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losing chickens to????

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by hummingberd, Mar 18, 2007.

  1. hummingberd

    hummingberd In the Brooder

    Mar 18, 2007
    Ok here's the story...

    about 3-4 months ago, we noticed we were missing 4 chickens. We were going with the "leave the door open" method, so the chickens could come and go as they please. We found 2 birds w/ heads missing and the rest of the body was in tact. After that we started locking up the doors and opening them up in the morning so that the girls can free range. This worked until about a week ago, when we notice one bird was missing. (we do a head count every night) No signs of an attack, but we were definitely short a bird. Then Friday, the hubby went out around 5 well before dusk to feed and water the girls, and he noticed 6 more were missing. We found two outside on a pile of wood and one hiding under the steps to the house. (It was snowing and they didn't want to get their feet wet!) We looked around everywhere. No signs of an attack, no tracks, but there was snow accumulation. I found four feathers of one of the missing birds, and my hubby found a body. The head was missing and a little of the breast meat was gone, but the rest was intact. The other two birds (both bantams) were totally missing. No bodies. This happened in the middle of the day!!!

    1) what the heck is killing my chickens?
    2) what do I do?
    3) I'd like to build a portable shelter for them that doesn't cost a billion dollars and would work over uneven terrain. any suggestions?

    I'm so frustrated I can't even tell you! I don't own a gun, I'm not good at trapping and I've never been hunting. Please help!!!

    Thanks [​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2007
  2. ebbtide

    ebbtide In the Brooder

    Jan 23, 2007
    My guess is a coon or an opossum. Get yourself a trap or two and leave them set all the time. You may be surprised at what is lurking out there. This happened to our chickens a few weeks ago as well. We set two traps and within two weeks we caught 4 coons, an opossum, a fox and 2 ferrel cats. It's been a week now and all the chickens are fine and no tracks or animals have been around our coops. I'd suggest the large havheart (sp?) trap. They are scary easy to set.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2007
  3. ebbtide

    ebbtide In the Brooder

    Jan 23, 2007

    This is what the little sucker did to one of our ducks.

  4. Picco

    Picco Songster

    Mar 14, 2007
    I had a weasel in my coop last year and he beheaded two of me hens.Luckily we caught the little thing before he killed more.
  5. eichenluft

    eichenluft In the Brooder

    Mar 4, 2007
    set the appropriate sized havaheart trap (humane trap) for raccoon/possum/cat - set it with some sort of meat - canned cat food works nicely. Just open the can and set it in there. When you catch something, take it far far away and release it somewhere - no harm done. They are just doing what comes natural to them - not a reason to kill them unless last resort.

  6. ebbtide

    ebbtide In the Brooder

    Jan 23, 2007
    Not sure where your located but it's illegal to let a coon etc...free after trapping him here in the state of Fl. Besides that I wouldn't want to let it free to be someone elses problem. Just my 2 pennys.
  7. chicknmania

    chicknmania Crowing 11 Years

    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    I think it sounds like a hawk or a bird of prey of some kind. Lots of times they'll pull the head off, just cause that's the most convenient; they may come back later for the body, or eat part of it right there. That was our first experience with a predator, to find our beautiful crowing-contest winning Brown Leghorn rooster lying dead minus his head in front of our barn. If you can keep your birds confined for a few days, generally the hawk or whatever it is will give up and go away.
  8. Jimagination

    Jimagination Songster

    Mar 17, 2007
    Lancaster, PA
    I was subbing in the highschool today and was talking with a boy who has a farm and he was telling me about how a weasel had gotten into their hen house one night and killed 21 hens and a rooster. He said they are were decapitated and it was " a blood bath" to use his terms. He said the ground was just like a pool of blood.
  9. blackrooster

    blackrooster In the Brooder

    Feb 1, 2009
    fox or a opossoms
  10. crazzzymike13

    crazzzymike13 Songster

    Dec 15, 2007
    I can promise you it is probably a coon or a possum. I use to have the same problems until I finally caught them in my trap. I say kill them, I know it sounds mean. But if you relocate them they will definatly come back. I've heard that you can take a coon 30 miles out and they come back.

    Mike The Rooster Man

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