Help with confusion: Is it national predators week?

Carolyn

Songster
11 Years
Apr 6, 2008
714
15
171
I've free ranged my chickens for 2 months with only 2 losses, one of a hen who refused to come in the coop a couple of nights and by day 3 there was only a pile of feathers. We have a lot of predators in the wooded area where I lived but mostly at night.

But this wk...Mon hubby finds a raccoon in the run when he is shutting them in at dark. Tue am there is a pile of feathers in the yard (again, no blood or anything else). I let the chickens out thinking we would be home but had to make an unexpected ER trip. That afternoon I heard a chicken squawk and looked out to see a fox pulling feathers out of a hen. DH shot the fox but forgot he didn't have a heavy load shell in the gun so he got away. Amazingly the hen who acted like a zombie had no bleeding or other injury.
I tried to get everyone in the coop and realized my roo and a hen were missing. My hubby found the roo fully feathered with his head off and part of his entrails eaten.
One white hen refused to be penned early so I watched her but turned my back for a couple of minutes just before I went to let her in and she literally disappeared. This morning her body was in the yard, killed just like the roo. This afternoon I shot a large ferral cat who was eating on the chicken but I don't know that is what killed her.
How many kinds of murders do I have here?

Of course they are all penned now. I have 2 month olds that faired much better and they were outside also.
 
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Davaroo

Poultry Crank
12 Years
Feb 4, 2007
5,517
102
308
Leesville, SC
Does it matter? Get some traps, bait them with chicken parts and get to trappin'...

Youll know for sure, then.
 
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cw

Songster
11 Years
Jan 11, 2009
1,587
7
161
green co.
i would think about making the coop more secure, o thats right u free range, sorry, just keep gettin them
 
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Carolyn

Songster
11 Years
Apr 6, 2008
714
15
171
The run itself seems very secure; for the house we have taken temp measures to make it hard to dig into. I don't think any one was taken from the coop; all from the yard.
 

cw

Songster
11 Years
Jan 11, 2009
1,587
7
161
green co.
i lost our 1st to a coon this week, he couldnt get in the coop so he stuck his hand in a small crack and one of the smart cornish x went to peck his hand and got his little head pulled off,
 

ivan3

spurredon
12 Years
Jan 27, 2007
4,511
210
291
BOCOMO
We live in a wooded area. Unsupervised free range is pred KFC, but the meals are served up alive and screaming from the `lope' through lane.

If there are chickens, the vermin will come. Best advice has already been given (FT.CHOOK). Only let `em run free when someone has a vermin retirement tool in hand.

Preemptive trapping and retirement of vermin won't keep them from coming, but does reduce the overall frequency of predation.

You might want to look into electric fencing as well.
 

saddina

Internally Deranged
10 Years
May 2, 2009
7,993
17
261
Desert, CA
Put out traps, dispatch what you catch, keep them in the run unless you are within sight of them with a tool to get rid of preditors (spear gun optional).

You're really going to have to have a multi prong plan here.
 

Carolyn

Songster
11 Years
Apr 6, 2008
714
15
171
Thanks for the advice. DH set 3 traps today. This is war!
 

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