Help with a predator

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Greenroots, May 25, 2012.

  1. Greenroots

    Greenroots Hatching

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    May 25, 2012
    We had a flock of 3 chickens and recently (2 weeks ago) got 3 more full grown chickens. The original three were raised as pets and have been pretty much free ranged and un-cooped their entire lives. They have a coop, we just never needed to shut them in except for winter when it is so cold and windy. They are fenced out of part of the yard, but only a 2 foot chicken wire fence. The chickens stay in their area. The property itself is totally fenced with chain-link on either side and front 4ft high and 5ft wire up against a 6ft solid wood fence in the back.

    We also had two saint bernards. We recently had to have the male saint put down (old age). The female is depressed and is not eating her moistened food, so we threw it out to the chickens. They did not eat it all before going to bed and we did not think anything of it. At this point it had been 6 days since the passing of our saint.

    I went out on the next morning, 6 am, and there are feathers on the ground, one of the chickens was in the sectioned off area, another was in the garden area and I couldn't see the rest. I quickly checked the white chicken, who's feathers were everywhere and who was also in the sectioned off area. Not a scratch, just missing feathers. I put her back in the penned area and retrieved the chicken in the garden. Then got some bread to lure all the chickens to me and do a head count. There were only 5. I looked around and found a clump of feathers (no flesh) of the missing chicken. I checked the coop and there were 3 eggs in there that were not the night before. We searched under the trees where they like to forage along the back property fences (6ft high) and we found another small clump of feathers (again no flesh).

    We searched for openings in the fences and found none significant for a critter to get through. I will add that the missing chicken is a brooding bantam who's defensive response was to fluff up and lower her head. The other bird attacked that was not harmed was who we believed to be the alpha hen.

    Any ideas as to what would do this, please post.

    Our ideas on it:
    We had the thought that since the male dog who was doing most of the "marking" in the back yard was no longer, that the predators thought it fair game. I will also mention that the female used to (3 weeks ago) walk the back fence line and no longer has access to it due to the penning of the chickens. We thought it may be a possum.
     
  2. Had to be something that would carry the chicken, like a fox, or bobcat perhaps. Normal behavior is to have a big meal, sleep it off for a couple days, and return for another meal. Everybody that keeps fowl must have a trap and a gun. Set your trap (live trap) where you suspect the predator got in. Use a good smelly bait like sardines, or fried chicken bones. I keep a trap set 24/7 and baited with a couple whole eggs, but your predator needs blood. Don't waste your time staking out the yard. When you catch it, kill it (the gun). Then either bury it or put it out with the trash in a dark bag. DO NOT RELOCATE. Good luck.........Pop
     

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