Heartbroken after a chicken raid

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by CAChickenNewbee, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. CAChickenNewbee

    CAChickenNewbee Chirping

    Jun 29, 2009
    El Cajon CA
    My flock of nine chickens and two guineas have been free ranging for about three months (they're 6-7 months old). We have a fully fenced (chain link) acre property and live in rural East County of San Diego. I came home yesterday to find one of my barred rock hens lying dead in the yard. I am just devastated. She was a beautiful hen and a daily layer of large brown eggs. She also was one of my friendliest girls and would hop onto the arm rest of my chair when I sat in the chicken yard. So sad and such a waste - she was raised by hand from a day old chick [​IMG]

    When I checked on the others, initially two chickens and a guinea were missing. I shooed them all back into the coop and tried to find the others. One was in a nest box, and we found the other of my barred rock hens crouched under a bush in the lower yard (after about three hours searching) injured, but still alive. We found the guinea hours later across a busy street in a neighbor's yard, completely unharmed. Thank goodness guineas honk so loud - she was easy to locate.

    This happened between 0745 am and 1100 am. Our neighbors said they have seen coyotes in the area as late as 8 or 9 in the morning. The girls are all locked up at dusk and were being let out after sunrise, but I guess they'll have to learn to live cooped up unless we're home and in the yard. I just can't take losing any more of them.

    I am wondering what predator might have done this? We're thinking coyote, but it's strange the dead chicken wasn't eaten. She was completely intact, feathers and all, except a hole in her center lower back about an inch around. The injured chicken has most of her tail feathers pulled out, wounds on her back, just above her tail, and a large, but not deep gash under her wing. There were tons of feathers scattered in one area of the yard. It appears that she was grabbed and shook, and then escaped. Any ideas on what might have gotten her?
  2. chickensrun

    chickensrun In the Brooder

    Oct 21, 2010
    [​IMG] I am really sorry for your loss and injured hen. It really is devastating to find them hurt. Sounds like coyote maybe got interrupted? I just lost one to a timber wolf and like you am afraid to let my girls roam in the yard now. We have been going out at 4pm and spending 2 hours with them so they can free range before dusk when they head to the coop. However, that can't last so we are thinking to enclose a larger run area and put a wire roof on it as well. Mostly hawks and wolves, coyotes here but never assume a coon or rat won't show up. Did you ever think you could love a chicken so much?
  3. Ivywoods

    Ivywoods Songster

    Sep 28, 2010
    Hiawatha, KS
    Sorry to hear of your misfortune. I am not from California, but Kansas, and we have a lot of the same predators. It could have been coyotes (very likely) or it may have even been stray dogs. If chickens were injured and then just left, it very well may have been dogs out to have a good time. Bobcats will sit and watch for a long time, come in and steal their prey, and then head off to seclusion to devour it, so it doesn't sound like a bobcat to me.

    So sorry.

    We live on 160 acres and have raccoons, possums, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, ferrel cats and dogs. We got a couple of great pyrenees dogs to guard the livestock, and since then we have not lost one animal to predators.
    Edited for spelling.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2010
  4. CAChickenNewbee

    CAChickenNewbee Chirping

    Jun 29, 2009
    El Cajon CA
    Chickensrun, Thanks for your kind words. No, I didn't think I could love a chicken so much...The fact that my chickens have a wonderful, pampered life, as long as that life lasts, is only slightly consoling. I was so happy to find the other BR,even as hurt as she is. There is something amazingly resilient about these birds. She sits calmly in my arms while we clean her wounds and didn't even flinch when she got a shot of antibiotics. Chickens must have a high pain threshold.

    I am sorry for your loss as well. My husband an d I have been going over possible options for more protection. It's horrible that they can't run loose in their own yard. After he convinced me that a sniper rifle and night vision scope were probably out of the question (and slightly illegal in our neighborhood), we too are looking at expanding the run to give them some freedom.
  5. Trishkabob

    Trishkabob Songster

    Oct 30, 2010
    Schuylerville, NY
    Hi all,
    this is my first post. I decided to join because it has been so helpful to read the posts as we got our first chicks in April...a Dominique, an Austrolorp, a speckled Sussex, and a silver laced wyandotte. As some of you said , did I ever think I could love a chicken? Well, I hoped so but didn't realize how much!
    I am posting here because we just lost our second-the Dominique in July in the afternoon while we were nearby...just gone. no sign or sound of struggle but the Sussex was freaked out and the others ok. We were devastated.
    Then last Monday, a fox (we feel sure) took the austrolorp. I am heartbroken because she was like a puppy. Always underfoot, cooing away at me. When I was planting bulbs last week she kept jumping in the hole and looking up at me. I would lift her out of the way and in she'd hop again. So I am really having a hard time accepting she is gone. She had just started laying and was producing an egg every day.
    Also trying to figure what to do from here. We live near Saratoga, NY which has cold winters. As we get colder, we have only the Sussex and the Wyandotte. they don't like each other all that much-the austrolorp was the queen and kept order and kept track of everyone. now the Wyandotte is pecking the Sussex and they don't stay together as much as they should. And the Sussex seems a bit lost. I should add that they were free ranging before Gertrude died (the austrolorp) and we are keeping them in their pen a bit more now which they do not like. the Wyandotte was laying but hasn't laid since Gertrude died and the Sussex hasn't started to lay yet (late? Lower light of fall? Trauma from losing part of her flock?)
    With winter coming it seems like a bad time to brood new chicks or introduce an older pullet/chicken. we have a friend with a rooster he says is amazingly gentle-protects the hens and makes sure they are ok. he has offered him to us but I have resisted having a rooster.
    Any thoughts? is it better/okay for the 2 girls we have now to remain a duo and hope for the best? if we did, at some int, take the rooster, how best to introduce him?
    Or what about borrowing the rooster and letting the girls produce chicks (in the spring I should think)?

    I know I am too sad to do anything right now but we would appreciate any advice others may have. All kinds of good thoughts to you others who have lost hens....you're right, CAChickenNewbie,-it is only a slight condolence to know what good, happy lives they had...but some.
    Thanks much.
  6. Bizzybirdy

    Bizzybirdy Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    North of Nashville
    Sounds exactly like a DOG...they shake birds, pull out feathers but do not eat them. Keep watch as it will return for another "playtime". So sorry for your loss.

  7. ultasol

    ultasol Songster

    Apr 30, 2009
    SE Washington
    I say coyote. I live in SE WA, and I have 5ft chain link. I have witnessed a coyote go over it, very quickly. In order to keep out ground predators I use electric poultry netting. It doesnt keep out hawks or owls, but it has been successful in keeping out coyotes, coons, and skunks.
  8. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Songster

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    I have to say, I think it was a dog. I believe a coyote would have taken what he killed. Dogs kill for sport, most will animals kill to survive. Just my two cents....

    Really sorry for your loss. I hope it was a one time thing.
  9. zazouse

    zazouse Crowing

    Sep 7, 2009
    Southeast texas
    Sorry for your loss.

    Do any of the feathers look like they have been slobered on? if so i say dog cause a yote would have taken it.

    But i am betting it was a hawk if the feathers looked all fluffy,something may have scared it off, if you left it the hawk will return to try and retrive it.
  10. featherz

    featherz Veggie Chick

    Mar 22, 2010
    Saratoga County, NY
    Quote:I live near you and lost two of my chickens to hawks, so I know your pain! I may have some extra pullets - still waiting to see what gender they turn out to be plus I have chicks in the brooder so if you want to add some friends let me know. I'm in Wilton. [​IMG]

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