Lost our first hen :(

Lachickenduke

In the Brooder
Oct 25, 2018
5
11
19
we are new to raising chickens, this morning when I went to feed/water our ladies I found our 7 month old hen dead. Further inspection I found her bottom (anus) was completely ripped off/gone. Our other 7 hens seemed alright.
There is an area of our coop that is blocked off from inside so chickens can’t get to but there’s access from outside & some other openings inside the coop to get to the area. In this area I found a significant amount of suspicious animal poop. I think a predator has been getting in to this area.
What are some sure tips in preventing predators?
I have my husband trying to cover all holes & reinforce corners and edges. We live in Chicago, Fox, raccoons, opossums are all possible suspects.
 

Lachickenduke

In the Brooder
Oct 25, 2018
5
11
19
Can we get some of the suspicious poop pics please? Let's begin by trying to ID the predator
The first pic is the poop (I had already removed most of it before it dawned on me to take picture) the rest of the pictures are the outside of the area where poop was found & last pic is of the area blocked off inside coop)
 

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Howard E

Crowing
5 Years
Feb 18, 2016
2,881
3,918
296
Missouri
Dung looks like coons. The way the bird was lost sounds like a possum or skunk. There is overlap of all these. They may all come by to visit....and all on the same night.

How to prevent losses? Most of these type predators operate at night, so when birds go inside for the night, they have to be given safe quarters. Nothing and nobody gets in no matter what. No holes or openings larger than 1/2".....since you have weasels and rats too. But even for skunks and possums and such, they can get through gaps as small as 2 inches or so. Coops must be made of such sturdy material that they can't rip it off......and can't dig their way in. So chicken wire is out......hardware cloth is in. To keep diggers out, you may need to install an apron on the ground around the perimeter. And lastly, good latches on doors and windows.
 

TheLittleFarm18

Songster
Apr 15, 2018
270
551
187
Central Illinois
we are new to raising chickens, this morning when I went to feed/water our ladies I found our 7 month old hen dead. Further inspection I found her bottom (anus) was completely ripped off/gone. Our other 7 hens seemed alright.
There is an area of our coop that is blocked off from inside so chickens can’t get to but there’s access from outside & some other openings inside the coop to get to the area. In this area I found a significant amount of suspicious animal poop. I think a predator has been getting in to this area.
What are some sure tips in preventing predators?
I have my husband trying to cover all holes & reinforce corners and edges. We live in Chicago, Fox, raccoons, opossums are all possible suspects.
:hugsthats terrible, I'm sorry you lost a hen
 

That bird guy

Hatching
Oct 25, 2018
2
2
3
I agree with making the run and coop solid, so vermin cannot get in. On my run, I have 3’ barn tin around the base, but above that I have 4’ chain link. My predators are coyotes, opossums, and raccoons. Even though I only have a cinder block holding the run door closed, I have had zero issues in the PM. Coyotes have gotten 7 of my hens, but only during daylight when I let the chickens free range. I am constantly on the watch for predators, and always have a live trap ready to be set. If you live within the city limits, you may want to invest in a live trap. Neighbor cats will learn not to go into them, when bated with wet cat food. I dispatch the raccoons and opossums with an pellet rifle to the ear hole, you can always let them loose miles from your house if you wish.
 

leighks

Songster
Apr 15, 2017
530
870
241
Western New York
My Coop
My Coop
I'm no help with your predator problem but I'm so sorry for your loss.  :hugs
I know how awful it is to lose one. I had to deal with my own first chicken death last week. :hit
I also had my first chicken death just a few weeks ago, and wanted to tell both of you I’m sorry for your losses. It’s so easy to get attached to these sweet little birds!

I read somewhere that any opening greater than 1/4” needs to be covered. Weasels and mink can get through really small openings. It may have been 1/2” but when securing our coop and run I used the 1/4” rule figuring better to be safe.
 

Lachickenduke

In the Brooder
Oct 25, 2018
5
11
19
we are new to raising chickens, this morning when I went to feed/water our ladies I found our 7 month old hen dead. Further inspection I found her bottom (anus) was completely ripped off/gone. Our other 7 hens seemed alright.
There is an area of our coop that is blocked off from inside so chickens can’t get to but there’s access from outside & some other openings inside the coop to get to the area. In this area I found a significant amount of suspicious animal poop. I think a predator has been getting in to this area.
What are some sure tips in preventing predators?
I have my husband trying to cover all holes & reinforce corners and edges. We live in Chicago, Fox, raccoons, opossums are all possible suspects.
***UPDATE***
After I had locked the hens up I went back out shortly after dark & sure enough I found a raccoon & opossum inside the coop! We think the had dug a hole in the corner and crawled in. We patched up as best as we could & hoping to really tackle problem tomorrow. Thank you for the tips and kind words! We are heart broken to have lost one of our hens & determined to keep the remaining 7 safe!!
 

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