I just lost all 4 of my chickens!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by gclark94560, Sep 13, 2014.

  1. I'm so sad! I've been free ranging my four pullets. I raised them from peeps and they are/were 18 weeks old now. Two Blk Australorps and two Buff Orps.

    I let them out Thursday at noon. I went out near dark as always. Every evening prior, all 4 would be in the upper coop in the communal nest box. It was empty.

    I went back around 10pm. Still empty.

    I have left the coop open 24/7 since then hoping they would show up. All are still gone without a trace. No feathers, nothing.

    I live on 14 acres with a ton of woods all around. I've trapped/killed 7 raccoons in the past months.

    I'm really bummed out about this. I'll most likely replace them, but no more free ranging - ever!
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    I'm sorry about your losses![​IMG]

    I'm not quite sure what would have gotten them. A predator, I would think, wouldn't take all four at one (unless it was a dog or something that enjoys "playing" with its prey). Hawks or raccoons are also possible.
  3. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    I'm sorry about your lost hens! [​IMG]I agree with Wyandottes7 that most predators wouldn't have taken all of them at once. I would suspect a dog, fox, or a two-legged human "predator." Hawks would likely have taken only one, and a raccoon might have killed 1-2.
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    Coyotes could easily clear out four birds in an afternoon. Another possibility is that not all were taken at once, the others may have hidden themselves if an attack happened, only to be taken later in the day or at night. Unfortunately there are many possibilities, especially in a wooded area.
  5. How long should I wait? I would replace them, but it's getting late in the year for buying chicks.

  6. Nupe

    Nupe Songster

    Jun 13, 2014
    I'm not sure where you are located but if you get cold winters then I would make building a secure coop/run a winter project for spring chicks.

    I had a similar experience. My first coop setup was an old shed with 100 feet of welded wire attached to it. It wasn't close enough to the house that I could hear them. In one afternoon, all 10 chickens were killed and left to rot in the run. I'm pretty sure it was a neighborhood dog that dug under the fence. It happened early in the spring. After a few weeks of being devastated and angry, I decided I wanted to try again. This time we made plans for a coop/run built from scratch. The run is fully enclosed, top and bottom, and the coop is raised with access to the run from the floor.

    I will probably never free range them so I'm starting to set up a fodder system. If that works out well, then I'm thinking about a mealworm farm. Maybe I can get them off of commercial feed completely.
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Ugh! I hate that. I free range too, and live out in the middle of no where and have fed my share of predators. With the fall coming on, and babies in the wild getting bigger, chickens are predator's fast food! This time of year, one needs to keep them locked up a little more. Once predators find you, they are often back. I have had mine running free, with out a loss untill two weeks ago. So into lock up I have been, and will probably stay in this mode, except for a couple of hours occasionally for most of the winter. I have found that keeping the flock locked up for several days, often times a predator will move on. However, anytime you let them out, you are risking it.

    Personally, I would look around, talk to local poultry clubs, look to people close to you that have some chickens. I think you could easily buy some point of lay birds if you wanted a flock again before spring.

    A rooster will help with predator protection, but he needs to be very close to a year old. However, if you are picking up some girls, very often people will throw in an extra rooster for free! By spring he will be a year or close to it. Roosters are not a 100% cure, but they do help. I have read that a hen will take the rooster's role if there are no roosters, but that has not been my experience.

    Mrs K
    1 person likes this.
  8. whittychick

    whittychick Songster

    Jul 28, 2013
    Cape cod
    Oh so sorry for your loss [​IMG]
  9. whittychick

    whittychick Songster

    Jul 28, 2013
    Cape cod
  10. whittychick

    whittychick Songster

    Jul 28, 2013
    Cape cod
    What's a fodder system?

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