what you describe sounds like a racoon to me.especialy the way you described the sound you heard as "cats fighting".i have heard that sound many times before with coons durring coon hunts,and a couple that were in traps.your best bet is going to be setting a live trap.
  5. Frza

    Frza Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 12, 2010
    Thanks for the condolences everyone. We put out a trap tonight, we'll see what we get. We have raccoons, opossums and feral cats in our neighborhood. I'm thinking opossum or coon killed my girl. We battened down the hatches tonight and plan to replace the chicken wire with hardware cloth this weekend. Our neighbor is ready to kill whatever we catch in the trap.
  6. juliawitt

    juliawitt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 9, 2009
    I've been so lucky. I have only had hawk attacks, which stopped after we covered our run with netting. However, I still remember finding my poor Sue chicken, ravaged and eaten. I cried like a baby. Hope you catch your predator! So sorry for your loss.
  7. Frza

    Frza Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 12, 2010
    the trap was empty this morning. We'll keep trying.
  8. Lucy4

    Lucy4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I too just had my first loss of a hen, in the same manner (they just took her head.) And I had the same thought: why didn't they eat the chicken? It just seems so wasteful to me. It made me angry. Yes, I know that seems ridiculous, but that's all I could think about. Easier that considering if she suffered at all. She was my sweet, stupid chicken and belonged to my younger son.

    In our case, the coon didn't dig into the coop. All of my chickens had decided to sleep in the trees at night if I didn't get them in before 3 pm. Once up there, I can't get them down. They'd been doing it for a couple months without problem, but apparently Bella decided to go back into the run in the middle of the night and got attacked. [​IMG]

    Now I'm capturing the hens before they get up there. But I wish it didn't take a loss for me to learn my lesson.

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