Lost all my chickens tonight!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by chkndoodl, May 8, 2011.

  1. chkndoodl

    chkndoodl New Egg

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    May 8, 2011
    I am a long time keeper of chickens - have a nice coop and pen, but let them run free in my field/yard most days, lock them in at night. Tonight I went up to close them in after dark, having seen them all well and healthy at 6 pm--- only to find my 33 pullets all killed and left dead all over the floor. A door was open that had been locked with a hook and eye latch and whatever killed them was able to get through a narrow shoot to their outside pen where there were also many dead chickens. Not a single young hen is left alive. My eight older hens roost in the rafters, and they are all there. The young ones who cannot fly are all dead. I am SO sad. I have kept chickens for a dozen years and am used to the random loss of one or 2 here and there to hawks, owls, dogs, raccoons, coyotes or whatever. But this is HORRIBLE!! We had so many nice breeds and they were becoming beautiful friendly young hens. They were anywhere from 10-13 weeks old. None of them appear to have been eaten, but I will inspect more thoroughly in the daylight. What would do this?? It seems whatever it was it figured out a latch (? jumping?, hands?), and could get through a small space (a shoot about 8" wide by 14" high). I've never seen a weasel or a mink around here (Portland, OR) but don't know if they're around. I didn't smell skunk. I didn't see evidence in the yard of a struggle....no excess of feathers or anything. We have caught few rats over the years around the feed room, but very intermittently, and none lately. I appreciate anyone's help with this mystery. I'm heartbroken!
     
  2. BarnChick

    BarnChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 28, 2011
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    That is way too sad. I am so sorry for you:hugs
    could it have been a raccoon, they are pretty crafty and can get into that big of a space?
    Hope you discover what it was so you can protect your other hens.
     
  3. DickGJ

    DickGJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2011
    Sumter, South Carolina
    I'm so sorry to hear of your losses. Is there any blood or sign of trauma? If not, I would immediately suspect some type of poisoning since you saw them looking normal at 6pm. If not poisoning...perhaps electrocution, maybe even lightning! Sorry I can;t be of more help! [​IMG]
     
  4. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I'm so sorry. That's terrible.

    It kinda sounds like dog.

    Imp compassionately
     
  5. Bizzybirdy

    Bizzybirdy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    North of Nashville
    DOG if none were eaten...had a couple dogs take out my whole house full of chickens one night a long time ago. I woke up at 3AM just in time to see them running off, one with a roo in his mouth. Almost every hen dead, none eaten...and they were not large dogs.

    So sorry for your loss. I know how I felt at the time...AWFUL.
     
  6. 3chimama

    3chimama Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 8, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    That is such sad news. I am so sorry for you.
     
  7. stormylady

    stormylady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 27, 2008
    Illinois
    I am so so so sorry! I had a raccoon come and kill eight of my hens in one week, I can't even imagine loosing as many as you did. It could be a raccoon, but you said that you didn't see the random feathers laying around and raccoons do alot a damage. I sure when morning comes you can figure out what happened so you can protect your other hens, Im sure they must be in shock![​IMG]:hugs:hugs
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2011
  8. KlaHaYa Gardens

    KlaHaYa Gardens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2011
    Weasels will do that!

    Do you have any rat/rodent problems that you know of? IF it was a weasel, or the like, that could be your first clue to a rodent problem that you were otherwise unaware of.

    http://www3.northern.edu/natsource/MAMMALS/Longta1.htm

    Snippet: The weasel is prone to violent killing sprees. Weasels are notorious for killing entire coops of chickens. The killing instinct
    in the weasel is thought to be brought on by the smell of blood. Nothing that is injured and in its vicinity is safe from attack.
    Siblings and even their own young can be killed and eaten. It is a common misconception that weasels will suck the blood
    out of its victims. This fabled ability stems from the fact that weasels being seen with blood on their snout after they have
    killed.

    The long and slender body of the weasel allows it to move, almost flow, over terrain. This body design makes it an effective
    predator, able to follow its prey into the narrow tunnels of its den.



    Long tailed weasels are one of 9 species of weasel that live in Oregon:

    http://www.dfw.state.or.us/species/mammals/weasels_skunks_badgers_otters.asp

    http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/centraloregon/wildlife/species/mammals/weasels.shtml




    http://icwdm.org/handbook/carnivor/Weasels.asp

    Snippet: Economics of Damage and Control

    Svendsen (1982) writes: “Overall, weasels are more of an asset than a liability. They eat quantities of rats and mice that otherwise would eat and damage additional crops and produce. This asset is partially counter-balanced by the fact that weasels occasionally kill beneficial animals and game species. The killing of domestic poultry may come only after the rat population around the farmyard is diminished. In fact, rats may have destroyed more poultry than the weasel. In most cases, a farmer lives with weasels on the farm for years without realizing that they are even there, until they kill a chicken.”



    http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/longtailedweasel.htm

    Snippet: Diet

    The long-tailed weasel is a carnivore. It has a very high rate of metabolism and eats about 40% of its body weight every day! Most of its diet is made up of small mammals like mice, voles, rabbits, gophers and chipmunks. It will occasionally eat birds and insects. It crushes its prey's skull with its canines. It uses scent and sound to track its prey. Its long, thin body makes it easy for it to follow prey into burrows.




    http://hylebos.org/resources/flora-fauna/profile-of-the-short-tailed-weasel
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2011
  9. WillieBoy

    WillieBoy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 1, 2010
    Sorry for your loss, maybe a small dog...? I'd set up a webcam, it may very well come back.Again, sorry fo your loss, thats a real drag....
     
  10. terrilhb

    terrilhb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 11, 2010
    Georgia
    [​IMG] I am so sorry for your loss. [​IMG] It could be a dog. We had one break into our coop last year. It kill 12 of my hens. Just killed them. Did not eat them. We found it in the coop. It got away that morning cause if my DH had shot it he could have hit one of our dogs. But it came back that night. Needless to say he won't kill anyone elses. DS took care of that.
     

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