Last 3 Hens Found Slaughtered

Padfoot417

Chirping
8 Years
May 31, 2011
142
2
91
Massachusetts
Hey all. This morning we went out to a pretty gruesome scene...the last 3 of our hens were all laying dead in the run. Plenty of feathers laying around, chunks of skin, the whole 9 yards. I just want to identify the predator, I'm thinking weasel/mink/something of that nature only because there was limited space to enter the run. No open areas, no huge holes. Just part of the overhanging tarp/screen was torn with something like less than a foot hole. No tracks around either. All the chickens were headless and their hearts were torn out. Lots of skin was ripped off and plenty of meat torn apart. Even their wings were torn apart. Just a very sad morning. Any input would be greatly appreciated.Thank you.
 

Ameraucanas

Songster
May 15, 2015
671
48
131
Sorry. I have no idea. Good luck, though! I know that it can be very hard to loose chickens, and I really sympathise with you.
-Ameraucanas
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,884
822
California's Redwood Coast
I am sorry for your loss!
hugs.gif


Although I am unsure which 1, you are on the right track.

I would definitely set a trap tonight even though you have no more hens, in case you are going to get more. So when you say the last 3, have you already been having problems with predators?
 

bantamrooster

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 13, 2014
163
29
83
Ya sounds like raccoon.
"something like less than a foot hole". Anywhere near a one foot hole would be big enough for about every predator to get in.
 

Millworker26

In the Brooder
Jun 25, 2016
87
4
21
SE PA
Ya sounds like raccoon.
"something like less than a foot hole". Anywhere near a one foot hole would be big enough for about every predator to get in.
X2 on the raccoon, or more likely raccoons. Need to trap and kill them and reinforce run/coop with hardware cloth. After you do that get more chickens.
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,884
822
California's Redwood Coast
Hey all. This morning we went out to a pretty gruesome scene...the last 3 of our hens were all laying dead in the run. Plenty of feathers laying around, chunks of skin, the whole 9 yards. I just want to identify the predator, I'm thinking weasel/mink/something of that nature only because there was limited space to enter the run. No open areas, no huge holes. Just part of the overhanging tarp/screen was torn with something like less than a foot hole. No tracks around either. All the chickens were headless and their hearts were torn out. Lots of skin was ripped off and plenty of meat torn apart. Even their wings were torn apart. Just a very sad morning. Any input would be greatly appreciated.Thank you.
If you are using a tarp or screen to cover holes, they are useless! You need to replace it with quarter or half inch hardware cloth.

Best wishes!
 

GertrudeLover01

Songster
7 Years
Mar 20, 2012
340
14
126
Murfreesboro, TN
I'm so sorry. I also had a raccoon (or something) tear into my coop and kill all my birds. We had to completely tear down our coop and redo it. It took lots of time, money, and effort but we have our new birds happy and safe now. Tarps are pretty flimsy, and I would advise against using those in the future. It really does sound like a raccoon that got your birds. With your next venture, I would suggest a dusk to dawn floodlight. It helps deter predators and gives me an extra bit of peace of mind. Also, definitely consider closing your girls in a sturdy coop to sleep at night. If nothing can get in or out the actual coop, something getting in the run will be a lot less of a big deal (but it still would have to be fixed). Best of luck, and I'm sorry again.
 

Millworker26

In the Brooder
Jun 25, 2016
87
4
21
SE PA
Someone on this forum said "if a 5 year old can get through your enclosure so can raccoons." I think that's a pretty good barometer to the effectiveness of an enclosure.
 

Howard E

Crowing
5 Years
Feb 18, 2016
2,881
3,909
296
Missouri
Multiple dead birds inside the coop, with that kind of damage, is most likely the work of raccoons, and likely as not, more than one. Like momma and all the kids. They could enter through a hole that is only a few inches wide like it wasn't even there. A month or so back, I witnessed a full sized coon go through a woven wire fence......hole was about 4" x 5".....no larger.

Now that you know what didn't work as far as a secure coop is concerned, if you plan to have more birds, your next order of business will be to find a way to secure what you have or build something better. As is, there is no point restocking with new birds, they will be killed too. No need to trap or do anything more with the birds or predators until you have a secure coop that nothing but you can enter.

Fort Knox and make it bomb proof.
 

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