Lost my Girls

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by kari_dawn, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Songster

    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    I am new to this forum, and this is my first post. Not a warm fuzzy first post, and if I posted this in the wrong place, I appologise, but I need some advice. I work at a shelter (I am an "animal cop"), and from time to time, we get poultry in. I took home a black juvenile mutt with a rose comb a while back. I have had chickens before (a very large buff orpington hen [12lbs] for many years) I didnt want my little black mutt to be alone, and since the feed store had babies, it was perfect timing. I picked out a buff orpington (Popcorn) that was not much younger than her (Caroline), and a two day old mystery chick that turned out to be a beautiful gold and black easter egger (Waffle). Those two were always especially close.

    The two young ones only went out when we were outside until they were big enough, and all three were pretty close to the same size, Caroline had started laying brown eggs, and Popcorn was close to that age, Waffle close behind, but STILL following Popcorn around everywhere. about two weeks ago, Caroline and Waffle were frantically flying at my window to get inside the house. It was raining kindof hard, so I thought maybe that was the problem. They have plently of places to roost and stay dry, so I gave it no mind. The next day, I could not find Popcorn. I thought maybe she had wandered off, but would show up as there was no evidence that anything bad had happened to her, but I worried. Caroline was missing patches of feathers and most of her tail. four days later, I resigned myself to the idea that maybe she was gone. Three days ago, Caroline disappeared. I was heartbroken, and nearly cried. I was especially fond of her, I had rescued her, and I should have been able to protect her. Black feathers were strewn from one side of my 3/4 acre back yard to the other, and not a trace of my poor girl anywhere. Waffle was wandering around the yard very subdued and lost. I was mortified, and immediately grabbed up Waffle and put her in my dog crate in my bedroom. I did not have a place to enclose them outside. I got on craigs list, bought a 10 x 10 x 6 dog kennel, set it up, and worked on enclosing the top, and bringing in the roost/nestbox. It took me all weekend, and a very indignant Waffle spent two nights in my dog crate, much to the dismay of my pooch.

    On a hunch, I took a flashlight and took a look under a workshop shed in the yard. I found a very "clean" breast bone and pelvis with one thigh bone attatched, and some buff feathers. On the same exact spot, the dried remains of an opossum that looked like it had been torn appart. This is the first night Waffle has spent outside since Caroline disappeared, and I am so worried that she wont be there in the morning I am hoping that I didnt miss any gaps in the kennel...

    This is my concern. I have no idea what kind of animal is killing my girls. I live in north Texas, so raccoons, opossums, foxes, and coyotes are pretty common, but how do I know precisely what kind of animal I am dealing with so that I know what I need to do to best protect my last remaining girl? Are there other animals I can keep with my chickens to detur predation? Gueneas, geese, etc?
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009

  2. chicknjane

    chicknjane Songster

    Jul 2, 2009
    Pine Grove, PA
    Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry for your loss. I have no advice to offer, I've yet to encounter predatory attacks on my flock. I just wanted to express my sympathies. I'd be very sad if I lost any of my little ones. [​IMG]
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Sorry for your loss, but glad that you found us.

    This is the season for hawks to be migrating... there are always raccoons everywhere... it could have been a number of things.

    Hope you get it figured out and that you can get your lone bird a companion.
  4. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

    May 18, 2009
    Welcome to BYC - I just wish it was on a happier note. I'm sorry you lost your friends. Having lost some of mine recently, I know it is hard. It's amazing how attached we can get to "just a chicken."

  5. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Songster

    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    Thanks guys. I appreicate it...[​IMG] Stil very sad about the loss, but I dont know what to do next...I am hoping the kennel I converted is enough, is there anything else I can do?
  6. AnnieOakley379

    AnnieOakley379 Chirping

    Oct 1, 2008
    Sorry about your chicks. [​IMG]

    I wish it was on a happier note, but welcome to BYC. You'll find lots of info here about how to prevent predators from getting at your birds, so that this hopefully won't happen to you again. I also use a converted dog kennel, & with some modifications they can be quite predator-proof. I think your Waffle will be alright in there.

    As for your question on what else you can do, you mentioned that you already covered the top. You might want to line the bottom part of the run with hardware cloth & bury some of it to prevent cats/coons/foxes/etc from eating the silly chicken heads, b/c they like to stick them out of the chain link.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
  7. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Songster

    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    [​IMG] thanks for the reassurance. I have been checking on her every few hours...I am so worried about loosing her. How do I know if my kennel is predator proof enough though?

  8. SallyF

    SallyF Songster 9 Years

    Jul 5, 2009
    Middle Tennessee
    We use a chain link dog kennel (10x10) as a run with a coop inside. Lost three chickens to what was probably a raccoon this summer. Hens were decapitated and the rooster's beak & comb were chewed up; we had to cull him it was so bad. Anyway, we wrapped chicken wire all around the coop and put lengths of it over the top, and haven't had a problem since (knock on wood). I'm hoping the combination of two kinds of wire will frustrate the little devils when they try to reach through the wire to get my chickens.
  9. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Sorry if I didn't understand your post, but did you lose your other chickens in the daytime, while they were free ranging? Or were they snatched out of your kennel coop at night?

  10. trinityfly

    trinityfly In the Brooder

    :(Sorry for your loss. It is heart breaking but this loss it is part of a natural order of things. After all chickens are a wonderful food source that if not protected will be sought after by all sorts of critters that walk, fly, crawl, climb and dig. Fenced in chickens are usually pretty easy pickings. Your kennel will protect your chickens if you cover the top and place the whole thing on top of flagstones, or the square decorative stones available at most any hardware store or lumber yard. Nothing can dig in, nothing can fly in and the chain link will keep out predators.

    We too have lost some out little friends and now I call my Hen house "Fort Birdie". It is a wood lean-to structure, 8 ft. wide and with an attached "wired in" run, total is about 20 ft. long. The frame is wood, the roof is tin. The house and run are wired in with hardware cloth buried at least a foot into the ground and up the walls 2ft. The walls are then enclosed by steel 2x4 wire field fencing. A ring tail cat found it could squeeze between the 2x4 openings in the fencing and killed several birds before I caught it. Since that time I have added chicken wire over the field fencing. That was 5 years ago, nothing short of a bear can get into our hen house and wired run. We have since lost a few (very few) to hawk and eagle when the flock was out "free run" on our 2 acres of fenced forested patch. But now with the help of a couple of clever scare crow and a couple of small redoubts for the flock I feel they are pretty secure

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