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Missing baby chick - cat?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Petra Pancake, Jun 11, 2017.

  1. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've got a missing baby chick mystery. One of 3 chicks (2 weeks old) that I raise with a broody together with the flock disappeared overnight. I would have thought of rats at night but there was a strange incident in the morning. I heard a chick's loud distress cheeping in the morning when the whole flock was still in the coop. Looked out of the window, saw nothing, thought he was just getting pecked on. When I went out a few minutes later to let the flock free range, they were very hesitant to come out - unusual. Normally they stampede out when I open the door. I looked around and saw a feral cat lurking nearby. Chased it away with a few pebbles. The flock then came out of the coop, minus one chick. How could the cat get it if it was in the coop? There is no opening big enough for a baby chick to get out, much less for a cat to get in! Could a cat pull a baby chick through a tiny hole measuring 1.5 cm? Or was the cat there just by coincidence?
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Cat could have rushed in for same reason you did, in response to distress call of chicks. My dogs and I did exactly the same thing in response to a song bird being attacked moments ago.

    Many critters could pull chick through such an opening in your area. Check your list of possibilities as it will be back.

    Make so birds roosting free and clear of coop walls by at least 18". Make so no critter can get in over night by closing coop up.
     
  3. GGBEAR

    GGBEAR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    please do not think I'm being patronising but have you checked all in your coop that its not laid dead somewhere or buried under hay??? I'm wondering if its been killed by a fellow feathered friend shall we say and its not un heard of for them to eat it also!!! I'm thinking if it was anything else there would be more damage than one missing I may be wrong.
    I think the cat is just a coincidence
    where do you live?
     
  4. HenOnAJuneBug

    HenOnAJuneBug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nothing could pull a chick through a 1.5 cm hole. Sorry, not possible. A cat couldn't even get its paw through that.
     
    Petra Pancake likes this.
  5. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks @centrarchid, @GGBEAR. I checked the coop, no dead chick anywhere inside. I'll double check for holes in the coop and seal them. That cat has been hanging around the coop more than once and also watched the chickens when free ranging, though it stayed well back. How can I discourage it from coming to visit without killing it? I just don't like it staring at the chickens with that hungry look... even if it's not guilty this time.
     
  6. HenOnAJuneBug

    HenOnAJuneBug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Trap it with a havahart type trap and either take it to the pound, or dump it somewhere far, far away.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I willl attest some predators can eat a chick through a 1 cm hole.
     
  8. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    1 cm - that's really tough. Which predators? Minks & weasles? Seems I have to patch up my old hodgepodge frankencoop. And whatever got my chick, darn, it took the one with the most interesting color. It was sort of wheaten-barred where the feathers came in (father crele, mother wheaten).
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Smaller mustelids and even a fox. Verify a predotar can not simply force itself in. If bird eaten through a hole, you will see blood staining around hole. That is also when a lot of feathers will be consumed.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    @Petra Pancake,

    You have been having a lot of problems that stem from containment. Look into briefly getting so setup can be made chicken tight even during the day. Then make so chicken tight only at night to get back into your free-range design. I am guessing your suburban setting is predator rich but not so rich with respect to forages.

    What rules apply in your area with respect to fencing, especially something like electrified fencing?
     

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