Losing lots of chickens to some unknown predator

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by costello, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. costello

    costello Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I recently (two months ago) moved my flock of chickens from my home to my mother's. They're in her barn. I have electric netting all the way around the barn. In addition to the fencing I have a Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd mix dog outside at night. The fencing was great at my house. After I put it up, I didn't lose a single bird to predators.

    Now I'm losing quite a few, and it seems to be getting worse. I'd estimate I've lost ten birds since I moved, with the numbers increasing recently. That includes two rooster - my head rooster who was 2 1/2 years old and a youngster of about 6 months.

    I lost an old white Plymouth Rock two days ago (the same day the younger rooster disappeared). I can see the spot she was killed just inside the door to the barn.

    I'm not sure what time of day I'm losing them, but I think it's night time. Twice I've heard a racket at about 9 pm and went to investigate but found nothing.

    Whatever it is is undetered by the fence and takes the bodies away with it. Twice I've found the poles where the two ends of the fence meet pushed apart in a V - like something had come in that way. I've fixed that, and the killings continue.

    The chickens are seeking higher roosting spots in the barn. I don't know if they sense something is prowling around at night?

    I may get that camera someone recommended in another thread.
     
  2. Ameraucanas

    Ameraucanas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I would get a camera. It sounds like it could be a weasel.
     
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  3. costello

    costello Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Would a weasel be able to carry the bodies away?
     
  4. new user

    new user Out Of The Brooder

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    Could be anything. I never figured out what was getting mine at night but boiled it down to a snake, fox, or raccoon.

    Get a cam, I actually bought working game cams for less than $20 shipped that do both videos and photos
     
  5. Spartan22

    Spartan22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Where did you get your cam? That was a steal price. I'd been wanting to have one that will do night/day color cam but price prohibit me from doing so.
     
  6. new user

    new user Out Of The Brooder

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    I got them off of Ebay back in late August I think. They are the older Wildgame Innovation game cams but they work
     
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  7. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you checked the voltage on your netting? Maybe the charger is crapping out. Is the fence (netting) properly grounded? Sounds like you have nothing, or next to nothing for voltage. If the fence has proper voltage, nothing will just push through, they get zapped, and they are gone. The poles, where two fences meet, should be tied together, then nothing will shove through, but if the fence is properly charged, nothing should be shoving through anyway. I'd get the fence straightened out, before I wasted any money on a game camera, just to watch my birds get killed.
     
    4 people like this.
  8. microchick

    microchick Overrun With Chickens

    Sounds like your biggest problem besides identifying what is capping your chickens is coop security. I would be getting a secured roosting area for them, somewhere where they can be locked up at night and let out the next day. I don't know how secure your mom's barn is but I know ours and it isn't which is why we built our coop 'inside' our barn, built it off the ground and chained link paneled the run with a hot wire around the parameter. If you put up a game camera, which I would do also, without ramping up your security, you will continue to have dead birds while you sort out what is getting them.

    And I agree with JackE. I'd check out the fence and make sure it is packing a punch. If the ground around the 'ground' wire or rod gets overly dry then you are going to be loosing conductivity. You need a 4 foot ground for most electric fence.
     
  9. costello

    costello Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, all.

    Yes, I've been worried about the fence. I broke my fence tester before I moved here, so I haven't been able to check it. I'll see if I can buy a new one today. I hope the farm stores carry them.

    I also own a live trap, so I'll set that too, although I'm not sure it'll be interested in that as long as it has chickens to kill. :(
     
  10. WthrLady

    WthrLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is there an owl living IN the barn? Or raccoon IN the barn?
     
    1 person likes this.

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