Gah! What took my chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by kmpcfp, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. kmpcfp

    kmpcfp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2014
    I am an idiot and forgot to close the pop door yesterday. This morning I noticed the chickens were out, but didn't do a head count until about 10 am, when I got back from running errands. I am missing two. I found a pile of downy tail fluff and then feathers here and there down a trail about 20 feet. Not sure if they were from one bird or two, the missing ones are both the same colors. I searched our property for any other evidence and found nothing.

    I am getting a skunky/musky odor near the coop and the trail. My uncle is bringing me a live trap tomorrow.

    Not sure if they were missing from last night or from this morning. We have red tailed hawks as well, but I haven't seen them around since the crows keep chasing them away. I am guessing the loss was from last night considering the feathers weren't in an area the chickens wander to and there is an area of recently disturbed leaves like something was dragged.

    I am so mad at myself. I guess it's time to invest in a pop door on a timer.
  2. kmpcfp

    kmpcfp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2014
    Ahh! One just came running up the hill, she has some rumpled tail feathers but otherwise looks okay, so just one is missing.. maybe nothing snuck in overnight, and a hawk grabbed one this morning. The one missing was more brownish and I did notice brown feathering in the pile. [​IMG]

    Maybe it's still hiding with missing rump feathera, I hope I hope.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Musky odor...I'd guess fox.
  4. Coyox

    Coyox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2016
    Belleville, MI
    Just so you know, if it is a fox, a live trap won't work. Foxes are incredibly territorial and only one will live in an area. If one fox vacate s the area, another will surely come and fill its place. So even getting rid of one will just bring another.

    I had some pretty sad stuff happen with my own dog. Once you can teach yourself to continue a nightly and morning regimen, everything will be fine. At least for the most part.

    We had a hawk problem too. I bought an owl decoy and a falcon decoy and don't have many problems anymore. However I still keep my eye keen
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2017
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j True BYC Addict

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    What are your plans if you do catch something in the trap? And what do you plan to do to protect them if this happens again? A thought might be to attach a run to your coop. They can still free range, you just need to open a gate to let them out. We have attached runs, the pop door never gets shut, and they go out in the morning and hang around until we get the gate open for them to free range. Of course, that would still require closing a gate... [​IMG] (Sometimes I forget, too)
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2017
  6. birdmanmax

    birdmanmax Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 27, 2016
    Central Michigan
    I agree either a fox or a coyote due to the musky smell.

    A live trap could work but foxes are very skittish and won't want to enter unless they see a clear way out or a live animal at the far end of the trap.
  7. Ravynscroft

    Ravynscroft For the Love of Duck Premium Member

    Nov 30, 2014
    Middle Tennessee
    Musky odor *could also be* possum or coon... don't rule any of those out, chicken dinner is a fave all around...
  8. kmpcfp

    kmpcfp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2014
    We also have mink around here, too. I didn't realize how many musky animals there were until I looked it up
  9. kmpcfp

    kmpcfp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2014

    I am working on the run... I just haven't quite finished it, and still not close to secure, so the girls escape under the bottom until I bury the hardware cloth
  10. kmpcfp

    kmpcfp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2014
    I was able to shore up the coop. My Uncle came on Friday after the attack and left a baited live trap. We had nothing all weekend. This morning, I let the chickens out of their coop in the run on the way to my son's bus stop. I came back 10 minutes later to freaked out hens, a hole under the fence and a pile of feathers/crop.

    The remaining 6 hens got out and while I was figuring out the next move 45 minutes after that, I spotted a fox in the driveway. I ran out screaming at it, of course it took off.

    Now 2 hours later I have only managed to locate 2 hens which are safe and sound in dog crates in the shed. I didn't find any other feathers/bodies,

    I am trying to hold out hope for the other 4, but storms are about to come through and I am limited with what I can do with a 1 year old and 3 year old in the house.

    Any remaining hens will be relocated to my mother in law's coop/run until I can confidently predator proof this run.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017

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