Help! Predator took ALL my chicken in 1-2 hours

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Maria G, Feb 1, 2015.

  1. Maria G

    Maria G Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 1, 2015
    Hi,

    I am new to this forum, and sadly not even a chicken owner as of yesterday, when a fox (?) took out all my beautiful 17 weeks old Hedemora chicken.

    I naively thought that it was ok to leave the door open in the afternoon (after dark). I have them behind a 1m tall fence inside a large shed. I have always been careful to lock them in safely at night, but sometimes left the door open until 7 pm to get some fresh air inside the coop.

    Yesterday i went to close the door at 7, and the coop was empty. The inside fence was still in place, but the sand box was overturned. A few feathers, but no blood or chaos inside. Some feathers/blood 4 places outside, lots of tracks from the chicken, and what looks like fox/cat as well as weasel tracks. We were 7 people and a dog in the house, nobody heard anything. We live in a suburban area (in Norway) several kilometers from any real forest, so I thought we were safe. Very stupid of me. I have seen badger, fox and weasel in our garden at night before, so I knew there was a risk, but I thought at worst I would lose one or two,

    Can a fox/weasel really take out 6 chicken in just 1-2 hours? Does this mean that I can't let them out even in daylight, without being posted on my doorstep with a shot gun?

    I am planning to build a really nice and big run outside the shed, but it is impossible to proof it 100% due to the rocky and uneven ground. Does this mean that I can't have them in this run even during the day?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated!
     
  2. scootergurl

    scootergurl New Egg

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    Oct 18, 2014
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    I am so sorry for your loss, how horrible!
    Yes, predators can and will do everything to get to your flock. One of my first losses years ago was to a weasel. I had my goslings in a wood box with a heavy lid. K didn't lock it one night and in the morning found the decapitated bodies.
    The most bold move came from a coyote. Several years ago my flock of partridge rocks was free ranging not far from the coop when I heard my great rooster give his warning sound. I wasn't far away, I ran over and saw he had got his hens to cover. I was standing by him looking up, as I thought it was a hawk. Out of the brush out ran the varmint and snatched my lovely brave boy up and ran off. This was about 4 in the late afternoon with the sun still up. If I were to have had my shotgun, he would have been dead. Oh, how I cried. Please build your birds a fortress. There will still be losses though, as that is natures way. I now have a LGD and he is a force! Best of luck to you and your flock...
     
  3. scootergurl

    scootergurl New Egg

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    Oct 18, 2014
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    Oh, I wanted to add, use electric hot wire. About a foot from the ground and midway. My neighbor puts leghold traps on the posts of his run. This is for owls, ad they always land before striking. I don't know if I will do that. Owls also keep rodents in check. He suffered a lot of losses from them though. We are in rural central Texas.
     
  4. Maria G

    Maria G Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 1, 2015
    Thanks! I don't think we have any problems with hawks/owls here though, and certainly no coyotes. I want the chicken to be able to enjoy walking freely in the garden, and I can live with losing one or two over time, but 6 in an hour - I find it hard to forgive myself...

    i will certainly make sure I lock them inside before it gets dark!
     
  5. scootergurl

    scootergurl New Egg

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    Yes, that is one of our joys after all, to see our lovelies free ranging!
    [​IMG]
    My little new addition. Two hatched. I believe he is the cockerel!
     
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    [​IMG] sorry for the circumstances. Free ranging with a shot gun guard would be very effective. Almost everything likes to eat our poultry. Sorry for your loss.
     
  7. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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  8. Maria G

    Maria G Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 1, 2015
    You can keep your coyotes and raccoons - I think we have enough with wolves, bears, badgers, foxes and weasels at the moment. I got lucky and have just returned from picking up 7 new Hedemora eggs, brought over from Sweden just now.

    Frustrating to start over again when my chickens were just about to start laying, but we'll manage. The breeder said it was unusual for a fox to take off with more than a few chicken. I guess the fox scared them outside, and then all kinds of predators went after them. Dangerous world here in suburbia apparently!

    M.
     
  9. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    Our first flock of 6 was taken at noon by a fox many years ago, so it can happen. Though they usually only kill that many when there are kits to feed.

    Many predators like chicken. I cannot free range here vs at all.
     
  10. Odinsworn

    Odinsworn New Egg

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    Jan 29, 2015
    I feel you pain, as I have had some predator problems over the last couple years. One of the fellows my mom works with gave up on poultry all together due to weasel losses. I am going to use the electric poultry netting this year, hopefully that will be more effective.
     

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