I am devastated, My Sumatra was killed


In the Brooder
7 Years
Sep 15, 2012
I live way out in the country, and last year had lost chickens to raccoons. I am a new farm person so this has all been a devastating learning experience for me. Making their pens like fort knox to keep out the predators.

Tonight has just done me in, guys My heart is so so sick. My Hen, Sue had a coon get in her cage and i hear her screaming from the house. I ran out to see it run away. She was on the ground but looking around and when i picked her up I saw her legs had been torn off. My husband too her into the woods and shot her.

My chickens are more than just chickens to me but my family and my home is in a territory of wild that is simply inhospitable to them. I've had predators crawl up their cages, shred chicken wire, dig underneath bars, you name it. The heartache of these events is far too traumatic for me, emotionally crippling. I understand mother nature, but I feel wholly responsible and I have just been terrorizing myself because i feel i was negligent and she suffered an excruciating consequence.

What do you guys do when you small hobby farmers come to the realization that you are not able for one reason or another to provide enough safety and security from such a vast menagerie of wild predators. I considered giving them away, but they are pets to me, and I am paralyzed by the through that someone would slaughter them or something. I just know they deserve better than being in the thick of the swamp with coyotes, possoms, skunks, raccoons, birds of prey, foxes, minks, stray cats, and more.

A friend of mine told me to kill them all humanely. Is that what people do? I can't bare to even consider such a thing. I need a shoulder and some good advice.
What kind of chicken wire do you have?

Hardware fabric is much much sturdier and would go a long way in helping to protect them. Not sure there is much any predator out there could tear through well installed hardware fabric.
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You need to make sure nothing can get them in the coop....

We put rocks all around our coops so nothing can dig in. I used welded dog cage wire and barbed staples, they are completely secure.

Just this morning i heard the dog going crazy by the coops, I look outside and she has a raccoon pinned between them. She's a smart dog and knows better than to go straight at it so she just held it there till I could deal with it.

During that time I had no worries about the birds because they were in the coops completely safe

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I understand you heartbreak. I have gone through the same. When we lived in town and had chickens, they lived for years. Now we live in the country and I have lost count of how many of my girls have been killed. Hawks, foxes, dogs, other chickens, geese, etc.

Part of my solution is the purchase of a Great Pyrenees. He is the best investment I could have made. We lost a few since we have had him, but that has been part of his learning curve. We have not lost one to the hawks since he has matured. He hates hawks and goes after them. He keeps the neighbors dogs at bay and well, Mr. Fox will either be caught by Louis or trapped and dispatched. He is persistent but so is my dog. He doesn't hurt the girls, or boys for that matter. He takes good care of his flock.

Another idea is the aforementioned hardware cloth. That is what we have used and it has been excellent in keeping the predators out of the coop.

Please don't get rid of your ladies. I know it is heart breaking and I have thought the same myself, but I love my girls. They entertain me, they come to the door for loving and will just sit in my lap and fall asleep. Almost like a dog some of them, that is why losing them hurts so bad. I have a new order of chicks arriving tomorrow. Hopefully I have more success with these girls than my first bunch out here.
Thank you guys so much for the thoughtful words and suggestions. My chickens are so very dear to me. I treasure them. Ignorantly, I never anticipated the vast array or dangers that they would face out here and thus some perished due to my own inadequacy and it has just been an emotionally traumatic experience trying to keep them safe. I went through a period of staying up all night long and running outside with a spotlight anytime one of them made a peep. I have a wonderful silkie rooster named Maverick who is like a guard dog, and he'll start crowing at 2 in the morning if there is something lurking around the back yard, and I always come running, but i don't always hear him. He has his own coop, I call it his bachelor pad.

I live in terror with the constant anxiety something is coming to get them now. I concede that I am not a hardened country person who is adept to this lifestyle, and perhaps the impact is not as tremendous on some more seasoned veterans who are can handle mother nature in stride. I am going to look into some hardware cloth right away.

Thanks again!
So sorry for your losses. Many of us have learned the hard way that predator protection is most important for the safety of our birds. There's no substitute for building a Ft. Knox coop, and the safest daytime run we can afford. You just have to do it! My first birds roosted in my barn, and many awful losses later, the solid coop happened here. I do still regret those early disasters, and it's made me do a better job of protecting my birds. Mary
Thank you so much Mart, can't tell you how vital this forum has been in learning and dealing with the trials that so many have endured before. Definitely such a comfort.

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