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It was only a matter of time, predator attack...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by MacTech, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. MacTech

    MacTech Chillin' With My Peeps

    Something attacked and killed one of my Buff Orps today, I let them free range all day, and I thought there were enough hiding places what with the shrubberies and small groups of trees, but no...

    I'm now down to five laying hens

    The predator basically stripped the neck bare down to the sinews, ate half the head, and left a large gutted area that allowed me to see the internal organs, she was laying on her right side underneath one of the low lying shrubs (which are bare due to winter) most of the corpse was left to waste, I disposed of it in the field, the ground is frozen, and I couldn't dig a grave anyway....

    Based on what I've read, I'm thinking possibly a hawk, we have those in the area, and it matches the attack profile

    I fully admit that I'm to blame here, I let them free range, but they're just so happy out in the yard that I couldn't bear to close them in, and yes, I accept that this is one of the inherent risks of free ranging, my flock are not really "pets" per se, but it's still dissapointing and I can't help feeling I failed them.

    This weekend's project will be predator (and escape) proofing their run, so I have some control over their comings and goings and they have a protected area for inclement weather

    This won't stop me from free ranging them, they enjoy the freedom too much, and I can't deny them that, plus, it will give me an excuse to add more birds to the flock, five hens aren't enough, I'll probably add another four or five, and if one of my existing flock goes broody, I'll let her hatch some chicks

    Sorry for failing you, Minion 1 :(

    As far as Hawks go, well, let's just say having a shotgun reloading press gives me the ability to handload some non-lethal shells, noisemakers basically, a light load of Unique powder (8 grains) and a wad filled with air soft pellets makes a shell that has its range measured in feet, yet makes enough noise to scare off undesirable avians without hurting them, heck, from 20 feet away, the pellets won't even puncture an empty plastic soda bottle...

    Oh, forgot to say, looks like the two roosters are failures when it comes to protecting the flock, the hens bully them around during the day (the hens were here first, they established a pecking order before the roosters were added) and when Cooper, my Portie runs to the flock to greet them, the Roos take off in a panic while the hens stand their ground, if the Roos weren't so endearingly cute, and fertilizing the eggs, they'd be given a "pink slip"

    Hmm, perhaps I should check Craigslist for an incubator, I have fertile eggs, instead of buying more chicks come spring, just hatch my own.... Even better try to force one of my hens to go broody now....
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
  2. cityfarmer12

    cityfarmer12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Missouri
    sorry for your loss :( Even when they are livestock (my chickens are too) it is still sad when you loose one.

    Minion 1, lol, thats funny :)

    Hatching eggs would be fun... [​IMG]
     
  3. PirocaKeeper

    PirocaKeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 21, 2014
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    So sad to hear your loss. I felt the same way. I had last year a chicken killed by a giant owl. I went systematically through the whole process of guarding my flock from all predators I thought. I thought about building a run with the wire buried, to prevent ground predators, I put chicken wire on the top to give them protection from flying predators (hawks and falcons). My chickens free range all the time within a very large fenced in yard, but go inside the coops at night. In the summer when is hot, I have some chickens fly on top of the run and sleep there, never did I think about a flying night predator. Live and learn, that is what I call it. Now, I go and check on them every evening, anyone on the top of the run, gets put away by me. Annoying yes, but it makes me feel a lot better about me protecting them. Like you, I know how good is for them to free-range and to us to eat their fruit, but what I have done is give them even more areas where they can hide from predators. I have planted many flowering bushes around the fence, where they can run to, when the predators fly. they also go into the pen, which is covered on the top. Still I got a another attack, this time by a opossum. I was so upset, thinking why wouldn't I think of this one. Well, we cant think of all predators if we never have an attack. For every loss I experience I build another way to protect them. All one can do is learned from it and try to prevent it a next time. Whenever it happened to me, I felt I failed and then I think, well, this is something a farmer may have known, but I didn't, so I am better for the experience. I am sure you will find a way to give them places to hide. I have heard of other people placing A shape structures, where they chickens can quickly hide or panels against a fence, if you have a fence. Good luck with the rest. This much I know if the falcon came and killed one, he will most certainly come back for the others. So be prepare one way or the other.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
  4. MacTech

    MacTech Chillin' With My Peeps

    I figured I'd start my own little tradition for losses due to predation....

    Memorial Fishing Flies....

    I went out to the carcass, harvested some of Minion's feathers, and created *this*
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I tried to make it big and fluffy like the hen the feathers came from, I won't use this fly for fishing, but I have enough feathers left to create more for fishing
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. cityfarmer12

    cityfarmer12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    good way to get something useful from her :)
     
  6. MacTech

    MacTech Chillin' With My Peeps

    The predator proofing has started....

    I got 125 yards of flourescent green 130 Lb test fishing line, very tough and durable, and set up a web style mesh over the run, it's not perfect, but it's a start, and of course the flock found a way out of the yard, so the next step is to use the web as a support frame and put some netting over it

    Okay chickens, if you *want* to risk more predator attacks, you have only yourself to blame, I'm tired if chasing you back in today, I would have thought you would be afraid to go out today
     
  7. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I love your memorial...but I hope your memorial collection of fishing flies does not grow [​IMG]
     
  8. MacTech

    MacTech Chillin' With My Peeps

    There appears to be a slight design flaw with my cover net...
    [VIDEO]
     
  9. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG]
     
  10. cityfarmer12

    cityfarmer12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 18, 2014
    Missouri
    lol, that's funny [​IMG]
     

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