Help please!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by VeggieGeek, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. VeggieGeek

    VeggieGeek New Egg

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    Dec 9, 2016
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    Help-chicken predator advice please!! We lost 10 of our 12 member flock this past week or two. 3 caught out or caught through a crack we have since fixed, all with head's and neck missing, rest intact. Then 7 all at once in their coop last night!! Not the same MO for all of them, but I am thinking whatever it was before got mad and finally got in and went crazy. I was thinking raccoon, but now maybe a fisher cat since it obviously squeezed through some small hole or dug/chewed one to get in there last night.

    Any suggestions to protect our two survivors?? The last two are currently being cared for in my make shift chicken hospital in the basement and may or may not make it. Up until now our home built coop has protected chickens in it from predators (for 5 years!) but I am wonderig how this one got in-do we have to rebuild?? We haven't dealt with the aftermath yet.

    Oh-and for what it's worth we are in the rural Northeast.

    Any way to get a predator like that to move on? (Though obviously not onto someone else's flock, I hope!)

    I have really appreciated all the info on this site and have read through some of the other predator posts... I now need to know how to get this fisher or whatever it is to move on!!

    Thank you in advance!!
     
  2. MistyMtnFarmAla

    MistyMtnFarmAla Just Hatched

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    I would be furious! I would be standing guard with my gun until I caught it or killed it. I doubt it will move on since it has found "free" and easy food. Maybe a baited humane trap outside your Coop and relocate. I am so sorry about your chickens. :-(
     
  3. woody1

    woody1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Without knowing anything about your coop, it's hard to advise and equally difficult to know what critter it may be. That said, are there any holes, either existing or created by the critter, that are large enough for a cat to get thru? If so, it could be a fisher assuming you have them around. As far as getting your critter to move on, as long as you're providing the groceries, it prob'ly won't. After about 5 years with my current coop, I finally had to start using the electric door I'd installed when I built it. Now with the electric door in play I've not lost any more birds at night, nor can the girls get out at dawn while various predators my still be out and about. I live in the country along a river and have most everything that would eat a chicken including coyotes, skunks, raccoon, weasel, mink, and lots of raptors. If I was you, I'd be setting traps but may be too late.
    Regards, Woody
     
  4. woody1

    woody1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just North of the PRK
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Unless you're prepared to stand out there 24/7, it's unlikely that you would get it. I don't know about you, but I need to sleep at night so I can get up for work in the morning. As far as trapping and relocating, why would you suggest relocating if you're willing to shoot a predator when you're on guard with your gun? Relocating is illegal in many areas. You could be dumping your now trap-wise predator in someone else's backyard, possibly spreading diseases like distemper or rabies, or possibly sentencing your "relocated" predator to death by introducing it to another animal's territory. Frankly, if you're going to trap it, kill it. I'm all for using a live trap so you can let your cat out, but if it's something that could eat your chickens, eliminate it.

    OP - Your predator sounds like it could possibly be a member of the weasel family. They don't have to "get mad" before they dig into your coop. They're little killing machines, They're also tricky, because the smaller ones (they do come in different sizes) don't need much of an opening to get into your coop. Time to make sure there are no openings greater than 1", and the pop door is closed at night. I can't help on the trapping of it, but do an advanced search - there are LOTS of threads on her about weasels.
     
  6. VeggieGeek

    VeggieGeek New Egg

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    Dec 9, 2016
    Rural Northeast
    Thank you all!! Our coop is home built, but we overbuilt it for the most part. There are a few small gaps though due to our poor skills with a saw-sounds like a weasel could have gotten in there if they only have to be an inch. :( I will have to look into the electric door... The sad part (well it's all sad really!) is the poor chickens had been in for a few days since we can't get out to close their door before dark-we thought we were playing it safe. Thank you for the sympathies too!! Just good to find others who understand as well... I wonder how long before they give up and move on?? Right now the coop is empty since the recovering ones are inside.
     
  7. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Almost certainly a weasel or one of the cousins.......mink, ermine, etc. Multiply kills with damage to the heads and neck or little at all. It will be back.

    As suggested, no holes larger than 1". More like 1/2".

    They can climb and dig, so the coop has to be tight........up high, down low and everything in between.
     
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  8. MistyMtnFarmAla

    MistyMtnFarmAla Just Hatched

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    I don't have to work on the weekends and IMO it's not much different than deer or coyote hunting. Dress warm and be patient. Me personally, I would kill it but I was being nice. Not everyone is willing to do what needs to be done that is why I suggested trapping for those of the feint of heart. I would not want it to become someone else's problem. Lordy, if you say kill it on some sites everyone loses their minds. I guess most of us are no city folk so maybe I am okay on here.
     
  9. elizabethisabel

    elizabethisabel New Egg

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    Dec 9, 2016
    We lost our 6 girls. Have had them for three years without issue. Heartbroken. Something broke into the coop through the roof. Do I give up ?
     
  10. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    On the MN prairie.
    [​IMG]

    Sorry for your loss. You are the only one who can answer that question. You can give up, or you can take a good hard look at your coop and figure out how to beef it up to help keep predators out in the future. (The Coop & Run Design section of the forum is GREAT for finding ideas.) Chicken keeping has a steep learning curve, and unfortunately we usually learn after we've lost birds. Are you willing to strengthen your coop? Can you handle more losses? (Sometimes they drop dead for seemingly no reason; sometimes, no matter how Fort Knox-like your coop is, something finds its way in; sometimes they get diseases...) Chicken keeping is a great hobby, but it does have its heartaches at times.
     

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