flock missing - no signs!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by buffy_the_egg_layer, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. buffy_the_egg_layer

    buffy_the_egg_layer Out Of The Brooder

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    so i came home from work last night around 6:30 and my three hens were missing! i let them free range in the daytime and usually leave the light on in their coop since it is typically dark by the time i get home, at which point i turn the light off for them. they have been free ranging for 6 months now in a completely fenced in, acre backyard. a couple months back, our rooster disappeared without a trace, but we were both away on business at the time and someone else was watching the flock for us.

    there is a mating pair of coyotes that lives in the woods behind the house, but i checked the entire perimeter of the fence and there are no holes or gaps where one could have entered the yard. no to mention, if a coyote HAD gotten into the yard, there would be some sign of a struggle, right? feathers or blood? i searched the whole yard as well as some of the surrounding woods this morning and saw NOTHING. not a feather, no blood, no carcass. a definite coyote highway through the woods, but i already knew that.

    additionally, when i got home, my dog went nuts - he was running/pacing the entire perimeter of the yard, his fur on his back standing straight up and growling. he has done this before when i have seen the coyotes through the fence, but it was dark and i couldnt see anything.

    could the hens have flown over the fence and wandered away and gotten lost? they have flown over the fence before and ended up in the front yard, but they always return at night. should i go search the neighborhood? could the pair of coyotes have taken all three without leaving ANY trace?

    should i bother hoping to ever see my chicky ladies again??
     
  2. critterrun

    critterrun Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] Hope you find them [​IMG]
     
  3. Marcymom3

    Marcymom3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh, no!! If your chickens can fly over the fence then I imagine hungry coyotes could get over it. Before you panic, why don't you check the woods? They could be roosting in the trees.

    Hope your story has a happy ending. Keep us posted!
     
  4. stoopid

    stoopid Chicken Fairy Godmother

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    Oh my, what horrible news. Did you check the trees?
    If they got spooked, they may have gone up for cover.
    I hope you find them.
     
  5. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:X2! A few weeks ago my count came up one short at night. My entire family went out looking for the missing hen; we called and called (they always come running for treats). Nothing. We eventually gave up and went inside. The next morning I was walking down the barn road and *PLOP* the missing hen dropped out of a tree right in front of me, shook herself off, then trotted beside me to the barn coop! Something obviously scared her when she was out free-ranging and she took cover. I was beyond surprised. So please do go out and look for your girls. Maybe, just maybe, they're out there hiding.
     
  6. buffy_the_egg_layer

    buffy_the_egg_layer Out Of The Brooder

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    i did check the trees and the entire inner and outer perimeter of the fence, calling for them as i always do in the morning and evenings when i visit with them. they ALWAYS respond to it because i use the same tone and i think they recognize it.

    this morning, there was NOTHING. not a trace. no tell-tale scratches in the dirt/leaves outside the yard that would indicate they flew over and were foraging beyond the yard. no feathers, blood or bodies. i suppose the two coyotes might have each taken one, but it seems like it would have been quite an event, trying to catch all three, and there would be a sign.

    the fence is 6 feet high and i doubt a coyote jumped it, grabbed a chicken, left NO trace, and then jumped back over with a chicken - and to do that 3 times! seems impossible.

    we never clipped the chickens wings and they are fairly good flyers so they dont have trouble getting over the fence from on top of their coop. i wonder if they might have had trouble getting BACK over once they were out of the yard, though.

    its pouring out today and i know they hate the rain. im hoping to come home from work today and find my ladies in the coop.....
     
  7. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    P.S. If you find them, you might want to go ahead and clip the flight feathers on one side.

    Hoping for the best! [​IMG]
     
  8. stoopid

    stoopid Chicken Fairy Godmother

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    I wouldn't clip the wings, that is how they can escape from predators....JMO
     
  9. buffy_the_egg_layer

    buffy_the_egg_layer Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:that was kind of my feeling. sometimes my dog chases them around the yard, never very aggressively but i think he likes how they cluck and fly around - and being able to fly, they have no trouble avoiding him.

    so they should be able to dodge a coyote as well, right?? how far will a chicken wander? i feel like i should be out there searching for them right now...
     
  10. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:When a bird goes missing without a trace and they're not hiding somewhere, it's usually a bird of prey. They can swoop right down and fly away with a chicken before the chicken has a chance to squawk. [​IMG] Also, I've seen dogs scale six foot fences like cats and I have absolutely no trouble believing a pack of coyotes could do it and escape with the birds. They don't chase and play like dogs do. They take what they need and they're gone. We have coyotes all around our place, which is why the entire perimeter fence of our property is electrified, top and bottom.

    Just trying to help you brain storm. I know how crazy-making it can be to not have answers. Again, I'm still hoping that you find them.
     

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