lost 2 in one week :(

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by zoespaartin, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. zoespaartin

    zoespaartin In the Brooder

    Jan 21, 2010
    This is my first year raising chickens. It has been great, except for a few really sad times. We started out with 14 chicks at the end of Feb. One died the night we got her. The others grew well and healthy. When they were a couple months old we started letting them free range and one day we lost a pullet and a rooster. I wasn't too sad about the rooster, but the pullet was a beautiful dark brahma. I don't know what happened to them because I didn't find anything in the way or carnage. Then we lost a black star roo to a freak accident (a piece of lumber fell on him - weird, and sad - he was actually really nice).

    A month or so later we lost Emma, our dark Americana. I was pretty distraught. Then we had a great run and no deaths until 1 week ago. We lost Baby (my little daughter's chicken) at the beginning of the week (the hardest loss so far) and then Flo (a black star) a couple days later. I am sick of it! I lost 2 great layers and Baby was so special to us! It just breaks my heart. We don't have an enclosed run right now, and my husband doesn't want to build one yet because we are buying a house in a couple weeks. I made him promise that he would build one IMMEDIATELY upon moving in.

    I don't know what to do for my poor little flock. I am scared to let them outside because I don't know what is getting them. I found Baby's feathers, but nothing else, and I didn't find any sign of Flo. I have started keeping them cooped up most of the day and only letting them out for a couple hours in the afternoon. I feel like a horrible mom for doing that, but I just don't want to lose any more! What is eating my babies?!

  2. Dora'smom

    Dora'smom Songster

    Dec 14, 2009
    There are all kinds of predators that might be taking your birds. If they are out there, free-ranging, they may be taken quietly by hawks, owls, raccoons, opossums, coyotes, bobcats, foxes, dogs, etc. It is difficult to say what is decimating your flock, but as long as they are out and about, with no-one keeping an eye out, it could be anything. (I think that fisher cats/weasels, etc. would leave bodies). You may need to coop them up until you get into your new place, unless you are available to be out with them. Whatever is taking them knows where to find a meal. The situation could very well be the same at your new place, so you might want to have a plan in place.
  3. zoespaartin

    zoespaartin In the Brooder

    Jan 21, 2010
    It could really be anything. I think I just wanted to vent my sadness on a forum that wouldn't think I was nuts.
    I only let them out when I can be out with them right now. Once we move, I won't let them out until they have an enclosed run. It shouldn't take more than an weekend, so it won't be too bad. We are moving to a place with more houses, but I know there will still be coyotes and raccoons and hawks etc... The coop is built like Fort Knox, so they're safe there, I just need a run to match.
  4. Sootsie

    Sootsie Chirping

    Sep 15, 2010
    Good luck in your move, I hope you, your family and your chickens are happy in your new home [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2010

  5. tammyd57

    tammyd57 Songster

    Could you possibly put up a temporary fence to keep them close by? A roll of hardware cloth will almost stand up by itself with maybe just a couple posts for corners. It would be only to keep the chickens near, not any predators out, so you would have to supervise outside time.
    But it could be done quickly and inexpensively, and you could easily take it down and use it at your new place until a run can be built.
  6. WillieBoy

    WillieBoy Chirping

    Sep 1, 2010
    A well placed game cam can tell you allot..As mentioned it could be one of many predators. or a couple different ones..good luck
  7. Jajika

    Jajika Songster

    Dec 24, 2007
    Northern California
    I take keeping my chickens safe very, very seriously. They are so vulnerable to so many different kinds of dangers.

    Without getting preachy here, you need to keep your chickens safe from harm, which is what you are attempting to do.

    Daytime kills are often hawks, however early evening are nocturnal preditors: Racoons, skunks, owls, etc.

    The only thing I have found effective is chicken wire, hardwire cloth or other poulty netting that is a complete enclosure on all sides and the top (overhead).

    I did not have the top enclosed for a long time as we never had hawks--until one day. I lost three chickens in two days. It was savage and heart breaking. After eight years everything changed. Suddenly I had Cooper's Hawks after my chickens where I never had before. All the "gimicks" didn't work: mirrors, ribbons, shiny objects, pretend owls, nothing except poultry netting over the entire 900 square yards of the chicken's yard. I couldn't leave even a small hole. It took me three days to enclose part of my orchard but I was on a tear. I felt so guilty that I had left them so exposed to danger.

    As soon as I realized what happened I ran to Home Depot and bought up as much wire and netting as I could, got a couple of helpers and began the process of topping five fruit trees and covering the entire run.

    I now have the peace of mind that I have done everythin possible to keep them from harm.

    Good luck. Keep your girls safe.

    Geri in Northern California

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