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I just lost a chicken... Do they kill one another?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by 1janiam, Sep 5, 2014.

  1. 1janiam

    1janiam New Egg

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    I just lost a chicken a[​IMG]nd I don't know why! :'( the chicken coop is inside a large completely covered dog run so nothing could get to them. Do chickens fight one another? There were feathers everywhere and one of the other chickens looked as though a few feathers were broken off her back. I am worried about how to keep them safe, but from whom?
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    I hate to the bearer of bad news - but your pen is far from predator proof, I would be hard pressed to think of a predator that would not be able to easily access and kill your birds in that enclosure. The likelihood that this was bird on bird fight rather than a predatory attack is pretty much slim to none.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They will fight each other (pecking order), but like ol grey mare said, slim to none chance. I thought our coop was like fort knox until a raccoon proved me wrong. More than once. Look for tracks, droppings, trails. Was there blood or any physical damage to the bird? Could it have been a poisonous snake?
     
  4. 1janiam

    1janiam New Egg

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    I checked. I live in a very populated area and have not seen any snakes. Or cat cannot get into the cage. I am really worried about losing more.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Raccoon. It will be back tonight.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  6. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I will suggest that you reinforce the fencing with 1/2" hardware cloth. There's another member on here who had the same type of wire and she witnessed and then trapped a raccoon squeezing through it. Once a predator knows where the easy meals are, you can count on them being back so don't wait to reinforce it. @iwiw60 has shared some great examples of wire skirts to go around the base of the run too. Predators won't take long to tear up the covering you have over it so you'll want to replace that with either a solid roof or hardware cloth as well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  7. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Anything larger than 1 inch (and in some cases smaller - which is why 1/2 inch hardware cloth is the wire of choice for "predator proofing") is large enough for the most common predators to access and kill your birds - your wire has openings larger than that. Additionally, all the gaps where panels meet, etc are large enough for those same predators. Those same predators can also easily navigate under your entire kennel to access and kill your birds. Each of these could do so without leaving a single sign that they had been there with the current enclosure.
    As for living in a very populated area - those are often the areas with the largest predatory animal issues....ou may not *see* them, but you have racoons, foxes, possums, skunks, possibly members of the weasel family, predatory birds, coyotes, feral cats and dogs, free-ranging pet cats and dogs -- the list is long and not one of those on this list would find it at all difficult to enter your enclosure. What's more, they don't even have to get in - a raccoon, for example needs only the space it takes to reach a paw in to grab any part of a bird it can reach, drag it over and rip it apart piece by piece and drag it through the wire to eat it.
    Your cat *could* get in, he (or she) has not been motivated enough to show you......a hungry predator is plenty motivated and most of the common ones are able to access places a domestic cat cannot.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm so so sorry for your loss. With that said, as soon as the shock of this goes away it's time to re-think your setup and get it as predator-proof as you can! Irregardless of just 'what' predator got in there...it will be back now that they know where dinner is...sad, but true.

    So! I enlarged your photo and see several areas that need changing/improvement:
    1. That netting you're using for the run roof need to be replaced immediately either with a solid metal roofing or 1/2" hardware cloth. Why? Because raccoons especially will simply climb up that convenient 2"x 4" wire you have on the sides of your run right to the top and in he goes!
    2. Speaking of that 2" x 4" welded wire you are using on the run side walls...gotta go. Use 1/2" hardware cloth only...everywhere! Since you obviously have digging predators you should also "apron" your hardware cloth down and out at least 12-14"...here's some example pics:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    3. You need to change the latch system on your run doorway. I'm not completely positive but when I viewed your pic enlarged I believe it is a "up and slide" type latch maybe? Change it for sure. Raccoons are very nimble-fingered and can figure out a latch in a matter of minutes.

    Again, so very sorry for your loss, but take a deep breath, and get to work beefing up your setup...all the best to you! [​IMG]
     
  9. 1janiam

    1janiam New Egg

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    Thanks for all the great advice. It sounds like I have a weekend project ahead of me.
     
  10. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I reinforced our coop. Not as thoroughly as mentioned above. We put "have a heart" traps all around the coop as my chickens free range. We used other traps too and one of my hens got her neck in the trap. Thank goodness hubby was home & caught it in time. She is ok. We removed all those traps. I figured really if it wasn't going to kill my chicken, it wouldn't have killed the predator. And I sure didn't want my chickens hurt. We lost 10 hens to the raccoons. They were nesting in the woods on the property next door. We caught 3 of them. We lost many nights of sleep because of the terror they put us & our chickens through. Once they find a good meal, they come back. Good luck. Hope you get them.
     

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