HELP!! Something is stealing my chickens without a trace??

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by willow, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. willow

    willow Songster

    May 5, 2008
    Sherman, NY
    I am so upset right now I could just cry. Something is stealing my birds and not even leaving so much as a feather. I had 6 beautiful year old pullets-2 silkies, 1 sumatra, 1 bantam OEG, and 2 partridge cochins. They were had tame, of course. I let them out for the day and when they are ready for bed they go back in the barn to roost. I was gone all that day. I went to let them out again and every single one was gone! No trace!! No feathers, no blood-nothing. The first thing that popped in my head was "great, now I have a human chicken thief". I was really ticked!!!!!!!!

    Okay, I had a RIR hen for 6 years, her name was Ruby. She disappeared the same way BUT no one could have caught her and I'm sure there would have been quite the ruckus. I Saw her in the morning and by afternoon she was gone???

    That left my rooster, RJ, and a small hen. The 2 of them roost on my enclosed porch. RJ never leaves her. Now, I went out today and she is here but he is gone. What the H*** is going on here?? [​IMG] The only chicken I have left is my little hen. I'm at a lose. RJ goes nuts if anything goes near her and he knows how to fight.

    Now, mind you, that I have dogs in the house that go nuts when they hear RJ or my geese go off because they think someone is here plus all my windows are open. I have not heard a peep of noise at all at night. Can't be my dogs, yeah I know, but they don't stay out or go out without me ( ya just don't know what trouble they'll get into).

    Please, please help me figure this out. Lil' Momma is coming in the house for now. I could see one bird at a time BUT 6??
    Thanks [​IMG]
  2. dainerra

    dainerra Crowing

    Jun 4, 2011
    my first bet would be a coon or a possum. They are super sneaky and can slip in without waking up the dogs.
    After dark, chickens are pretty defenseless. Even the biggest rooster is just a "sitting duck" once the sun goes down. I can walk into my coop and pick up even the wildest pullets and the loudest noise is a sleepy cluck.

    Local ACs and/or wildlife offices will often rent or loan out live traps. That's the quickest and easiest way to find out what is sneaking around at night. Be warned, though, that a trapped raccoon is mean and they are a lot bigger than most people think!
  3. caspernc

    caspernc Songster

    Oct 15, 2010
    Z town NC
    But wouldn't leave blood or ripped out feathers? Most predaors don't just pick it up and run. In Europe chicken thievery is up up. Very big problem. I worries me. I hope you find out what is happining.
  4. Meat Hunter

    Meat Hunter In the Brooder

    May 29, 2011
    Well it has to be something big enough that can carry the weight of a chicken. Only a few things come to mind that leave no trace. Dogs, coyotes, fox and hawks.

    Had the same thing happen to our flock this past year. Could not figure out what was coming in. Turned out, it was a combination of things.

    Don't know what the ground is like around your coop, but what I did was water down the dirt in the area of the coop and the door and get it nice and muddy. Locked the chickens up and the next morning, I found tracks of a coon and a coyote.

    We lost chickens to hawks as well but didn't know it until I went to the outer edges of our property where our wooden fence post were at. Checked them and came across the remains of a chicken where a hawk had perched to eat.
  5. dainerra

    dainerra Crowing

    Jun 4, 2011
    I've lost to coons before with no trace. Sometimes a mother coon will drag a bird for a fair distance to where her young are waiting. Something like a screened porch would probably be very easy for a coon to just walk in and then back out.
  6. memiller123

    memiller123 In the Brooder

    May 3, 2009
    Are they being taken from inside the coop at night or during the day when they are outside?
  7. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Songster

    Typically, if you have a good rooster, he will be the first to die and puts up a hella fight, You may have a human predator if the birds were that tame. That's would explain why he did not fuss or fight, in his chicken brain, humans are friends.

    Dogs typically kill for fun (because of the chase). A fox will run thru in broad daylight and almost steal a bird out of your hand. they will grab the bird live and run till they are at the den or safe then kill it. A coon or possum will kill the birds on site and either drag it away or eat their fill and leave.

    A trail cam may help but if it is human, they have what they want or will steal the camera too.

    If you think it's a animal, lay out a sheet of plywood, lightly cover it with flour, put a bait in the middle, and check it in the morning. Anything that getting your birds will at least check it out and leave a footprint. With that you may mave a idea of what attacking the coop.
  8. willow

    willow Songster

    May 5, 2008
    Sherman, NY
    They are being taken day or night. When they are roosting or on the ground. I would think it was a human but I've been home all week so I can't blame it on them.
    Whatever is taking them is cleaning up after itself because even the slyest fox would leave something behind at least once. I've had nine birds taken and haven't found anything! I'm just baffled!
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Sounds like the work of a coon or coyote to me. If they're roosting up high at night, a coon could climb up and get them. Is the barn closed up at night? Coyote could just go right in and help himself if it's not. I've lost animals to both without a trace. The only evidence the coons left behind was the open door to the pen.
  10. beckschicks

    beckschicks In the Brooder

    May 23, 2011
    We had a problem with a grey fox we lost one rooster, one duck hen, and 3 guineas before hubby was able to deal with the issue. The rooster was an idiot and kept following the guineas way back in the woods none of my other chickens do that. The guineas were just guineas [​IMG] and I am not sure if he got the duck hen or if she had an issue with an egg. She was laying at least 2 eggs a day which just didn't seem normal for a duck we have had ducks before. Of course they were fertile but she wouldn't sit and I didn't have any chickens old enough yet. I dont have an incubator yet I am saving up for one hopefully this fall. I would point to fox specifically grey foxes if you have them around your area or maybe even a bobcat. I have not had any issues with dogs here but have had in the past and they are messy. Housecats tend to leave feathers. Possums and raccons are usually brutal in what they do at least from my experience. We had a raccoon on our chicken run the other day up on top of the thing it ran down and into a tree I swear I am telling the truth Hubby spent 3 hours under that tree just waiting it out till he got it. I dont know where you are at but our land is 15 acres of old lumber growing land so we are having to retake it. We knew we would have issues that is why everyone is put up at night and only let out when we are home. Good luck with your hunting oh fox pee works for foxes, dogs, generally cats and sometimes raccoons btw. OH one of them the fox took was from the time it took me to walk in the house get a drink and walk back out less than five minutes probably closer to 3.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: