"lost" chicks!! Help!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dakota-h, May 29, 2016.

  1. dakota-h

    dakota-h New Egg

    May 29, 2016
    We had 6 chicks in a horse water trough brooder box, with a screen cover. Yesterday they were all there. Today when we went to check 2 live chicks were there and 1 dead. 3 chicks are missing, they were about a week old, too small to get out on their own. The building they were in is locked with a padlock, we searched the building with no sign of dead or live chicks. They were laying chickens, and fairly large. Could a snake have gotten in and ate them, could they have gotten out on their own?
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    My guess would be rats or weasels go them. They don't need a very big space to get into a building. Or a cat? Do you have barn cats?
  3. dakota-h

    dakota-h New Egg

    May 29, 2016
    No cats, and rat bait is everywhere...
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Your predator will be back soon, so protect your remaining birds! Bring them in to a safer location while you beef up your brooder. It's obviously not secure. Mary
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I don’t know what your screen cover looks like or how secure that brooder is. A snake could easily eat chicks that age. It doesn’t take much of a hole for the snake to get in but it takes a larger hole for it to get out with chicks inside it. It is possible it was a constrictor type snake that squeezed that chick to death but for some reason decided to not eat it. If there are no marks, injuries, or blood on that dead chick, a snake is a real possibility. It will probably stay away for a few days while it digests the ones it ate then will probably return. The size of the snake will determine how many chicks it can eat at one time. For it to eat three one-week-old chicks I’d expect a snake longer than 5 feet.

    Did you closely examine that dead chick for marks or injuries? The only things in the United States I’m aware of that normally kill without leaving injuries or don’t leave evidence other than snakes are canines like dogs, foxes, and coyotes or humans. That padlock probably means it wasn’t one of them. Besides I would not expect them to leave any behind. I don’t know where you live so I don’t know if there are any other likely suspects.

    One week old chicks can jump and maneuver surprisingly well. Again, I don’t know what that brooder looks like but obviously there is a hole somewhere if a human wasn’t involved. If a snake can get through that hole after eating chicks then it is possible a chick could get through that hole on its own. It depends on how high that hole is. I don’t have a clue what your area looks like. Normally I’d expect to find the chicks if they managed to get out, they should not go far and should be peeping, but maybe something else got them. That still doesn’t explain the dead chick. From what little I do know if sounds like a snake is the likely culprit but I am not sure.
  6. dakota-h

    dakota-h New Egg

    May 29, 2016
    Here is a picture of the brooder, it's 50 gallon water tank for a horse, it's got a screen like for a window on top, since the chicks went missing we added boards with bricks on top to hold it down.
  7. scrambled please

    scrambled please Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 30, 2010
    I have snake trouble and that's what this sounds like, I don't know if I came in before it could swallow one or not. Snake is my vote.

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