Loosing birds just before dusk

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Axel, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. Axel

    Axel New Egg

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    Dec 2, 2011
    We are having serious trouble with loosing birds just before dusk. Within an hour of sunset, we have now lost 3 ducks and one chicken. We are at a loss as to what is getting our birds. The birds seem to disappear without a trace. We've tried to set a trap, but so far, neither peanut butter or salmon has attracted anything at all.

    Local experts suggest it can't be a raccoon or bobcat since it's still daytime, and are suggesting instead it may be a bird of prey. We do have a dog, but this happens when she is in the house. She used to have to chase raccoons away when we first got her, but since they seem to know better than to come and hang around.

    At this point, we are at a loss. At this rate, the rest of the chickens will be gone in another month, and we might as well give up on this hobby.

    Hoping someone can help us, otherwise we are throwing in the towel. Chicken keeping is way too difficult and so far doesn't seem economically viable either, it's more expensive to keep them as opposed to buying eggs.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, as we've enjoyed having birds around.
     
  2. frostbite

    frostbite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Invest some personal time in watching the coop for those hours when they're disappearing. I would think you'd see something. Find a place you can watch without being seen, but from where you can jump out to rescue a chicken if necessary. It may take a few days...
     
  3. justhatchin

    justhatchin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I lost nine a few years ago to a coon in just the same ways and times. Finially used a livetrap and dogfood to catch THEM. Make sure your livetrap is big enough for a large coon. A freind of mine lost her younge laying hens to a mom and her babies one night. Sat on their patio the next night and watched them come back for seconds the next evening right at dusk-watched them run right to the hole they had decovered that morning. Good luck
     
  4. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Axel,

    Welcome to BYC. Sorry it's under these circumstances.

    Raccoons will come out during the day for a chicken feast, but I think you would find chicken pieces and feathers everywhere.

    Finding nothing sounds like maybe fox or coyote or, as you know, bird of prey. Some people report the grab & run with these.

    I hope you find a solution before you lose more.

    Good luck,

    Imp
     
  5. Spitman

    Spitman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are their any feathers in run ? Sound like hawk but even then you should see some feathers, are your chickens heavy breed, light or bantams. Just saying the hawk has a hard time carrying a heavy breed off . But light or bantams no problem ! !
     
  6. Nic&Chickies

    Nic&Chickies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It didn't even leave feathers?! Most that I've encountered and/or read about will leave a mess (quite literally) of feathers.
    Local experts suggest it can't be a raccoon or bobcat since it's still daytime, and are suggesting instead it may be a bird of prey. We do have a dog, but this happens when she is in the house. She used to have to chase raccoons away when we first got her, but since they seem to know better than to come and hang around.

    But, those are suggestions. If a predator has found "a good restaurant" in your coops, they'll do whatever they can to get to them. Have you looked at the Predator section in the Learning Center? (It's along the very top row of the screen.) You can learn the "M.O." of different predators. Also, go along and check how predator-proof your setup is; it seems I'm always finding ways they could get in, only haven't yet --then we fix it.
    Also, maybe you and the dog could spend some more time out there around sundown, make sure your birds get inside safely, and remind the raccoons --or anyone else who needs it-- that there IS a dog on duty!
    [​IMG] I understand the throw-in-the-towel feeling; I have lost birds to predators --even one to illness. I hope you solve this soon. It can be very enjoyable living with chickens! [​IMG]
     
  7. Axel

    Axel New Egg

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    Dec 2, 2011
    Well, I checked the learning center, according to that resource, there would be blood and other signs of kill. It can't be a raccoon, it has to be something that fetches and leaves.

    I guess we'll have to hang around and watch what might be getting the birds. We have a live trap out there, but so far, peanut butter and salmon isn't doing it.

    I still would think there would be feathers around. This must be a bird of prey, perhaps an owl?
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011
  8. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    I would most strongly suspect fox or coyote. Are your birds free ranging and this is happening just before they head in? If so you might start bringing them in earlier. Personally I'd keep them in a run for a while because if you've got a fox or coyote that's found the buffet it'll come back at just about whatever time of day it needs to to snag a meal. This will continue until the food supply is exhausted.

    Also, if that's what it is, very hard to catch a fox or coyote in a live trap. Especially if they can just walk around it and get to food.
     
  9. geepy

    geepy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2009
    central FL
    It could be a bird of prey but, from experience I do know that bobcats won't leave blood or feathers.
    Where are you located?
     
  10. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    I'd say Fox, since I see a lot of them at Dusk while deer hunting.

    All predators will hunt when hungry, and really don't care if the Sun is shining or not
     

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