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Fox? Bobcat? Losing one bird a day, need to identify.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by QueenMisha, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    Will be interesting what you trap.
    Wonders if you're dealing with 2, or more, different predators.
    Night time killing of birds (that didn't get locked up?)...maybe owl?
    Daytime was maybe different pred?
    What about the GSD...has it been cleared in these kills?
     
  2. barkerg

    barkerg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From past experience and this is not text book I know but, I have seen owls, fox, possums, etc... Hunt during broad daylight especially during winter months. When times get tough they will get very brave and desperate and the nocturnal instinct goes out the window. Ive had foxes in broad daylight grab a full grown gamefowl and roll out. Hopefully you find out what it is and definitely keep us posted.

    Gerald
     
  3. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop


    Yep. nothing in the trap today, hopefully tomorrow.

    Maybe it's more than one; but I doubt it. Like I said, most predators around here seem clever enough to stay away from the property because we have so many dogs.

    Not owl... had a friend deal with an owl and it always took the heads, necks, nothing else. Plus I really don't think any kind of bird could navigate through the kind of thick cover the manzanitas provide. And like you said, it wouldn't account for the daytime kill.

    The GSD is cleared. She's laid up with a case of "the puppies." Actually, all the losses I've had in the past two years have occurred since she got preggers, so I guess she is doing a good job after all. She knows better than to kill chickens now: caught her muzzle deep in a Fayoumi's organs and slapped her across the face with the carcass, she ain't done anything since. She even once got locked in the Banty run for two hours by accident and didn't do a thing, she's the real picture of a reformed bird killer.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    At this point I suggest strongly you rule nothing out with possible exception of hawk taking smaller birds at night. Bobcats like to move kill a little ways off to consume as do foxes and coyotes. Your vegetation will not stop any raptors with possible exception of eagles and real falcons. A Great-horned Owl should be watched for as well and such will pursue chickens on the ground even during daylight this time of year if they are not concerned about being harassed by hawks.
     
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  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Not all owls take only head and necks. Sometimes even same owl varies approach. I got lots of experience with known owls with direct observations and film footage.
     
  6. barkerg

    barkerg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Most small hawks such as sharp shinned hawks (which i doubt you have them right now but, possible) are opportunists and rely on surprise attacks like flying low and weaving through vegetation and brush and attacking by surprise. There have been studies proving this theory with hawks being found dead or injured with broken breast plates and wings. Smaller bird of prey species in most cases are unable to carry a large bird in flight but will attack and kill for necessity and if they cant drag/low fly into cover will eat the most important parts in a hurry and eat more if not disturbed. Again, this is just my observation here in central Texas where a sharp shinned hawk can be deadly at the size of a pigeon. Also, if you happen upon a fresh kill from a hawk and he flies off, chances are he will return to the crime scene pretty quick as they are very greedy.

    Gerald Barker
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
  7. browning6

    browning6 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I lived in central california and have lost chickens to dogs, bobcats, cats, hawks and owls.

    I doubt that it is a bobcat. the bobcat that I shot had come into my coop at night and got at least one bird but had packed them off. all i found in the coop was a few bloody feathers. the owl on the other hand had ripped the 4 month old pullet to shreds. there were peices of chicken and feathers everywhere.

    Considering the facts I agree with the consensus that this is probably a opossum, skunk or coon.

    I hope you catch the devil and when you do, do every chicken owner in the area a favor and kill it.

    one other critter it might be is a weasel. but I have heard that they like the blood more than anything and will commonly eat the heads off and leave the bodies.
     
  8. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Well now. It looks like ya'll were right, there must be two culprits.

    The trap hasn't gotten anything and my birds are going to stir crazy all locked up, so I set up a blind on top of my coop today... I use the word blind loosely, it was made of tarps and slightly wet alfalfa and some spare fencing and quite frankly might be the most redneck thing I've ever built. But I digress.

    I hammered some rebar into the ground about 50 feet out from the coop, near the last killing, and leg tied a young capon to it (he's been hardly walking for a few weeks due to some kind of leg injury so he'd be getting culled real soon anyways, making for the perfect sacrificial bait). After about 2 hours sitting in the cold with a 20 gauge, wishing I brought a better jacket, the capon starts up Buck-Buck-BAKAW! We all know the sound. I'm looking around but I don't see anything, right? So I assume he's just getting cold and wants back inside. Same, buddy, same, I myself am thinking. Another hour passes. I had planned to stay put until 5:00, but by this point I was about done. So at 4:35 ish I pack it up, unload the shotgun, and start climbing down from the coop (this thing is 8' tall mind you). I head a big fwoop-fwoop and turn around and there it is. Massive Red Tailed hawk. Just sitting there. He didn't even fly away, just to the next tree. As I'm getting a shell back into the shotgun he flies again, this time to a much further tree. I took a potshot but yep, I missed, as expected.

    I have work tomorrow, but I'll be keeping the trap out for my nighttime predator and on Sunday with any luck the daytime issues will suddenly no longer be a problem.
     
  9. barkerg

    barkerg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Red tails normally wont attack "yard" birds, I say normally very loosely. Ive only seen one red tail ever attack a yard fowl and it was an old sickly hawk that looked desperate. Ive seen red tails eat road kill next to buzzards but rare to see one attack yard fowl. Very possible, though because you never know when it comes to this time of the year. This is only my experience and observations others should chime in.

    Gerald Barker
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2016

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