I'm new...sorry if this was already discussed.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by lovemyladies, May 31, 2008.

  1. lovemyladies

    lovemyladies New Egg

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    May 31, 2008
    I recently lost my entire flock of hens to some sort of wild beast. It was one of those situations where I walked out to the pen in the morning... to silence. My heart dropped. I had them to such a perfect level & was so proud of what we accomplished together.
    When I bought my house, it already had a pen built. The pen had previously been used for goats. I reinforced the fence and all had been well for one full year. Well, almost all was well. I dealt with hawks (with the victim being my favorite and only bantam rooster), some sort of disease (still undiagnosed... I'm thinking either a wild-to-domestic bird virus or possibly contaminated food. I switched out the food and disinfected the house and all was well after that). But, this massacre... oh my! I'm in the process of rebuilding...and I want to rebuild right.
    So, my biggest issue is the fact that there are trees in and around the fenced area. I've designed the new fence to enclose all trees...with the intention of predators not having anything to climb on the outside of the fence. I am not able to cover this area with any sort of netting because of the big, beautiful trees within the fenced area. Am I doomed against raccoons or something else?

    Glad I found this forum...any discussion will help as I rebuild and form a new flock. I had to buy eggs last weekend...and that felt weird and was very sad at the same time.

    Amber
     
  2. LinckHillPoultry

    LinckHillPoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 17, 2008
    Pennsylvania
    I think that as long as the trees are inside the fence they should be okay. The only thing you might have to worry about is winged predators.
    I dont think any type of bird would have wiped out your entire flock, so just make sure the base of the fence is secure to the ground so that any type of predator will not be able to get under the fence.
     
  3. Buster

    Buster Back to Work

    Is there anyway you can screen the top around the tree trunks? Just a shot in the dark because I haven't seen your set up. Could you post pics so we can see what you are dealing with as far as how to secure the run?
     
  4. lovemyladies

    lovemyladies New Egg

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    May 31, 2008
    Thank you.

    As far as winged predators... will a hawk go after a larger sized hen?
    The rooster that was victim to a hawk was just a little guy...with tons of attitude and personality. He is so missed! After he was gone, I didn't see any hawks. Then one day I started introducing 2 growing peeps to the outdoors as the days started getting warmer (about two weeks ago). Well, wouldn't you know it... a hawk came back and made an attempt at the little ones, but I was able to save them.

    When the hawk was first eyeing my rooster, it made an attempt before it actually won. During the first attempt I heard the squawking, ran out to the pen, couldn't find my rooster, opened the chicken house door, and the hawk flew at me and hit me in the head!

    So, the hawks showed up when I had a bantam or about six week old peeps outside... no signs of hawks when only the plump hens were there. Am I fooling myself by thinking a hawk wouldn't go after my birds if they are all "big?"

    I don't currently have pictures of my pen as a whole. I will take & post some as soon as this crazy thunderstorm we are experiencing subsides.
     
  5. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Hey Amber. My sympathies - been there, done that.
    Im with Buster and would like to see some pics of your set up.

    It might be best if you knew what pred you are dealing with. Make no assumtions... Do you know its a raccoon? Maybe it's time to set some traps?
     
  6. lovemyladies

    lovemyladies New Egg

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    May 31, 2008
    I have never set traps before...but, I will.
    I know where I can get some.
    I'm picturing myself walking up to a trap that has caught something...makes me laugh because I'll stand there & be like "now what?" Haha..
    The correct thing to do is to take whatever is caught and release it somewhere else, right? Load the caged beast in my truck and drive it somewhere...hmmmm. Quite the picture in my head.
     
  7. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    I had a juvenile redtail go after my Standard Sized Leghorn Hen Obelisk...She ducked under the hydrangea and was safe.
    Penny was a Silkie/Cochin bantam and he was able to kill her, but not take off with her...
    BUT that is certainly the case if a hawk goes after a standard bird.
    I'm so very sorry for your losses, Amber.
     
  8. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    I'm picturing myself walking up to a trap that has caught something...makes me laugh because I'll stand there & be like "now what?" Haha..
    The correct thing to do is to take whatever is caught and release it somewhere else, right? Load the caged beast in my truck and drive it somewhere...hmmmm.

    Uhhhhh, no. By taking a predator elsewhere, one that has learned to accept human activity, chickens, etc, you would simply be planting the problem into someone else's life. Predators are highly adaptable creatures and wil set up camp somewhere else.

    Generally, if it is a wild predator the best thing is to dispatch it or let your local animal control people do so - if they will.
    If it is the neighbors pet (which I doubt), then you have some other options.

    Here's a little something from our old friend, Bob Plamondon, on this matter of predators:

    Cure for Crows (and other preds)?

    Several people wrote in with suggestions for dealing with my crow problem. As you'll recall, the crows have been stealing eggs from the nests, dropping them on the road, and eating the contents. I got a lot of colorful and even outlandish suggestions, none of which did much good.

    What worked was shooting them. After shooting two crows on my main pasture, they've kept away. Boring solutions work; colorful ones don't. This is my usual experience. People love colorful solutions because they make a great story, and so they repeat the story to other people - whether it works or not. Simple, direct, unaesthetic solutions, i.e., "boring," have nothing going for them except that they work.

    Now, predators are smart and observant. I rarely hear people mention this, but predators are smarter and more observant than people give them credit for.

    Having killed two crows, at least a hundred are now avoiding my farm. I've seen the same effect with four-footed predators: when the farmers and the animal/wildlife control people are on their toes about livestock-eaters, the predators not only get the message, they pass it on to their young, and a balance is struck.

    Predators normally eat other wildlife rather than livestock, and this means that both predators and livestock get to have a normal lifespan. But if you don't kill any predators when they change their patterns and begin eating your livestock, then their caution fades. After just a few generations, the mothers stop teaching farm-avoidance to their young, meaning the now-clueless young predators kill a lot of livestock before inevitably being killed themselves. Which is a bad deal all around.


    Bottom line is this: a pred which learns to prey on chickens at your doorstep is only going to continue to do so, no matter where it is. It's called, "following the path of least resistance; it's what they do. You either let them continue or do something about it.
    Harsh I suppose but, well... there it is.​
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 31, 2008
  9. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    You should be aware that sparrow hawks (and perhaps other raptors) can fly to a tree and climb around and down and that your chickens can fly up. I've watched sparrow hawks hunt this way, often freezing in position until they can grab something.
     
  10. Cheryl

    Cheryl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sorry for your loss, I just lost one and I feel crappy! May I ask one question...you went out in the morning to silence, do you shut your birds in at night, in the coop or let them do as they would like? Many predators come out at night, that is why it is suggested they be inside for those hours.
     

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