I've lost 3 chickens in the last week - any thoughts what it could be?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Kelly G, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. Kelly G

    Kelly G It's like herding cats!

    I lost 3 - and we are at a loss as to what it is. We found one in the coop (they are closed in at night) last Thursday evening. And then found two more dead on Sunday morning.

    All three were killed but not eaten.

    All three had been decapitated (we found one head that was severed close to where it meets the chicken's body). The other 2 heads were not found.

    We found a small hole (about 8" wide by about 3" deep) going from outside the coop under the sides and into the coop. We had burried the sides of the coop about 10 inches - but the chickens have scratched away much of it...so this weekend we will be putting down cement borders all the way around.

    We live in central Florida.

    We have 2 humane traps we are going to put out (we'll probably just be catching cats for the first couple of days - we have five barn cats that were neglected in the "really smart" department...

    But what do you think might be doing this?


    See my BYC page for our set-up.
     
  2. CityClucks

    CityClucks The Center of a 50 Mile Radius

    Jan 31, 2009
    Tulsa, OK
    Raccoon.
     
  3. Kelly G

    Kelly G It's like herding cats!

    Wouldn't a raccoon eat the chickens, though??
     
  4. CityClucks

    CityClucks The Center of a 50 Mile Radius

    Jan 31, 2009
    Tulsa, OK
    Not necessarily - raccoons often eat the heads of several chickens - sometimes they pull them through a fence, but I've also had a raccoon take a free-ranging bird and it just ate the head - left the decapitated body. You might check the stickies on this forum category for more hints as to identifying which predator is after your birds.
     
  5. zatsdeb

    zatsdeb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 2, 2007
    Lincoln, Illinois
    we had a skunk eating the heads off, and weasels do that too. the skunks will dig under also. actually caught skunk in the act.
     
  6. Bizzybirdy

    Bizzybirdy Chillin' With My Peeps

    592
    6
    151
    Apr 14, 2008
    North of Nashville
    Racoon! and it will be back as long as there are any chickens left.
     
  7. I agree,
    It was a Raccoon.
    One got into our coop one night and killed two and badly injured one.
    One had its head almost cut of and with the other we could not find the head.

    Hope this helps!

    Matthew
     
  8. Silkie Man

    Silkie Man Out Of The Brooder

    16
    0
    22
    Nov 21, 2009
    Northeastern Ohio
    Also, how big are the openings in the fence/barrier the sides of your chicken run/area? For some of these buggers, if they can even reach inside they will also find a way to kill many birds. We lost a ton that way some years ago. However, I would agree that something probably went in the hole you speak of and I'd also say it was a coon or weasel of some sort. Good luck though btw, I did just check your BYC page for the pics... the fence in your run may do well to have some hardware cloth attached around the bottom two feet or so, that way when the birds are near the side nothing can easily attack them. Or maybe even scratch that? depends on what you're using now. Just beware of any openings larger than 1"x1" if this keeps going on.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  9. Kelly G

    Kelly G It's like herding cats!

    Here is our coop:


    [​IMG]

    You can see where we burried boards down around the entire perimeter...but the chickens had scratched away a significant amount of what was there. We're going to put down a cement perimeter that can't be scratched away.

    The run is 50' x 50' and is made of 6' tall chain link fence (not much protectiion, really - but it keeps the chickens in).

    We set a trap tonight, but it's raining - so I don't know if we'll see any action.
     
  10. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,992
    17
    176
    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Fence charger and it is worth the time and money. Always working for you provided power is up. I have a 6 ft tall fence too. It is welded wire 2x4 openings, set in cement, and fence charger. I have 2 ft tall chicken wire run all around inside at ground level to keep chooks from poking their heads thru fence. Charger is 5-mile, 4 KV, 4 strands hot wire beginning at 8" and ending at 42" height. May need to pour shallow cement base, maybe 2" thick, and 18" wide around perimeter. If you do all of that, then only worry would be airborne preds or 2-legged kind. [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by