I need help identifying this predator--VERY GRAPHIC PICS!!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Titania, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. Titania

    Titania Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 28, 2010
    Oklahoma City
    I plan on buying a wildlifecam when I get home, but until then, any ideas on what did this?
    Background: I live in the city, in a subdivision in the suburbs. I have a small, 1/6acre yard with 6ft wood fencing. My husband stapled chicken coop to the bottom of the fence and buried it to keep our dog in and other dogs out. Our pup lives & sleeps in the house so he was not the culprit.

    I raised 4 chicks from day-old. They lived outside then they stayed outside in a dog crate once they were 4 weeks old while we waited for the coop to be finished (we hired a neighbor to build a coop using reclaimed materials found on Craigslist). By six weeks old, they were much too big for the crate but the coop STILL wasn't completed. So, I moved them to my children's Step2 cottage playhouse. I put duct tape across the windows and a rock against the door to keep it shut. This is an idea of how the tape was across the windows.
    [​IMG]

    We hadn't seen any sign of predators except for hawks so this seemed to be fine. Until one night...

    the chickens were out in the morning, except my speckled Sussex Jane. We never did find her. I found some digging underneath the playhouse but no feathers or any blood. I assumed they had gotten out and a hawk carried her off, but now I no longer think that.
    The next morning, Emma, my red sex-link, came up to me all by herself. I knew I had lost some more chickens, and as I looked out into the yard, I could see a dead carcass.

    I found half of Chloe, my mille fleur d'uccle, in one piece and the other half scattered underneath the play area. Also, I could see where she had been dragged out from underneath the playhouse since her feathers were all over the place. Then I found Aracely, my Ameracauna, mostly intact, but beheaded and with the meaty parts eaten.

    Here are the pictures.
    This is where chloe was dragged out. I had already picked up most of the feathers before I took the photo
    [​IMG]

    This is what was left intact of Chloe, who I assume was eaten first
    [​IMG]

    and here is what I later found under the play area
    [​IMG]

    And this is what I found of Aracely
    [​IMG]

    and her head
    [​IMG]

    and, finally, the calling card the perp left on the duct tape. This means it came in through the windows too.
    [​IMG]

    The killing occurred between 6 and 7am.

    The next night, I placed my remaining chicken, Emma (who had a chunk of feathers broken/pulled off her tail) in a travel puppy crate for the night. At around 2am, I heard a child crying. I checked on my 4 year old then my two year old. Sound asleep. It dawned on me it might be Emma. Whatever it was came back for her and dragged the crate 10 feet out towards the middle of the yeard, causing Emma to cry out. When it saw me looking out my window, it left the crate and fled. Unfortunately, I didn't put on my glasses, thinking I would be comforting a child, and I could only see a low dark shape dart away. I couldn't distinguish fox or raccoon or possum or cat or anything. Since then, the same animal has been back to the playhouse at night leaving more fur on duct tape and digging more holes.

    Sorry for the long description. But the main points are that it tried to eat all 3 chicksn, it eats most of the chicken, leaving feet and feathers scattered. And, it visits during middle of the night/early morning hours. it has not dug underneath the fence/chicken wire, so it must have come into the yard via a tree or dug a deep burrow as there is one single hole in the whole yard. We had filled it up before the killing, but it was undug the next day. I'm not sure if it's a fox or raccoon. I'd like to find out so I can gear the coop fortification against raccoons if that's what it is.

    I really appreciate any advice, help, thoughts on the matter. I was devastated that it happened, mad that the coop hadn't been finished, and frustrated that they were nearing point-of-lay finally. They were our pets and all the neighborhood children came by after school to play with them. My children particularly loved Chloe as she was the most gentle and docile. I can't be mad at the fox, if that's what it was, for being a fox. But I have different feelings toward raccoons. They ruin EVERYTHING. Still, I'm not sure I want to kill it. But know, from my previous experience in the city, that nothing deters a raccoon so I'm assuming that if my predator is a raccoon, I will never be rid of it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2010
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    So sorry for your losses. Sounds like a coon...gotta gun?
     
  3. daytonfarm

    daytonfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 8, 2008
    Maryland
    I would bet that it's a racoon. I would put the remaining chicken(s) inside for at least a couple days unless you are out there with it. They will come back until all the chickens are gone. Put a trap out, you can get those from animal control, that way you will know that you caught the culprit. So sorry for your losses. Put the remaining birds in the garage or basement something that is very secure
     
  4. Ema

    Ema Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2010
    N. Ontario CANADA
    that looks like racoon hair to me. its black with bits of grey and white. Sorry about your loss
     
  5. kla37

    kla37 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2010
    Hillsborough, NC USA
    That's so sad! I agree it was probably a raccoon. Nasty little monsters. Use Hardware cloth all around the bottom and over the window.
     
  6. daytonfarm

    daytonfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 8, 2008
    Maryland
    Ok I missed the first picture of the duct taped house. That needs to be way more secure then that. The holes are to big and with the way a raccoon can manipulate with its hands it could pull it off or rip it. Most raccoons or possums could dig under also. You really need to finish the coop before you put them back outside again or the remaining chicken will be a free meal.
     
  7. Titania

    Titania Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 28, 2010
    Oklahoma City
    thanks for the responses. I was hoping it wouldn't be a raccoon but looks like the consensus is coon. Darn it. I guess I will have to trap it then. Sorry...no guns. Also, I live in a very dense suburban area so there would be serious questions raised. The method of elimination will have to be quiet.
    My poor Emma is all by herself so I'll be giving her to somebody with a flock of red sex-links. She's unhappy by herself. And, yes, we've been putting her in the travel crate in the evenings, in the garage, to keep her safe.
    thanks again for the input & condolences! Much appreciated...
     
  8. Dixieangeln

    Dixieangeln Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 20, 2010
    NC/VA line
    Oh so sorry for your loss.... hope you catch/kill it or it leaves before you put your other chicken out there..
     
  9. geebs

    geebs Lovin' the Lowriders!

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    Sep 28, 2008
    Great pictures... they must have been hard to take... It sure helps with the identification... I vote coon also I am not sure what part of the country you are in or the wildlife there but coon seems likely. Sorry for your losses... that is just heartbreaking. [​IMG]
     
  10. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Ya gotta get a gun, even if you hafta borrow it. You need a .22 bolt action rifle. The ammo is .22 CB Shorts. In a bolt action rifle, the CB Shorts sound like a twig snapping as they are loaded with minimal gunpowder, yet are very effective on trapped predators. The shot should be to the top of the head. Don`t even think about relocating a predator as it is illegal in most areas and you would just be dumping your problem on somebody else. Good luck........Pop
     

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