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:( Lost a 8 week old Delaware this morning

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Tangeygirl, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. Tangeygirl

    Tangeygirl Songster

    So sad [​IMG]

    Our run was what I thought was completely predator proof. Hardware cloth and chicken wire doubled on the bottom 2 feet of the run, just hardware cloth for 1 foot above the double layer, then the rest of the sides and top is chicken wire. The bottom is completely covered in hardware cloth and buried deep into the ground. We've had our run since August of last year and have never had an issue.

    This morning I went out to give my girls breakfast and found one of my sweet Delawares without a head. There are no signs of predator entry. A few people have suggested something got her from the outside, perhaps she had her head poking out and they got her that way. I'm so saddened. I'll be spending the afternoon putting a layer of very tight (1 cm square holes) hardware cloth around the run. I can't let this happen again.

    Anyone else experience something similar? Did you find out what had done the damage?

  2. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    Are the birds able to freely come and go into their run? If so, you will lose them. They must be locked up securely at night. A raccoon seems to be your predator and now it will be back and keep coming back until there are no birds left. They stick their front paws through and snatch the bird's head through or wiggle their little fingers if you will and entice the bird to come investigate and then snatch them.

    I am so sorry for your loss, I have Delaware and I know what sweeties they are.
  3. terrilhb

    terrilhb Songster

    Dec 11, 2010
    Oh I am so sorry for your loss. Hugs. [​IMG]
  4. Ladi Jules

    Ladi Jules Hatching

    Jun 22, 2011
    I'm so sorry to hear that!! I know how your feeling.... Last night I lost 4, 8 week old ones... 2 Columbian Wyandottes, a Silver Wyandotte and a Dominique. I'm so upset about it! I think a raccoon got in there.

    does anyone know if a raccoon can get into a plastic dog carrier? Its one of the thick plastic ones with a steel front door kind of thing. the only Open vents on it are steel mesh, about 1 inch boxes. Would that deter a raccoon? The chickens are still small enough that I could put them in there for the night. At least until I find another solution? Thank you! Hugs Tangeygirl!
  5. ReikiStar

    ReikiStar Songster

    Racoons are notorious for reaching through small spaces and grabbing anything they can get...esp. heads. I'm SO sorry for the both Tangeygirl and Ladi Jules. [​IMG]

    When it comes to deterring predators you have to think of all the ridiculous possible scenarios. I've told this tale before but for those who haven't heard of something like this: Manager at the feed store and I were talking about fencing materials for coops. He said one customer told him they watched while two raccoons worked in tandem. One got on top of the covered chicken run and the other ran at the side of the run to spook the chickens. When a chicken would fly up, the one on top would grab her by the head. Who would THINK of that?! Obviously, these 'coons did.

    We're big fans of electric wire/fencing. You can get a solar charger for under $100. Once a predator is zapped...they won't be back.
  6. Ladi Jules

    Ladi Jules Hatching

    Jun 22, 2011
    Thank you ReikiStar. Can you give me an example of electric fencing that will work? I was thinking mesh of some kind. My coop has a perimeter of about 40 feet or so. Would I surround the coop, or should I get electric wire to run through the hardwire mesh? And can you tell me where I should look for that kind of thing? I've tried a few companies and I admit I'm getting a bit overwhelmed! I can't spend much but I would really like a solar one!

    I do have a cage I might be able to keep them in, at least for tonight. I've only got 7 chicks now (8 weeks old) and I think I have a cage that will work temporarily. Its an old animal cage (we used it for breeding parrots) that measures 48 inches long, 26 inches high and 24 inches wide. Its made with galvanized steel mesh measuring 1/2 inch by 1 inch. Its seems pretty sturdy - it does have "latches" for the doors which I can probably use some wire to tie shut. Think that will deter raccoons for awhile? At least until I get the fence up? I could probably even put a roost in there for them.
  7. cdnley

    cdnley Songster

    Dec 7, 2010
    Sorry for your loss.

    I lost a 3 week old duck, Dolly on Saturday night. We had a 1" gap on one side of the pen and a fox managed to spook the babies and caused them to jump on top of each other..the fox could reach a foot and..its horrible. I also have a runner duck who lost a leg as well. So stupid. I am trying to catch the fox but so far has been elusive.

  8. Tangeygirl

    Tangeygirl Songster

    Thanks everyone. And I'm so sorry to the others who have faced a similar problem. [​IMG]

    As for the girls. They are not free-ranging right now except for supervised 10 minute jaunts since they're still pretty young. They were completely locked in their run when this happened (sometime between 7 p.m. last night and 8 a.m. this morning)...they always are locked in the run (their coop inside the run) when I'm not out there with them. It is definitely a possibility that a $#&[email protected]*% raccoon reached in and grabbed Wilma. She was found very close to the side of the run inside, head gone. [​IMG]

    We spent nearly 3 hours out there today, putting up 3 feet tall hardware cloth (the kind with the super tiney squares holes) around the entire perimeter of the run. This is OVER our hardware cloth/chicken wire combo. At least now they can't stick their heads out for some hungry animal to come along and get them. Also, it will prevent any critters that were small enough to fit through the chicken wire and get into the run.

    The only bit of humor out of all of this is that for months and months I've been trying to come up with a name of our Chicken "compound" - run/coop. Now it does, Fort Knox.
  9. epeloquin

    epeloquin Songster

    Mar 11, 2011
    Western Massachusetts
    Sadly, my Father-in-law had the same thing happen. In his case a fox got hold of some chickens and ducks and chewed their heads off. It is bizarre how they get hold of the birds through the wire but they do. His was confirmed because it came back during the day and was rabid. The town (Heath, MA) came out and 'reduced' the animal.

    I am really sorry for your loss. My girls are just eight weeks old and we are so attached to them.

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