Help with predators

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by RobbinsBobbin, Jan 25, 2017.

  1. RobbinsBobbin

    RobbinsBobbin Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 8, 2016
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    Hi. I have a few chickens, ducks, and geese in a 1/4 acre area enclosed by a five foot field fence with an electric wire running above it. I have two Border Collie/Red Heeler 10 week old puppies in with the flock. Yesterday one of my Buckeye pullets disappeared. I checked the fence and found that the battery went dead. It is solar powered and we have had two weeks of cloudy winter weather. Sure enough, today another Buckeye disappeared. There are no feathers anywhere. Nothing dug under the fence. The pups didn't make any noise. There was snow on the ground this morning but no tracks anywhere. Anyone have any ideas as to where my chickens are going? I have tried so hard to keep them safe. I lost some during the summer and beefed up the fort and got the dogs. I am really starting to get discouraged.
     
  2. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmmm, since you're not seeing footprints or feathers from a rapture hit any chance your chickens flew over the fence? I have a 54 inch fence and sometimes a few of the birds go over but they do come back. Could something have gotten your buckeye outside the fence if they went over?
     
  3. RobbinsBobbin

    RobbinsBobbin Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 8, 2016
    Lena, Illinois
    Gee....I never thought of that one. It's pretty high but it's possible. I will keep my eyes open. Maybe they will turn up. I have so many raccoons and fox around, though, I doubt they would make it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    A daytime loss is likely a raptor, although that's not a sure thing. Whoever it is will return! Lock your birds in their safe coops for a week or two, and fix the fence. Any raccoon can climb that fence, and your puppies are too young to manage things yet. Mary
     
  5. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have had fox and bobcat attack during the day. Don't get discourages, get a motion sensor trail camera. I have 4 around my place, and I am amazed at the predators I catch on film but never see - bears, coyotes, fox, bobcats, raccoons etc. You can get good ones for $100 or so. I have 2 Primos and 2 Browning models that I really like. Amazon has a Primos 02 model on sale for $80. Good camera that takes great pics. 5 of the 6 pics below came from my Primos.



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  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'm thinking bird of prey. At only 10 weeks, your pullets are small enough to be fair game, and likely not leave a bunch of feathers putting up a fight.

    Sounds like you need to either contain the birds until they're older or provide more shelter. Do you have older birds, or are they all young?
     
  7. RobbinsBobbin

    RobbinsBobbin Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 8, 2016
    Lena, Illinois
    Thank you all so much. I am most appreciative. I replaced the charger for the fence with an electric model instead of a solar one. I found fox and raccoon tracks a little farther away, outside of the fenced in area. I believe it was a fox that got in and took them. Holy Cow, Thomas, I cannot believe the wildlife you are living with! We did spot one bobcat traveling through about a year ago and a bear moving through a few years ago but but those were VERY rare occasions. My poor Buckeyes were 4 months old and just starting to look like full grown chickens. I guess I'll just suck it up and start over again. I do have a full grown rooster and two full grown hens. I have four other pullets, 3 runner ducks, and 4 geese.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2017
  8. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry to hear about your birds. Electric fences work well, but only if they are hot.

    One additional thing to check is to see if your fence is grounded anywhere. A correctly functioning solar unit will continue working for a long time, but not if it is grounded. That will drain a battery pretty fast. Not only that, but will drain off a lot of zap in the process. So even if you switch to an AC unit, what might be a potent shock might be diminished if the fence is grounding out by a loose wire or something else touching it. A fence voltage tester will help with this. Test the fence at the charger....directly from the hot side to ground side, and again at the terminal end. If the voltage differs much at all, you may have a grounding problem somewhere in your line.

    Other things to consider is if you have had an ice storm lately. Since your hot wire is high up off the ground, not likely you have leaves, sticks etc.. My jury is also still out on if snow will bleed juice from a line........in theory it is an insulator........but an ice storm that forms an ice bridge from the wire to a conductor to ground might be enough to drain a solar charged battery.

    Yet another consideration........with a single hot wire on top, if an animal climbed the wire fence, their only connection to the ground to close the circuit is through the wire fence. So is the wire fence grounded? If nailed to wooden posts only, you would have to rely upon the wood fence posts to close the circuit to ground, and that may not happen. So if nailed to wooden posts, try tying the woven wire fence to the fencer ground. When you test your line, touch the ground side of your tester to the woven wire fence.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2017
  9. RobbinsBobbin

    RobbinsBobbin Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 8, 2016
    Lena, Illinois
    Thank you, Howard. I do walk the fence. There is only one wire that runs above the 5 foot field fence. There are no tree branches or anything else touching it. Thanks. Robbin
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Flying over a 5 foot fence is pretty easy, especially if you have 10 week old puppies maybe 'playing' with the birds.....
    .......then the birds could have been picked off by anything.

    I would not expect 10 week old dogs to 'protect' anything.
     

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