Lost 5/5 3 month old birds to unknown predator!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by schretien, Aug 13, 2014.

  1. schretien

    schretien New Egg

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    Apr 4, 2012
    This morning going down to the coop I discovered every one of my birds had been decimated. Here's the strange part. They are not free range and are kept in a (what I thought was) secure large dog kennel. It is heavy chain link fence. 4/5 looked like something reached through the fence and pulled their heads through and chewed the heads. I won't go into detail, but it wasn't pretty. What could do that? Racoons, skunks, fishers? I know chickens ain't the brightest animals, but why would they stick their heads through the cage where whatever it was could get them?

    Discouraged as can be. After three months of caring for, getting attached to, not to mention the money... We have older birds and they were fine. However, we had them separated from the big birds due to loosing a couple of chicks back along from getting picked on. I'm going to line the bottom of the cage with some fence with much smaller holes but beyond that I'm open for suggestions.

    Thanks for any and all suggestions.
    Susan
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Sorry for your loss. It could have been any one of the predators you named, but raccoons are usually the most known for that kind of kill. Is your dog kennel covered? If not, I'd get a cover on that ASAP. Coons, mink and possums can also climb right up that fence. My run is made of 2x4" welded wire with 1/2" hardware cloth around the bottom 24".
     
  3. schretien

    schretien New Egg

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    Thank you bobbi-j for your quick response. The kennel is covered, but we will be giving it some serious extra reinforcement. We have been raising birds for years, lost a bunch to fox back when they were free range. Never dreamed something would get at them in the kennel... I agree with you. I think coon(s) got em. Devious little critters!
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    They are evil. Vile. Way too smart.
     
  5. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I think they work in pairs, one coon making a ruckus on one side so the birds all go nuts pushing against the wire on the other side, where it's partner is, waiting to reach in and grab a head, sending the frightened birds over to the side with it's partner who is now sitting quietly waiting for dinner to show up.

    Look into "Dog Proof Coon Traps", I haven't used them, but they seem like they would fix the problem, as long as you have a gun to dispatch them when caught.
     
  6. tcstoehr

    tcstoehr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Whenever a chicken is pulled through the wire, always suspect raccoon first. Guilty until proven innocent.
    I also recall a BYC forum poster say that he actually watched two raccoons team up for this activity. One would charge the fence on one side which would panic the chickens right into the waiting paws on the other side.
    The standard recommendation for avoiding this (besides killing every raccoon in the county) is to install 1/2" hardware cloth in a two-foot high strip at ground level. It's not so much for strength but the weave is too small for the raccoons to reach through. It is however, also strong enough to foil raccoons on its own, which makes it a good substitute for chicken wire, which raccoons can breach.
     
  7. yeswehave8

    yeswehave8 Out Of The Brooder

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    We lost some in a similar fashion, you could see where the chickens had been pulled to the wall of the pen and killed. I also believe ours were raccoons. I am sorry for your loss. We placed hardwire cloth all around the coop and that seems to have done the trick.
     
  8. schretien

    schretien New Egg

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    Apr 4, 2012
    Thank you all. Great advice and we shall be installing the hardware cloth. I think the two coons working the cage makes seance.
     
  9. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very sorry for your losses. If you have access to a trail camera, set it up and see if you can catch the varmits at work. Chain link can also be overcome by large dogs, they can simply rip it apart. I have a double walled fence around my run. The posts are 4x4's, and attached to the outside of the 4x4 is 2"x4" field fencing, and attached to the inside of the post is 1/2" hardware wire. The 3" gap between the two fences provides a buffer so they can't reach the inner fence that well to try and attack it. So far, nothing has gone past the double fence. I had a bobcat climb up the outer fence and bend it up a bit, but the inner fence remained untouched. It cost a little more to do when building the coop, but my chickens and I sleep well at night.
     

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