Hen Missing without Trace...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by thornwing, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. thornwing

    thornwing Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 10, 2009
    So. California
    My hen, Ra, is gone! I got back from vacation and the petsitter said everything was fine. I checked and noticed a hen was gone! I looked all around the coop and run, and no Ra! So i asked her if she escaped when she opened the door, she said no one escaped and she doesn't even remember her. There's broken egg shells on the ground and on top of the rabbit hutch like something was eating them. There is no blood, no feathers, it is like Ra just disappeared! The possible predators: two cats, rats, a pair of breeding raccoons and offspring, skunk family, coyotes and family, hawks....now let me fix this list up a bit.

    NO holes under coop, its solid safe...the run is large spaced wire with the bottom like 2 1/2 feet bordered by chicken wire making it hard to reach thru for RACCOONS and impossible to enter for SKUNKS...CATS are locked out along with HAWKS. COYOTES not only locked out but also dwell on the other side of a large chain link fence, hole-less, barb wire topped. rats seem like the only thing but how?....a LARGE ADULT BANTAM HEN?

    I need to know what kind of predator in SoCal hunts like that...: kills without leaving a trace...not a SINGLE feather! When my rooster Bato died, my petsitter made the mistake of leaving him outside in a box. She checked in the morning to see his body gone, but I chcked thoroughly: no blood, not a single down feather, no mess. Just the box sitting there alone, like Bato's body evaporated....

    Please help, I'm losing hope of finding my sweet Ra girl :[

    Please!!

    Raccoon: Tear, messy, feathers, blood, bones, left overs XX no feathers, no mess, nothing
    Skunk: Decapitate head, drink blood, XX no body what so ever, no signs of anything except possiblity that somethings eating eggs (egg shells)
    Rats: decapitate chicks XX full grown large bantam hen
    Coyotes: mess of feathers XX no way to reach chickens, no feathers
    Hawk: feathers, no trace XX no trace, BUT impossible to reach them
    Cats: cannot reach them, dont mind them while IN the cage XX
    No dogs in area then. No mountain lions, no fisher weasel wtvrs, no bears, no snakes
     
  2. Rohnasmom

    Rohnasmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Thief? Im so sorry for your girl going missing.
     
  3. High Roost Ranch

    High Roost Ranch The Chicken Whisperer

    Gone without a trace means she was likely carried off by a fox. They'll snatch and run, get a safe distance away, put the bird down, grab it again for a better hold and run further away to the den or if it's without kits, take it someplace concealed and eat it.

    Don't ever underestimate what a coon, possum or skunk can do with what you think is safe wire. A few years ago, I had several birds that I'd washed and was taking to a show the next day. I had them in a large rabbit cage with 1/2 inch heavy bar spacing that was next to my house under a security light and off the ground on a stand, something like a prevue cage on a stand and rollers. These were seramas, and while they were small, it was beyond my comprehension that their bodies could ever fit through a 1/2 space, but that's exactly what happened. Of the 4 birds I had in the cage, all but one was dead. This last hen, in her screams as she was grabbed in the early morning hours, woke me up. She was pretty traumatized and had a leg that was nearly torn off, but I managed to save her. The second hen, I found nothing of other than a few feathers on the cage bars where she'd been pulled through. The two cocks had half their bodies outside the cage. I don't know exactly which type of predator it was, but it was efficient. So don't think because your bird body wise is bigger than the space needs for something to get a paw through the wire that it's not possible, because I assure you, it is.

    Either a similar situation happened to your hen as it did mine that were in the cage, or she got out unknown and something got her. I had a cock bird get out of his cage when the door was left open on his pen. I found his hens, but I never found even a single feather from him. He just vanished into thin air. It wasn't a predator that opened the cage, my daughter forgot to shut the door.
     
  4. thornwing

    thornwing Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 10, 2009
    So. California
    Yes, fox would be a good guess except we don't have foxes around our area, none....

    I still don't think it was a coon because there are always some feathers, but this is like my hen just disappeared....and she doesn't come back at night so im feeling horrible...
     
  5. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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  6. thornwing

    thornwing Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 10, 2009
    So. California
    well then we dont in the neighborhood...believe me, lived here for 16 years never seen one....parents never seen one....my neighbors, bird raisers and lovers, never seen one...unless they are invisible...i dont think so but maybe up a ways near the base of the mountains
     
  7. jennh

    jennh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2007
    Lititz
    Quote:I vote fox, also. I've never seen one in my neighborhood, but have been told they are around. The farmers see them all the time. I live in a development that's surrounded, almost like an island, with farmland. Just because you personally haven't seen one, doesn't mean they aren't around. Besides, foxes are mostly nocturnal, so that would make it even more difficult to spot one. If you see one during the day, look out, it may be rabid.

    JMHO,
    Jen
     
  8. Debbi

    Debbi Overrun With Chickens

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    Ahhh, just have to ask. How well do you know your pet sitter?? Two events happening on her watch would make me wonder. JMHO
     
  9. thornwing

    thornwing Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 10, 2009
    So. California
    Debbi, the one who set Bato on the backporch was named Chelsea; the one watching them this summer was Brittany...two different people!

    I'm sure foxes are not around, but even if they are, there is no possible way for one to get in. I did mention large barred (what my contractor calls a "bear cage") run protected at the base of 2 1/2 feet of chicken wire and also (i forgot to say) there is a tarp like, but thinner than tarp, fabric over 3/4 of the coop. It provides shade for them...its some material to block sun and provide a little shade and less heat in the hot summers in SoCal here... the only side not protected by it is a dangerous side i may say so BUT there are no perches over there and only one hen really goes over there to do anything, Digger, a digging-obsessed hen who is fine and well.

    I am really missing Ra

    I got a new theory that maybe the gardener came and saw her dead ( i will explain one sec) and threw her out BUT he woudve told my dad, long time friends. Ra had been sick for awhile, nothing bad, but hey, you never know.
     
  10. thornwing

    thornwing Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 10, 2009
    So. California
    really the only things that have access to my birds are a few tiny songbirds, a ground squirrel, some regular squirrels, and rats but any of those VS a large strong banty hen? ALSO i just realized....

    During vacation i asked my pet sitter if the broodys were fighting due to sets of chicks....she said there were 3 black chicks and 2 white, and now only 2 black remain...she said she saw feathers but i examined all feathers and only molten feathers from the very hot summer are there so they TOO VANISHED without a trace.....
     

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