How can I win?!?!?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Carolyn, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    714
    11
    171
    Apr 6, 2008
    I have had chickens for 3 1/2 years and each year gets more disgusting 'cause of predators mostly. I lost 3 who were free ranging after the flood we had in May. I did not figure out what the predator was. I confined the 2 remaining hens to their pen, clipped wings again and we did okay thru the summer. Last month they were back to free ranging during the day and there had been no more problems. I bought 2 barndevelder hens at the flea market. 2 days later a dog I had never seen caught the 2 hens (one I saw and the other I only found feathers). The barndevelders were confined to the house and run because they were so flighty. Several days ago I clipped one Barnie's wing but the other managed to get away and fly out of the pen. She had done that before but she did not come back to roost this time.

    This morning I went to the flea market and bought 5 lovely welsummer hens @ POL from the same owner who raised the barnies. When I took them out to the pen something had caught the barnie at the entrance to the run. Lots of feathers there, none in house or elsewhere.

    I have electric net fencing around the chicken yard and the only chickens I ever lost inside the fence were killed by hawks: lots of blood, feathers in a trail, heads and part of upper body gone (and my hubby saw a large bird fly out of the pen during the day). I don't think this was a hawk and there is no evidence of killing on the site.

    I am thinking dog. The chicken had to have been killed this morning because she was on the roost last night and would not have gone to the run until daylight.

    I will batten down the hatches, make sure the fence has not been grounded out, set a trap etc. I would love to know what you think it might have been. I also appreciate having a site where I can vent to folks who understand!!!
     
  2. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    Could that trap of yours hold that dog you saw?
     
  3. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    714
    11
    171
    Apr 6, 2008
    I don't thinks so. Any suggestions? I have checked the fence and fixed a place that may have been sagging enough a dog could have jumped it. I thought about a steel trap and putting it in the pen at the run entrance. That way only the guilty party would get caught.
     
  4. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    I don't like leg hold traps but if you can place it where the suspected problem animal can get caught by it and no others it might be a way to go.

    Just make sure what you do is legal.

    I prefer the shoot and call the sheriffs office approach.
     
  5. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,228
    63
    233
    Jan 19, 2009
    new zealand
    constant trapping is unfortunately, part of chicken keeping... we have ours set up almost everyday..
     
  6. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    714
    11
    171
    Apr 6, 2008
    Update: We set 2 traps inside the electric net fence which was working. Used sardines as a bait. This morning there was a large opossum in the live trap. An opossum could not have been the culprit yesterday. There were feathers only, no blood, no chase and no bird or other feathers in the entire fenced area. We have foxes, saw one a couple of time 2 yrs ago; once actually caught him plucking a hen in the back yard; hubby shot him but had a light load bullet in the chamber which only served to frighten him. Coyotes are plentiful in the general area but I have not seen them. I have lost some in the past to unknown sources. Of course having seen the dog catch one last month, that was what I expected to find.

    Last time we started live trapping outside the pen we had a varmit every night: coons and opossums. I know they are there but my chickens have always been safe inside the pen except from a hawk who was unable to take my dual purpose adults out of the pen.

    Thanks for your suggestions
     
  7. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    20,149
    291
    401
    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Hawks and owls can and do leave nothing but feathers. (Depends, of course on the size of hawk and bird as to whether it can take the whole bird or not.)
     
  8. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    714
    11
    171
    Apr 6, 2008
    I talked with my neighbor this afternoon and he asked if I have chickens. He saw my hen on his porch Tues am and tried to catch her. He said she acted pretty scared, like she was trying to hide. I figure either a hawk did get her air borne briefly or the opossum got hold of her and she flew out of the pen. Big woods around her and she has not come back to the pen so she is still a goner but at least it makes a little more sense now. Thanks for all suggestions and just listening.

    BTW, I think the fence has been shorting out with all the leaves falling faster than I can get them up. It is on the side of a hill at the edge of the woods.
     
  9. Debbi

    Debbi Overrun With Chickens

    7,290
    26
    251
    May 2, 2010
    Missouri
    How about putting a wire roof on the pen? That electric netting isn't very good according to a horse woman here who sells it! Shorts out all the time, and UV rays rot the stuff. Is it dry where you are, like no rain in awhile? If so, wet the ground around the pen so the varmint will ground and get zapped. Best thing though, is to beef up your pen so no predator can get in.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by