I'm losing all my babies, can anyone help, please?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by beckym67, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. beckym67

    beckym67 New Egg

    Aug 11, 2008
    :eek: Last Monday I lost 6 young bantams; 2 hens and 4 roos; and a beautiful chinese wood duck. About four months ago my last remaining large chickens were picked off one by one, and body parts were left inside the run. Whatever got in the first time tried to drag the chickens under the run door (about a 2 inch gap) and, well, the chicken lost some body parts in the process. It was a grisly sight. Some of the chickens were left in the run with their heads in one place and the chest cavity wide open in another. It was horrific. So, before I got any new chickens, I sealed that run and coop like fort knox. There wasn't a space (or so I thought) that anything could get in. Now all my beautiful 2-3 month old bantams are gone and my sweet duck, and all in one night, right under our noses. For a while I thought it was a fisher, now I'm being told it might be a coon. Whatever it was, pulled those chickies through an opening about four feet off the ground, out of fencing that has a 2x3 opening. I had about a 6" area on one side of the run of that wire and they used it to their advantage. For the life of me, I don't know how it got my sweet, petrified duck out (now I know why he was always so scared) they were probably being stalked. My husband and I are building a brand new coop (off the ground) with a 10x12' dog kennel as their run. I am now in the process of running 1" chicken wire all around the kennel and then covering the top as well with wire, just as my other one was. I've had chickens for 4 years and never had a problem with predators until this past year. This is the third group of chickens I've lost. My new coop and run is in a completely new area, I've gotten two african geese, and I'm getting a few goats to graze behind the new coop. I don't get my new babies until the end of September from Ideal, and they obviously wont go out for a while so I have time to make sure this new area is tight. I hope some of this helps, but in the meantime does anyone have any ideas on what is killing my babies? Sorry this is so long but I'm so distraught and want to prevent this from happening again. By the way, I live in Massachusetts if that helps. Thanks so much for anyones response.
  2. rachel

    rachel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    It really sounds like a raccoon. I'm sorry for your losses and I hope the new coop solves your problem. Maybe you could set up one of those live traps around your current coop for now, and then you could catch it and at least confirm that's what the problem is (and keep it from your birds).
  3. jessupfamily

    jessupfamily Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2007
    SW Indiana
    It sounds like the weasel problem we had! But a coon could be the problem as well. The head and chest cavity issue sounds just like our weasel. And fitting through the 2 in. gap sounds like a weasel. Either way, when you get the goats, they do help in keeping away critters. Also, if it is a weasel, and they know that you have what they want, they will dig if they can't get through their original openings. We had one dig 6-9 inches under our coop wall! We now have concrete coop floors. Hopefully you'll have time to really look over your coop and totally critter proof it.
    Amy J.
  4. orchidchick

    orchidchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2008
    south florida
    You may want to consider hardware cloth while you are in the "construction" phase. I believe there are weasels in Mass. and you don't want to have to go through this heartache again.

    So very sorry for your losses.

  5. HeadHen

    HeadHen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2008
    Houston, TX
    You definitely need to try to trap it. It knows where your chickens are now and it will just keep trying to get them.
    If it were me, I would put up electric wire or electroplastic netting. A couple zaps and whatever it is won't try it again.
    Sorry you and your chickens had to go through that [​IMG]
  6. Reinbeau

    Reinbeau The Teapot Underground Premium Member

    There are definitely weasels in Massachusetts, I've seen them down here on the South Shore. Now I'm worried, but at least I'm still at the run-building stage. I know nothing can get into the coop, it's Fort Knox, it's the run I worry about. All we can do is the best we can think of, I don't expect to leave them open to the run at night, anyways, but if I'm not home all day and they're out in the run.....oh, would it be heartbreaking to come home and find that kind of carnage! [​IMG]
  7. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

    Mar 3, 2008
    :aww 1/2" hardware cloth is the way to go. So sorry... [​IMG]
  8. beckym67

    beckym67 New Egg

    Aug 11, 2008
    Thanks everyone. Are weasels the same as fisher cats? I have no idea how the racoon would have gotten in if it were one of them, they're so fat. Sneaky critters. All the advise on here is wonderful, and again I say thanks.
  9. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    Quote:They are related to fishers, but much smaller. They are nasty little things.
  10. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Fisher cats are like weightlifting weasels on steroids...
    This is a Fisher:


    If the wire's been pulled back or a bird's been pulled through the wire, it's most likely a raccoon...
    Fisher cats, which is a misnomer, have been making their way up from Rhode Island.

    Chicken wire is good for keeping chickens in, but nothing else out...

    I'm so sorry for your losses...
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2008

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