Help! Chicken slaughter!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Saponaria, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. Saponaria

    Saponaria In the Brooder

    Jun 3, 2008
    We woke up this morning to find 10 of our 37 chickens missing [​IMG] Only the remains of a cochin was found under the apple tree as evidence. I am so upset. I guess our locks weren't enough. It looks like a raccoon opened the lock and reached in the nest boxes and ripped 10 out! I know our neighbor feeds raccoons at her house with pet food. I don't know what else could have opened it. The locks were the kind where you slide it in and turn to the side to secure it. Does that make sense?

    I need new locks today before nightfall! What should we get? I read once spring latches were best but our local hardware store only had some industrial size spring latches according to my husband who looked for them. I don't want to lose any more of my birds. I'm afraid to even go see who is left [​IMG]
  2. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * Can't help with coop locks, but wanted to tell you how terrible about your birds!! Your neighbor may not realize it, but she is doing the entire neighborhood a damage by feeding those racoons-- with regular feeding, they breed like rabbits!!!
  3. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    I'm so sorry for your losses...

    Doom on the stupid some places it's illegal to feed the wildlife...

    Raccoons can open those really easily because they have thumbs like we do...and they'll keep coming back.

    First thing is to get a better lock.
    If you could, please post pics of the door where he got in...that may help us to make better suggestions.

    I'd also call animal control on the neighbour...because not only will he come back for more free eats, but he can carry rabies and a very harmful parasite.

    A parasite common to raccoons killed two Minnesota children within the past five years and poses a threat to others who play where raccoons feed and defecate, warns a Twin Cities medical researcher who played a key role in ascertaining the cause of death of the two children.

    "It seems to be toddlers that are at greatest risk," says Christopher Moertel, medical director of hematology and oncology at Children's Hospitals and Clinics in St. Paul and a clinical associate professor at the University of Minnesota.

    The parasitic nematode lives harmlessly in the brains of about 50 percent of the raccoons in Minnesota and perhaps as many as 75 percent in some other parts of the country, says Moertel. The worm can pass into people who touch raccoon feces and then touch their mouth or food. The nematode "has to be introduced into the intestinal tract so it can hatch," Moertel said. Children are susceptible because they play on the ground and often put their hands in their mouth.

    Inside the body, the parasite migrates to the brain, inciting an immune response. The neurotoxin the human body produces to kill the worm also destroys the white matter of the brain. "Certainly when they travel to the brain, that's when devastation and death occur," Moertel says. Nationwide, the nematode has killed or seriously injured children in about 20 documented cases, he says.

    The first known Minnesota victim was an Onamia boy whose family kept a pet raccoon. He contracted the disease about five years ago and died about two years ago when he was 5. The second state victim may have become infected from playing in the back yard or in a nearby park when the family lived in Richfield, a Minneapolis suburb. He contracted the disease when about 18 months old and died three years ago when he was 3. In both cases, over a period of months, the victim began to stumble and fall and eventually slipped into a coma before dying, says Moertel.

    Both cases initially stumped doctors. Doctors treating the Onamia boy contacted Moertel because the victim was believed to have a rare blood disorder. Reviewing medical literature, Moertel discovered a disease with similar symptoms, described by Joseph Butterfield at Mayo Clinic. Testing the boy's cerebrospinal fluid, Butterfield was able to measure the concentration of neurotoxin. As the concentration increased, the boy's condition worsened. Doctors treated him with steroids and chemotherapy, but the boy's brain had already been destroyed.

    At this point, Moertel and Butterfield still did not understand the origin of the disease. Several months later, the second case was reported. Again perusing the literature, Moertel discovered an article by Purdue University parasitologist Kevin Kazacos about the effects of raccoon roundworms on humans. Moertel sent samples of blood serum and CSF from the second victim to Kazacos. Kazacos tested the serum and fluid for antibodies to the raccoon nematode and both samples tested positive for large amounts.

    The effects on the Minnesota boys "were among the most intense responses to the worms he had ever seen," Moertel says. Autopsies were never performed on the boys, but Kazacos' work left little doubt that the raccoon-borne nematodes were responsible, he says.

    To protect youngsters from the disease, Moertel and Kazacos recommend the following:

    Avoid attracting raccoons. Make sure bird feeders are raccoon-proof, and store feed where raccoons can't get into it.
    Avoid domesticated raccoons.
    Keep youngsters away from areas with signs of raccoons, such as feces or tracks.
    Don't let children put soil or objects from the ground into their mouth.

    If a child does ingest raccoon feces, bring the child and any remaining feces to a doctor right away. The disease can be prevented if treatment is begun in one to three days.

    This is from my state:
  4. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    Maybe you can check with Animal Control, but I would imagine that it is probably illegal to deliberately feed raccoons. They carry so many diseases and cause so many problems. If not, maybe you could still have animal control speak to them about the problems associated with it.

    So sorry to hear about your chickens.
  5. KrisRose

    KrisRose Songster

    Mar 9, 2007
    Davison, MI.
    Do you have Slide Bolts? If so then get carbiners which can slide through the hole on the end of your slide bolt after you have latched it. Small ones are called spring latches I believe. I get mine at Home Depot
  6. Saponaria

    Saponaria In the Brooder

    Jun 3, 2008
    Yeah, I think she is well meaning but VERY misguided. I never see the raccoons myself just hear fighting at night sometimes with the window open. But my parents live across the street and they get on their back deck. My mom hates them. They are not afraid and she can open the door and yell at them and they just stare back at her and go on doing what they want.

    The neighbors' home is full of cats. I forgot but it's possum and raccoon that show up to feed. A few years ago there was a huge black rat problem from her feeding. I don't know how the rat problem was taken care of but it was. Is now the time to mention that our neighbor on the other side of use to feed the local hawks raw meat?? As far as I know he hasn't done it in a couple of years because the hawks temporarily left when some land was bulldozed. But he recognizes some of them and they will fly and land in the trees near him and watch him even when in someone else's yard. I still want chickens even if my neighbors are nuts. [​IMG]
  7. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    *I'm* the nutty neighbour...
    I'd drop a dime to the's just not a good situation in any way at all.

    The raccoon that killed my first bird stood 4 feet on his back they can get pretty big too. I finally treed him one day, screaming like a wild woman and swinging a shovel at him...surprised that hasn't ended up on YouTube...

    I have Redtails in the that's one of the things I have to watch out for.
    Along with coyotes, possums, raccoons, hawks, red foxes, dogs and cats.
  8. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    I'm so sorry this happened....
  9. Morgaine

    Morgaine Songster

    Jan 22, 2008
    I'm so sorry for your loss.

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