I had 15 chickens. Now I have none.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by SMarieBarr, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. SMarieBarr

    SMarieBarr Chirping

    May 5, 2019
    I woke up today to see my chickens have all been killed. This is my first flock and I’m taking it so hard. My husband was born and raised on the ranch we live on now. But this is all very new to me. I find myself angry at him that he should have built the coop better or maybe just be more understanding. My chickens were starting to cluck and doodle. I haven’t told my 2 year old is even more obsessed than I. Any words of wisdom are appreciated. Thanks

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  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Got my Puppy

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    So sorry. I would be upset too. I have lost a few birds to predators this year. My whole flock would be upsetting. I see chicken wire which is no good at keeping predators out. Do you know what did it?

    You can't do anything but try again if you are interested in continuing in the hobby. We all make mistakes, and we learn from those mistakes. It is still early enough to try again this year with more birds after you reinforce your set up.
  3. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Crowing

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    I'm so sorry for your loss. I know how heartbreaking it is to lose your first flock just after they are mature enough to be chickens. (We burned the coop down with our first from a flood lamp left in as the temps had taken a sudden cruel drop).

    As to what to do next. First, it happens to nearly ALL of us at one time or another. That is simply farm life. It's not fun. It's simply the facts of living in areas with predators.

    Next, see if you can figure out what got them. I see the one photo with a dead carcas and lots of feathers. Were their heads gone? Any bodies dragged off? My first thought is a coon. They can be very destructive.

    Second is coop reinforcing. Hardware cloth is much more secure than chicken wire. Can you bury the cloth under the run wire?

    You may also have to have a wooden frame coop, with a raised floor, and lock birds in at night if you are in a high predator area.

    Part of figuring out how to proof the coop is figuring out what animal got them.

    Again, I'm so sorry this happened. It often happens to the first flock. Sadly the learning curve can be high.

    I have lost my first flock due to fire. I've also lost key hens over the years to coons. You learn. You improve. You learn to improve and roll with it while still missing your special first friends.

  4. SMarieBarr

    SMarieBarr Chirping

    May 5, 2019
    Thank you! Yes we have feathers everywhere. I have a security camera I just haven’t the heart to look at it. I’m thinking it was a coyote. Thank you for all your advice and tips.
  5. Mixed flock enthusiast

    Mixed flock enthusiast Crowing

    May 21, 2018
    Stillwater, OK
    How heartbreaking, SMarie! I’m so sorry that this happened to you and your family, I can see how rough this will be on your little guy too. The emotions that go with something like this are hard to manage, grief, rage, guilt, failure... I’m sure that your family thought that the coop and run safety were adequate, lots of people mistakenly think that chicken wire is made to keep predators out, when it’s clearly all too easy for many things to get through, so you aren’t the first! Your picture with the slit open chicken wire ought to be on all rolls of the stuff, warning people off of it. Again, I’m so sorry that you and your family have to deal with this!:hit:hugs
  6. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Crowing

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    After you have recovered emotionally a bit, look at the camera tape.

    My guess is coon as the bodies were left in place (?) Coyotes will carry off a whole flock, especially this time of year for pups.

    But go to the video. You will learn what got them which will tell you what to do next to secure for your next, new and improved version.


  7. Henriettamom919

    Henriettamom919 Crowing

    May 1, 2019
    North of Seattle
    I'm so terribly sorry :hugs

    I grew up taking in/ taking care of everything; injured wild birds, opossum, raccoons, even the occasional field mouse. My heart just beat for animals and now my chickens are my babies so I totally understand your heartbreak!
  8. Bonniebooboo

    Bonniebooboo Crowing

    May 27, 2017
    So sorry they did this to your whole flock. We have lost 4 of this years pullets to coons and opossums this spring. We have caught 5 coons and 2 opossums since April 2. raising them and getting attached is makes it even harder. Hoping you are able to get heavier wire and around your coop run. wish you the best . be sure to look at your camera so you know what you are dealing with. It is hard to see sometimes, but it will help you on deciding how to hand the situation. I live trapped, and euthanized.
  9. elmoflim

    elmoflim Songster

    Mar 12, 2015
    It looks like a headless chicken to me and for me that screams raccoons. I’m sorry for your loss. I’ve had raccoons kills 17 silkies chicks in a secure raised chicken brooder just by figuring out how to open the door they’re smart predators. Don’t be too upset with your husband he probably didn’t realize it my dad didn’t know as well. Definitely watch the camera and see what predator it is if raccoon you can set a trap with some pet feed in it. Again I’m so sorry about your loss it happens to the best.
  10. IamRainey

    IamRainey Songster

    How tragic and traumatic!

    In circumstances like this all you can do is grieve and help your daughter to as well. Then you can learn the lessons, make the adjustments and start again.

    If it was raccoons, they're devious creatures. Make sure that, as well as preventing digging and squeezing through incredibly small spaces, you use latches that can be further secured with carabiner clips.

    Then ((hugs)) to all of you working your way through this. When we lost a hen last year my grandson made a picture of her to remember her. Maybe your daughter would like to do that. And The Tenth Good Thing about Barney by Judith Viorst is an excellent book for trying to come to grips with what death means and what happens thereafter. A 2yo may or may not be ready for it but you could give it a try. And, as a retired preschool teacher I've recommended that families have it for when those occasions arise.

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