Lost another chick, confused.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by bzbrown, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. bzbrown

    bzbrown Chillin' With My Peeps

    Two days ago we had a chick completely disappear from our coop/run area. There was NO sign of him. There are no holes in my enclosed chicken run, or coop except one about 5 feet up where a darn pumpkin vine snaked up and forced it's way in, it measures about 1.5 inch. Even though none of the 5 children at my home during the incident admitted to entering and possibly leaving the door open, I was learning towards one of my kids in particular as the cuprit. She was the only one whose whereabouts I was not sure of at the time, and she is not a trusty worthy little girl and often does things without permission knowing she is not supposed to.

    Anyway, fast forward to this afternoon. I put the little 1 week old chicks outside in the run/coop around noon. An hour later I went out to put ice in the larger water tin I keep out there (they like to play with it) for the big chicks and bring in the babies since I was leaving the house and don't leave them out when I'm not home. I only saw 3 little chicks pecking around (the big ones were in there as well but they stay away from the littles) and looked around to find one of the little chicks curled up, dead, covered with ants and missing his head and a foot! I had to compose myself before I could go back in the house, walking past 4 kids to get what was needed to remove the chick from the coop. I am horrified!

    The temp in the run was 86 degrees. It's been in the 100's for a couple weeks, and I keep the chicks cool with ice, and misting and a fan. I don't think he overheated, but maybe? But then what about the missing parts? Could ants have done this in less than an hour, could the other chicks have pecked at him? None were around him when I went out there.

    If it was a kid that let out the first one, I know for sure it wasn't a kid that did this to the chick today. They were all in the house with me watching a movie.

    Any idea's? I'm really freaked out here.
  2. mjuenem

    mjuenem Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2010
    Putnam Co.
    What kind of fence wire do you have? Is there a top on the run?
  3. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    If a bird dies, the other ones will peck it apart but not the hard parts (skull & lower legs) rather they go for the soft parts. What size opening is your wire? Is it possible a coon wandered out during the day and did a reach thru but got ran off before it got it thru the wire? the fact it was not next to the fence could be from the other chicks pecking at it. Do you have rats around? if the bird was small and weak maybe that's the culprit. Hopefully the coop is raised so they haven't moved in underneath it.
  4. bzbrown

    bzbrown Chillin' With My Peeps

    The coop is in a run that is 100% enclosed in hardware cloth. Two different sizes, .5 inch holes, and the smaller ones (Home Depot has stocking issues). The bottom of the coop (not the run) is wood to keep the water out since my garden is nearby. There are no holes except where the pumpkin vine has grown through, I suppose a critter could have used the vine as a staircase and gone through in that way, but I don't think anything reached through the wire. The flooring of the run is just soil. I have giant sunflowers growing in there (huge mistake, not advised). We are going though a thunderstorm right now, but I will run out there after and double check for rat holes. I haven't seen any rats, just field mice, squirells (ground and standard), and birds, lots of birds....
  5. bzbrown

    bzbrown Chillin' With My Peeps

    I went back out after the storm passed to let the big chicks out of the coop. Little guys (there are only 3 now) are staying indoors for now, no matter how much they miss the chicken run and sunlight outside time.

    There are no holes in the ground. However, we just had a crazy thunder storm. The coop is up yard and water doesn't drain from the main yard, but an overflow in the garden could cause a chicken run mess.

    From my reading today, it sounds like a racoon. I don't know much about raccoons, but think one climbing my privacy fence which is shared by 3 dogs (don't worry they have a run, don't touch coop just bark at anything other than a known human) seems so out of charactor... But who knows maybe these desert raccoons are different.

    Rather than agonize over this, I'm going to draw up plans to further protect my flock. I thought we were good, but now time to hit the books (google) and read up on desert preditors and chicken coops. Off to research!
  6. ekemily

    ekemily Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2010
    Fairhope, AL
    we don't have weasels in this area, but from everything that i've read up on predators, it kind of sounds like it. I would doubt it's anything large if your coop is that well protected.

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