Lost our first! What got her?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by heksa, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. heksa

    heksa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2010

    It happened at night, or so we think. My husband remembers hearing some chicken noises at night, but since they stopped after a few seconds he did not think much of it and thought a brain played a trick on him … Until the next day when my 7 year old daughter came home screaming. She found the remains. There was not much of it – lots of feathers, wings, feet, all the meat gone. Not far from the coop, maybe three, four feet away.

    We learned our lesson. It was bond to happen. We live in the populated area, have a small backyard and are surrounded by houses and fairly busy road. For 8 months we were lucky not to encounter predator attack with the coop open, so the chickens could come and go as they please. But I knew the day was coming, especially now with winter weather making animals more desperate. Needless to say, we close the coop for the night now.

    My daughter is especially devastated. It was our smallest bird – a silkie girl named Ruthie.

    We think it was a fox. What do you think?
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2010
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    Foxes tend to carry their prey away from the kill site, so I don't think it was a fox. It sounds like whatever did it had access to any bird in your coop, but chose the smallest and weakest bird. It also did not kill multiple birds. Raccoons likely would have killed multiple birds to get the choicest parts from the birds. Raptors would have wasted a lot of the bird, but I am gathering from your post that most of the bird was eaten. Weasels have a very specific way of killing and this is not what they do. Bobcats, foxes and coyotes will usually carry their prey away to another location to eat it. I am thinking a smallish and somewhat unmotivated predator- possum or skunk, maybe. An immature raccoon may have also been the culprit, but I doubt it.

    Sorry for your loss. Locking the coop at night is going to be necessary from this point on because predators return to a place where they got a meal over and over.

    Good luck.
  3. heksa

    heksa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2010
    Thanks for you reply. So you don't think it was a fox.

    We definitely have skunks and possums in the area. Can they squeeze through a gap in between the posts in the chain link fence? Maybe 3-4 inches?

    We only lost one bird, thank God.
    Everything was eaten - head and meat gone, only the wings and feet left behind. And feathers.
  4. juliechick

    juliechick Transplanted Hillbilly

    Jun 27, 2008
    Southeast AR
    Sounds exactly like what a possum did to one of my Silkies once. Sorry for your loss.

    ETA: I know it was a possum because he couldn't get out of the coop and was still there in the morning grinning at me. Horrible nasty looking creature!
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2010
  5. crtrlovr

    crtrlovr Still chillin' with my peeps

    sorry for your loss... you're right about the "just a matter of time" part. Creatures of opportunity seize that opportunity whenever they can. Even with a 6' high chainlink run, I've still lost birds to predators (mostly before I got the fence -- bloomin' coyote took some), and recently lost a 5 mo. old guinea b/c she flew over the fence while I was gone, and something grabbed her before I got home. A 5 mo. old beautiful black Frizzle just disappeared. I've seen a large owl recently, so I'll be covering the run ASAP. I still let them freerange in the big fenced backyard, but no more while I'm gone. [​IMG]

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