Got a real mystery, what ate my neigbor's chickens???

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by chicken_china_mom, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. chicken_china_mom

    chicken_china_mom Crazy for Cochins

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    We live in West Central Indiana, out in the cornfields in a tiny little town, to give everyone an idea of what the area here is like. We have the usual raccoons and opossums, and I'm fairly certain that
    I saw a weasel shortly after we moved in, and we have plenty of coyotes, but whatever got into my neighbor's coop last night was so stealthy that it managed to get into a completely closed coop and kill 16 chickens and 4 guineas! I can't imagine what could be THAT hungry! What concerns me is that my neighbors count on their guineas to sound the alarm at the first sign of predators, and they always do, and for 3 years they didn't have any problems with losing chickens to predators. But last night, whatever got into the coop managed to kill 4 out of 6 guineas without a single guinea making a peep! We didn't even know about it until the dad stopped my daughter this morning when she was outside and asked her if any of our chickens died last night. She said no, and asked him why, what had happened to his, and he told her that his coop had been attacked last night and that they hadn't heard a thing. He woke this morning to find feathers, blood and bones around the outside of the coop. My daughter, scared now, ran out to our coop to do another head count. Everyone was fine and dandy, nothing had bothered them. But now I'm concerned that whatever got into their coop could get into mine. Anyone have any ideas? My neighbor told my daughter that he thinks the birds might have been attacked from the outside and that whatever got a hold of them was trying to pull them right through the bars. And is there anything I can do to guard my coop against such an attack? 16 birds seems like a lot to loose in one night. If anyone can give me some insight, I'd greatly appreciate it, and I will pass the info on to my neighbors. Thanks everyone!
     
  2. spuetz07

    spuetz07 In the Brooder

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    On Easter weekend this year, I came home from out of town one morning, and I was down about 15 chickens. It was a massacre to say the least, remnants everywhere. The next night, we captured a coon that had gotten into the coop through a small hole. Yes, they can be known to reach right through the fencing (even chicken wire) and grab a chicken. We repaired all holes, and havent had problems since. Not to say, it wont happen again *knock on wood*

    Check the coop thoroughly!! Put some live traps out, and have a gun ready.
     
  3. chicken_china_mom

    chicken_china_mom Crazy for Cochins

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    Tab, Indiana
    One raccoon killed 15 of your chickens? I'm stunned! I will be buying some more chicken wire as soon as I have the money, and I will be reinforcing the coop so I don't lose my chickens too. And I still plan to invest in baby monitors and eventually a rifle. I don't play with my birds' safety. They deserve to be safe. Glad to have an idea though of what got into the neighbor's coop. I'll tell them to check for any holes in their wiring. Thanks.
     
  4. spuetz07

    spuetz07 In the Brooder

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    We only have one layer of chicken wire as well.....but keep in mind, that if raccoons want to get in there bad enough, they will pull a hole right through the wire. We put a baby monitor out there as well, I was incredibly paranoid about every noise that came from the coop. But beware--the first crow at 5 am is pretty loud from a baby monitor.

    We actually shot two coons tonight, so proud of the dog and the hubby!! The first one tonight was feasting on the catfood, a few hours ago. The second was just a few minutes ago. i went to check on the birds, just on a whim, looked up, and I saw him in the rafters of the pole shed. Both coons were not in the coop, I think they just wanted the catfood/chicken food stored on the outside of the coop.

    And yes, what a devestating day coming home to the massacre. Ill spare the details, but it was heartbreaking for me. Some of my most favorite chickens were lost in it. Only 7 survived (out of about 25)

    Good Luck!!!
     
  5. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Crowing

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    What I'd like to know is how what ever it was got in. I had a coon get into my coop and I knew how. It was my fault being new and naive. Just the same I don't think it actually "killed" all the birds. I think that 3 of the four died in the crush as they were panicing trying to get out of the coop. The coon was in the corner and had one pinned. I did have a 5th with a nasty neck wound she's still alive and in quarantine. I was looking at her neck tonight and it looks really gross. I'm afraid to put her back with the others cause if they attack her I won't be there to stop it. This was 6/11.
    Again I'd like to know how they got in. I hear about being pulled through bars and things and I wonder if people are leaving their birds out in the run at night.
    I gotta window covered with screening and hardware cloth left open for ventilation. Can a coon rip that off? It's screwed into the casing of the window.
    I don't think I'll be getting anymore chickens after these, I just can't take the stress.
     
  6. Three years ago we lost 17 chickens in one night. The only thing left was a piece of a beak, a gizzard and a few feathers. It was a mother coon and three babies. My son shot her and the babies two days later when they came back early one evening...looking for another buffet. She was extremely large. It can happen...they can open doors and fiddle with a lock or latch until it opens. They are very, very smart and do not give up easily. One layer of chicken wire is not enough - they can get through that with very little problem. They can also chew through poultry netting in no time at all.

    I think your neighbor is right...it was probably a coon or a whole family of them.
     
  7. Year of the Rooster

    Year of the Rooster Sebright Savvy

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    Weasels are like mice and rats. They are able to flatten their bodies and can squeeze through the smallest gaps. As small as a couple inches even. If you want to prevent them from getting in, get hardwire cloth, not chicken wire.
     
  8. spuetz07

    spuetz07 In the Brooder

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    I agree, it was most likely more than one coon. Thats what we think happened to our 15 chickens on Easter weekend. The one we did get the next evening was easily 30 pounds.

    Good luck keeping predators out, it is an ongoing battle!!
     
  9. Cherstin

    Cherstin Songster

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    Yes, it does definitely sound like a raccoon. They are so stealthy and patient and they'll sneak up on a sleeping animal, grab them by the neck and try to pull them thru the fence wire. Unfortunately that's why you see a lot of birds and poultry beheaded.

    I live in Southwest Florida and raccoons are the worst predators we have here for outside aviaries and coops. They simply are not scared of humans and they seem to get braver and braver with each encounter. I have a rec room set up in my garage with sliding screen doors to keep the bugs out when the garage door is up. They will literally come right up to the screen, cup their hands to their eyes while standing on their back legs, and look right in to see what people are doing. I'll be honest, it scares the heck out of me. Those things are 1/3 my body weight but when standing on their back legs, they're about half my height. I have a four year old son and three dogs that I worry about, too, not to mention nine chicks in a brooder and three guinea eggs incubating.

    If anyone has any great ideas for keeping them off your property, I'd love to hear them. I'm zoned residential so shooting my firearm in the middle of the night probably isn't the best idea for me. LOL I used to keep doves and pigeons and I spent a small fortune and a lot of hot afternoons building an aviary that I thought was bulletproof. The fencing was doubled, I'd poured a concrete rim below the aviary to prevent anything from digging in ... it was great. Or so I thought. I lost everything and couldn't even figure out HOW to repair it to make it safe so I sold it for next to nothing. At least my chickens will be in a coop at night, inside a run.

    Good luck with your flock and I'm sorry for your neighbor's loss. They have skinny, long arms and they'll wait all night for the perfect opportunity. Like your neighbors, I never heard a thing and I sleep with the windows open. It's a shame.
     
  10. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

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    Mother coon, and all her kits. Lost a whole coop full of chickens, next night check sure was a whole family of coons.
     

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