Lost 2 hens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by gila_dog, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. gila_dog

    gila_dog Songster

    Aug 15, 2007
    New Mexico
    2 of my hens disappeared this week. The hens sleep inside a little house, but were free to run around in the goat pen during the day. I am sure that this pen is dog and coyote proof, but a racoon or bobcat could certainly get in. One coincidence is that an owl has been hanging around lately. He had a big sounding hoo... hoo-hoo voice, that we would hear at night, but I didn't actually see him. Do owls hunt by day, or only at night?

    I have locked the remaining hens up in a smallish but totally secure pen that only maybe a weasel could find a way into. No more freedom for the girls. [​IMG]
  2. Ang

    Ang Songster

    Jan 2, 2008
    West Central Illinois
    That sounds like a Great Horned Owl. They hunt anywhere from late afternoon until early morning. They can easily take a chicken.
  3. schroader

    schroader Songster

    Jan 11, 2008
    Beaver Dam Ky
    Go to the nearest store and get you a steel leg trap. Get the DH to set a post near the run and nail thet trap on top the post. Put a peice on meat on the trap. You will have your owl the next night. Works like a charm.[​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2008
  4. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    Be sure and have Shroader put his hand in the trap to test it first.
  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Somebody had chicken for supper.
  6. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Hopefully Schroader was joking!

    Anyway, so very sorry for your hens that got taken. If you are confident you don't have broad-daylight-preds, maybe the girls could be outdoors then if your schedule allows?

    Alternatively, is it possible to cover the run (goat pen)?

    In terms of what pred got the girls, were there any remains? Any feathers? Anything at all that could help narrow down what type of pred could have done it? How many birds do you have? How are the others doing after this?
  7. gila_dog

    gila_dog Songster

    Aug 15, 2007
    New Mexico
    This is a lesson I just keep learning over and over again. We have lost chickens to various kinds of predators several times. The last time I made a stockade for the chickens: fence wire top, sides, gate, along the ground, etc. But it's kinda small (10x10) and the hens really love to get out and scratch around the haystack and goat pen. But if I don't keep them in the stockade, eventually something gets them. The owl seems to be gone now, and from what Ang said, it sounds like he was the culprit. But the remaining 2 hens are going to stay locked up. I may cover the top of the goat pen with fence wire also, both to protect the chickens and to keep big predators like mountain lions from getting my goats.

    The last time this happened I figured it was coyotes. So I made the fence much higher (about 7 ft). I also made a big live trap out of pallets and baited it with a with meaty bone. It had a door that would slide shut when anything got inside and tugged on the bone. I caught my dog twice, and various neigborhood dogs, but never a coyote. I think I caught a raccon once, but he got thru a wide spot in the trap and escaped. He left some fur behind. He never went in the trap again. I finally decommisioned the trap. If the problem had been neighborhood dogs, tho, the trap would have worked like a charm. They never wised up to it.

    We live in the midst of a big forest. Other than the goat/chicken pen and a yard fence around the house, I don't have a fence around my place. I don't want to kill critters just passing thru, unless they are in my yard or pen, or trying to get in.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2008

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