Just lost one tonight -- rats!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by baldessariclan, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. baldessariclan

    baldessariclan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2010
    Wichita, KS
    Well, not rats, really -- probably a raccoon or possums. We have plenty of both lurking around our neighborhood and backyard at times. This was a little surprising, though, because I found her just after sundown, and still very light outside (my wife had been out about an hour earlier and saw all five then).

    I had gone out to close them up in coop for the night and counted only four up on the roosts. Scanned the perimeter and found what was left of number five near the fence in the sparse brush that grows along there. Head gone and upper parts of wings eaten. Open/eaten portions of body felt cold and dry, but legs and body still a little warm, so must have been somewhere in past half-hour or so. Grrr...

    Will patrol a little later w/ the flashlight and air-rifle (we're in city neighborhood, so have to keep shooting quiet). The possums and raccoons tend to hang out on backside of our garage roof some nights -- lots of scat up there at times.

    So I'm wondering what sort of chicken-snatcher comes out that early, if/when they'll be back, and how early to lock the hens up in the future?
  2. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Gosh, I'm so sorry.

    Sounds like a raccoon to me. And they will come out during the day. Especially for a meal. Good luck eliminating your problem.

  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Sounds like coon to me too. Once they grow up near humans, they do come out during day light if easy food is to be had.
  4. baldessariclan

    baldessariclan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2010
    Wichita, KS
    Well, this was pretty close to sundown, all things considered. Maybe if we start always locking them in a couple hours early from now on?

    We do live in a neighborhood in middle of town, so any raccoons around here would be pretty accustomed to people. But I've only ever seen them out at night (very occassionally), along some sign from time-to-time (tracks, scat, partially pried-out foundation brick once, etc.).

    Do they generally come right back next day, or tend to revisit a week later or so? Would an owl be out that early, maybe? Sometimes see those around, too (at night).
  5. WillieBoy

    WillieBoy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 1, 2010
    I try to get my hens as soon as possible when it nears sundown.It's the witching hour and the night creatures are stirring.I don't let them out to early either, same reason...Sorry for your loss, i'm always battling coons, they are persistent,nasty predators..(and smart)..
  6. baldessariclan

    baldessariclan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2010
    Wichita, KS
    Next morning update -- predator identified: HAWK

    My wife let remaining 4 birds out at normal time this am (late morning), and later went out to backyard and found an enormous hawk poking around in the pile of feathers left from last night's casualty. Remaining hens were hiding behind the coop. Hawk flew off, but has since been back and hanging around the back yard for rest of morning. I think we have the culprit identified at this point. I haven't seen it yet, but my wife says that it is definitely a BIG one.

    I am a little surprised to find them hunting in the middle of the city. I have spotted them up high on occasion, but never heard of one coming down into anybody's back yard. We have lots of neighbors around us w/ all sorts of little dogs that are even smaller than our chickens, but have never ever heard of any casulties among those. Hmmm...???

    Well, we'll keep the remaining birds locked up in the run for next several days until I can study up on what sorts of options are available for our situation. Anybody know how long hawks will generally hang around and/or revisit before giving up and moving on? (yeah, yeah -- probably never :) oh well...).
  7. eds500

    eds500 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 27, 2010
    Raleigh, NC
    I feel for your loss. I'm preparing for when I have to deal with it.

    We live in an urban neighborhood built in the late 50's. I've seen foxes, hawks, raccoons and opposums. I see and occasionally hear the hawk during the day. The foxes, raccoons and opposums from nightfall through dawn. Our house is about 500 yards from a greenway/nature easement and a waterway that runs through town which provides a protected habitat. I'm sure these animals are multi-generational city born and are used to people, traffic and noise. Overnight predation is my fear and why I'm predator-proofing my coop to the extent that I am. I'm considering a hunting trail camera when I see the first attempt to get into the run. I want to know what I'm dealing with before I take action. My options for dispatching them legally are limited since I'm in the city but.... [​IMG]

  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Quote:Best of luck. They now see your birds as food. That said, we've got perigrine falcons making nests on sky scrapers and eagles living near large developments in the greater Seattle area. If your area is just in the migration path of these birds, they'll be gone in a few weeks. You might consider adding chairs, tables, shrubs, and shelters out where the birds range, so they have a place to go run and hide. I free range and do know I risk losses to hawks and eagles, but the birds have been great about hiding as soon as one gets near.
  9. scrambled please

    scrambled please Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 30, 2010
    never mind
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010

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