Kinds of predators

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by pslane, Oct 17, 2019.

  1. pslane

    pslane Chirping

    68
    4
    94
    Apr 22, 2010
    Sumter SC
    I'm not new but I had to re-register because my email changed and I couldn't get into my account.

    Anyway, I have a few Serama bantams and last night something got in and killed and partially ate my 2 sweet Serama girls. I only have 2 hens and 4 roosters left. This was terrible for me because one of the girls was a silky Serama and they both weighed only about .9 lbs each so they were special.
    My pen is completely covered and I only found one place where something might have shimmied in.

    My question is this: Since this was a "kill and eat" attack, which small animals would do this? Do possums eat prey or do they just steal eggs? How about raccoons? Maybe a weasel.....

    But because this is a mystery to me, I'd just like a list of predators that will actually kill and eat a small chicken. Not sure how a fox could had gotten in but we do have them out here.

    BTW I have ordered a trap and it's on the way.
    I am in South Carolina.
     
  2. FathertoFeathers

    FathertoFeathers Songster

    169
    398
    101
    Aug 26, 2019
    Tennessee
    Possums have a pretty special "calling card" if you will. They'll definitely steal eggs but they also will bite the neck of the chicken to kill it and then reach up their bum and eat the organs. (Or so I've heard never experienced it) I have never experienced a weasel attack so I'm no help there. A fox could be the culprit but it's unlikely. Usually the fox will take the chicken back to its den and eat it her. It could be a raccoon but the fact the bodies were eaten and not just mangled makes me lean more toward possum or weasel.
     
  3. Cryss

    Cryss Free Ranging

    3,499
    8,242
    687
    Nov 12, 2017
    Northwest New Jersey
    Chickens taste good to everyone. Raccoons, fox, owls, hawks, weasels, rats, snakes, bear, humans, cats, dogs...if it eats meat it eats chickens.
     
  4. Cryss

    Cryss Free Ranging

    3,499
    8,242
    687
    Nov 12, 2017
    Northwest New Jersey
    And if there is an opening in the run or coop larger than 1/2 inch something can get in.
     
  5. Xerocles

    Xerocles Songster

    170
    484
    102
    May 22, 2019
    Clinton (piedmont) S.C.
    I'm in South Carolina also. According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the long-tailed weasel is the only weasel we have in South Carolina. SC has scattered populations but not abundant anywhere. And found more in the Piedmont area. Adult females can be as small as 3 oz, so they can get in some pretty Tiny Places. The smallest weasel in North America is called the Least weasel (Mustela Nevalis). None known in SC, but their heads are only 7/8ths of an inch....so 1 inch X 1 inch wire would not stop them.
    So, unless you live in the Piedmont area, and are relatively close to a stream or lake area, you may have a weasel problem...but I would guess your preditor to be something else.
    Oh, but just in case, that trap (if a live trap) better have mesh smaller than 1 inch. You will also need to partially bury it, and camouflage it, or a weasel won't go in it just for food like a raccoon will.
     
    Wolfefarmyard likes this.
  6. pslane

    pslane Chirping

    68
    4
    94
    Apr 22, 2010
    Sumter SC
    Thanks, every body. This is very helpful. I'm not in the Piedmont, but we do have a pond but I kinda think this is not a weasel.
    Possum sounds likely because we do see them sometimes. This one ate the head mostly and the other girl was dead but not eaten. Did you say that a raccoon doesn't eat the chicken, just mutilates it? Because we definitely have those. The only breach in the wire was very small-about 4-5 inches (which I fixed today) so this had to be a fairly small critter. Also there's this: These girls and their rooster never would learn to roost on the high roost in the shelter so they were down near the ground. I don't believe the ones who roost high can be reached by this particular critter. So my guess is now a possum or a raccoon.
     
  7. Xerocles

    Xerocles Songster

    170
    484
    102
    May 22, 2019
    Clinton (piedmont) S.C.
    FYI possums and raccoons are both climbers. And you say the breach in the fence was about 4 to 5 inches. Imo, that's a pretty big breach. What kind of wire? Chicken wire? Was it pre-existing, or made the night of the attack? If it was made the night of the attack, your repair is pretty worthless. The Predator moves down 6 in and rips a new hole. If it is chicken wire, you're basically screwed until you cover or replace it with welded hardware cloth. IT WILL BE BACK! Free chicken dinner? I'd be back.
     
    Wolfefarmyard and Folly's place like this.
  8. Cryss

    Cryss Free Ranging

    3,499
    8,242
    687
    Nov 12, 2017
    Northwest New Jersey
    If you give us some info we might be able to help you stop or at least slow the attacks. Pictures of your coop and run would be best, what type of wire are you using, how did you make repairs?
     
  9. Xerocles

    Xerocles Songster

    170
    484
    102
    May 22, 2019
    Clinton (piedmont) S.C.
    Also, how near the ground was there Roost? 1 Predator we have not discussed. Dogs. We still don't know what type of wire you have, but there are some breeds of dogs strong enough to tear through chicken wire, small enough to fit through a 5-inch opening ( small beagles and dachshunds come to mind) and would certainly be able to reach a roost 1 foot or so off the ground. And who knows WHAT go through a dog's mind. Biting the head off one because it was making a screeching sound, grabbing the second and just mangling it. Not eating, because if it's someone's pet, it probably wasn't hungry. Attacking the chickens? Dogs being dogs. Just another what if to add to the mystery. Do you own, or can afford a trail cam?
     
  10. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

    16,352
    19,648
    836
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I hope your survivors are in a truly safe place tonight, and going forward until your coop is secure.
    Do post pictures here!
    For a safe coop: no openings larger than 1/2" diameter anywhere. Hardware cloth well attached, and for bigger varmits, 2"x4" woven wire over the hardware cloth about 4' up the sides of the run too. A dig proof floor or at least a dig proof perimeter all around it.
    Solid construction, not flimsy, so nobody can tear it up.
    In bear country, electric fencing, with a very hot charger.
    Mary
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: