I hate murder mysteries

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Carolyn, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 6, 2008
    I have always had predator problems where I live and the list is long and varied. Some I have witnessed the kill or attempt; some I have figured out by trapping and some by MO. Last year I lost 2 to hawks (we have red tails and with a new 1000 acre lake in the area osprey and eagles have been spotted nearby). The hens lost their heads (literally) and were eaten from the head downward in very cold weather, light snowing. My husband has seen a large bird exit the pen when one was killed. I didn't find the first body immediately (golden comet laying on pile of leaves) and it had more eaten off of it. The second was found in the chicken house which meant the hawk followed her thru the run and cornered her.

    My chickens are in a house with a run behind a premier electric net fence. Except for an incident where the fence quit working due to extremely dry weather the only attack inside the fence were by hawks.

    10 days ago I had a hen missing and we had been seeing hawks around. I confined the remaining 4 hens to the run. The house has a chicken size opening from the run and the house has no evidence of "tampering" though there were some possible small entry areas in the run. Yesterday I looked and could only find 3 hens.

    Today I removed the roof from the house (long story but DH did not build this coop to my desired specification inspite of my research). It looked like the pile of feathers from the 1st hen's disappearance had grown. After moving a roost I found 4 feet, 3 1/2 wings in the corner of the coop.
    I noticed the hens had quit roosting at that end of the house and were using their nesting boxes; no wonder.

    We tried to make it more secure, set a live trap and made sure the fence is working.

    Any ideas???? I know from experience that what I catch in the trap may not be the culprit. The MO sounds like a hungry hawk but I don't know how a hawk could have gotten in the run. The roof is very difficult for me to move and it had no opening.

    Previous predators have been fox & dog witnessed, a feral cat who came back to eat on a headless dead bird (one of several that day who were free rangeing before I had the fence). Trapped or seen in area racoons and opposums in abundance, coyotes in general area.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks (by the way it has been single digit nights then 30's to teens with snow off an on for several days until today.
     
  2. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    I'm no expert but if I understand you, the culprit was in the coop eating several times? It sounds like a possum to me...
     
  3. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It either got in the coup x 2 and ate and entire chicken or came back for repeat meals and didn't kill #2 until it consumed #1. When my fence shorted out we caught a opossum in the run so you may very well be right. Thanks.
     
  4. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 6, 2008
    Definitely opossums. I heard the chickens a few minutes ago so very DH and I went out to check. Small opossum in the trap, large one in the house, both dead now. I found one live hen. Could not find the other two but the lighting is very poor and it is hard to check the cubby holes in the house.

    I don't understand why the electric net fencing was keeping them out and now it isn't when it appears to be working when we check it. There are trees near the chicken yard as well as in it.....I don't know if that is how they manage. I am not sure how they got in the run either I thought we secured it yesterday.

    I am out of work right now and this may be the last time I try chickens if I loose these.
     

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