Is this a predator attack?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by RedMel76, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. RedMel76

    RedMel76 New Egg

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    Jul 29, 2010
    A couple of weeks ago, we lost a hen. My husband said it was lying under the part the hens go in to lay eggs, inside the coop. I didn't see it but he said it didn't look like anything had gotten in the coop. Today, my daughter went to feed our hens and found their favorite pet Bantam dead. It is lying in the corner, under the part the hens go in to lay eggs...same as the other. It's neck has no feathers on it and it's head is twisted around the wrong way. I don't see where anything could have gotten in except for a small crack in the top where the roof is sagging. It's only a few inches space though and if something got in that way, I wouldn't think it could get out.

    So, what options am I looking at? Could something have gotten hold of it through the chicken wire? Someone suggested that it got it's head stuck in the chicken wire, but if that was the case wouldn't it still be stuck in the wire?

    We only have hens at the moment though we're still debating if the Rhode Island Red is a rooster. We got rid of our other two roosters due to their severely attacking our new older hens to the point I was worried they would kill them. Should we get a rooster and put it in? Will that protect them more?

    We recently moved to a more rural area and the coop sits several feet inside the tree line.

    Thanks for any information you can give us. I'd like to prevent any more deaths if possible. The children's tears are so heartbreaking.
     
  2. MysticScorpio82

    MysticScorpio82 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2009
    Maine, USA
    Wow, I am stumped. I am not sure if this is the work of a predator or if it was an accident. One thing you can do to help prevent this from happening again is to replace the chicken wire with 1/2"x1/2" hard wire. Chicken wire is only good for one thing; keeping chickens IN. It will not prevent a predator from getting in, it's just too flimsy.

    Also if you have bantams then their head will fit through the chicken wire, so it could have been an accident (as someone stated) OR it may have been a raccoon. Raccoons will reach through chicken wire to grab a chicken, so it is a good possiblity that a coon reached in, grabbed the chicken and tried to pull it through the wire (that would explain the lack of feathers). Of course they normally remove the head when they do this, so it may have been a young one. But that does not rule out accident.

    To me, the lack of feathers on the neck is what I find interesting and makes me suspect a predator. Do you live near water? (creek, stream, pond, etc) Was there any blood on the chicken? Where were the feathers?

    I am sorry for your loss! [​IMG]
     
  3. RedMel76

    RedMel76 New Egg

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    Jul 29, 2010
    Sorry for the delay in my responding. I had posted the original message before we had removed it from the coop. The loss of feathers was actually not loss of feathers. The way the chicken was laying, with it's head bent almost under it, made it appear that way. I should have waited to examine it more closely before posting.


    Upon examination, there was no blood, no damage, nothing. It looked like it had a broken neck from the angle it was laying. However, I'm not really sure as it may have just been angled like that due to it's being dead.

    We do live near a pond. It is a large pond that is quite overgrown.

    I looked around for animal tracks and couldn't find any.

    I wondered, is there a possibility that I am feeding them something that could be killing them? Each time we lost one they had been fed veggies from the garden (various squashes, tomatoes, etc).
     
  4. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    You may have a weasel--I had a similar experience and didn't catch on until I'd lost 15 of my 18. He'd kill one or two and, since they were old birds, I thought it was simply old age. Only when I did a very close examination did I find the wound in the neck--the weasel lapped up the blood. These critter are capable of getting in through a half in crevice--mine used a hole chewed under the door by mice. I'd suggest setting a live trap using the body of one of the birds he killed and plugging up that hole under the roof--that is not only large enough, the height is no deterrent. Fortunately the are easily trapped.

    A rooster is no deterrent either--I lost three of them in one attack.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
  5. Brahma Mamma

    Brahma Mamma Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 16, 2010
    Sounds like a raccoon or more probably a weasel. We had a weasel take out an entire chicken tractor with 75 young birds. He ate the butts out and also a lot of them had neck wounds. If it's a weasel, go through your coop and hard wire any possible holes! That weasel killed all those birds in ONE night. They kill just for the fun of it and they do come back!
     
  6. RedMel76

    RedMel76 New Egg

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    Jul 29, 2010
    Thank you for all your advice. I appreciate it. I don't even know what a weasel looks like but fortunately I have a friend who has a trap. So, hopefully we'll catch it quickly. What can I use for bait??
     
  7. BeccaB00

    BeccaB00 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 16, 2010
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    omg I think ya got a weasle. I dont know much on them but I dont think they are supposed to leave obvious marks on the chicken. I had my favorite hen die a few years ago. When I found her she just laying there. like she fell off the roost or somthing. Not really any marks on her. Just two little spots on her head but no bleeding or anything. We think a weasle must have got her while she was on the roost as the roost was VERY close to the top of the cage. [​IMG]
     
  8. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oxford NY
    Quote:The best bait is one of his victims--they will return to their kill. I caught one using just the head of the roster he killed. They are short-legged, fur bearers, ranging in length from 6inches to a foot, depending on age. I suspect if you google weasel you find a photo and lots of info--there is also a threat that has been in this section where there is a picture of one. I think it is titles "Look what my cat killed"
     
  9. gardenak

    gardenak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Douglas, AK
    Weasels look like a ferret or mink but can be smaller. Where do you live? We have all manner of predators here- I just lost a 9 week old to a hawk. But have seen mink, bear and eagles out back. The eagles seem to prefer thier food already dead but I still don't trust 'em. The using the victim for bait is a good idea- the hawk keeps coming back too so the girls have to be supervised now when they are out.
     

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