How do I protect the remaining girls?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Brooklinechicks, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. Brooklinechicks

    Brooklinechicks In the Brooder

    Jun 22, 2008
    I'm so sad, the girls were growing so quickly. I went to feed them and was horrified to find that a predator had found its way into the run/coop. Those poor babies. It killed three of my seven 8 week old chicks in a way that made me think it must have been a raccoon. I'd thought the coop was well fortified. Chicken wire, hardware cloth, but I missed a place that it must have squeezed raccoons squeeze through narrow spaces? burrow? Would a rat rip heads off and eat entrails?

    All that said, I think I've patched the one hole that seemed to have been a potential entry point, but I'd still love to get the girls to settle more safely into the hen house at night. They seem to be up and down into it all day long, but don't move in for the evening.

    Any thoughts of how to keep them safe?

    Thanks so much for your advice on my last post. The coop and house seemed perfect. It's a hard lesson, but I'm not giving up, and I have three beauties to protect, still.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
  2. keljonma

    keljonma Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    When you first moved them into the hen house, did you keep them in there for at least a week? (Don't let them into the run at all.) By doing this, they learn that the hen house is a safe zone with food and water and roosts.

    If you didn't do this, gather them up and lock them in the hen house for a week. After the week is up, entice them back into the hen house at night with a night light or a favorite treat.
  3. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    Raccoons have been known to reach through wire to kill chickens, pulling them apart. It may also have been a weasel. They can get through pretty small gaps. I think the lesser weasel is the smallest and can get through a 1 inch hole.

    I'm really sorry this happened. The best thing to do, is what you have already started doing. Look for gaps that need to be closed. Make sure your wire fencing has small enough holes that something won't get through it and a strong/thick enough gauge that it won't be torn or pulled apart, so they'll be safe in the daytime. Lock them up in a sturdy coop at night.

    If you need to get them into a better routine of going in at night, just start bribing them with some little snack. A little grain or whatever you want to give them. It doesn't have to be a lot.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: