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lost 3 silkies today....help.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by TeressaLvt, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. TeressaLvt

    TeressaLvt New Egg

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    Oct 10, 2012
    I have a flock of standard size assorted chickens and last spring added four silkie chicks. They free range during the day and are closed in a coop at night. Our entire property is surrounded by high tensil electric fencing and we have never lost a chicken since we put our fence up two years ago. My young boys and I adore the silkies, they are so very sweet. We hold and love on them all the time. So, I was heartbroken to find 2 of my silkies dead in the yard after I came back from running errands today. Both with their heads nearly ripped off. The other two were hiding, but were fine. I came back out about 1 1/2 hours later to shut the coop for the night and found one of the surviving two dead with similiar wounds, plus it looked as if part of the breast was eaten. This was during the day within the course of a few hours. Any ideas as to what type of predator I'm dealing with?
    Thank you in advance for any advice.
     
  2. Baymule

    Baymule Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcome to BYC, but I am sorry that you joined under such sad circumstances. I have not had any experience with what you are describing, somebody please help our new member! [​IMG]
     
  3. real_redhead

    real_redhead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So sorry that happened, certain animals will eat certain parts of the chicken. But I am not sure what would do that during the day with out taking or eating more of the bird. I am sure someone else has some thoughts
     
  4. DianaMallory

    DianaMallory Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think weasels and rats eat only the heads of chickens. Coons tear them up and a fox would have carried it off. So would a hawk. My bet is a weasel! Sorry about your loss and welcome to BYC!
     
  5. TeressaLvt

    TeressaLvt New Egg

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    Thanks for your thoughts. I knew we were risking it by free ranging..... I am so upset over this, I cry every time I think about them. I haven't told my boys yet... My 6 year old would grab his favorite silkie and take her all over the yard with him. If he was going to play on the playground, he would grab her and she would hang out on the playground with him. So sad. I have the remaining silky penned up today until I can figure out what got them and if it will be back. None of the bigger standard chickens were touched. We have a semi-feral barn kitty - any chance it was her? I also found that something has been tunneling near the chicken coop, like mole tunnels, but extra big. I think the only thing we have here that makes tunnels like that is a mole or vole. Do weasels tunnell underground?
     
  6. sophiesmith

    sophiesmith Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry about your loss
     
  7. Baymule

    Baymule Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Predators come back. Something found an easy meal, it won't forget. You have to build a Fort Knox to keep them safe or have a really good dog that protects them and doesn't kill them. Mine are in a secure coop in my backyard (live in town) and I have a great Pyrenees that woul.d snap them in half if she got the chance. But she doesn't let anything else in the yard, so they are safer for her being here. And even being in town, we have possums, hawks and raccoons.
     
  8. Chick_In_The_Burbs

    Chick_In_The_Burbs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would recommend a game cam or similar so you can see if you can get a pic of the culprit. The more you know, the better your defenses will be.
     
  9. TeressaLvt

    TeressaLvt New Egg

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    Thank you for all of your comments and condolences. I found the culprit - a red-tailed hawk. I watched it land in the yard and try to go after a rooster. He ducked under some lawn furniture and the hawk flew off. Guess it is time for a covered run.
     

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