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MIssing chicken, lots of feathers but no blood

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by xclypto, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. xclypto

    xclypto Out Of The Brooder

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    May 11, 2013
    After work my son and I went to go feed our chickens. Right away I noticed a half outside the coop and the others still inside. The hanging water bowl had its bottom on the ground after filling it up the previous evening which was bizarre. Well, we began to round them up and I started counting - one missing. Queue investigation.

    Looking around, no blood but tons of feathers... from all my chickens. Mostly inside the pen, outside I found several feathers that look like they belong to the orpington. The coop is sheltered but the entire pen is open on the top, one placed where the gate is I seen a dip in the fencing but...

    No tracks, anywhere. Frustrated I begin to walk around my yard and neighboring yards to see if I can find her. Nothing, nada, zilch. Finish watering and feeding the remaining chickens, talk to the old lady about the issue. She states to look for a trail of feathers so I go back outside to check.

    I start by the gate and find a few. In the area I notice a few feathers that seem to form a path and followed it. This lead me to some brush on the northside of the property where just barely 12 inches into it I found a couple more feathers sort of in a circle then nothing.

    No blood at all, no tracks. It is all dirt up to the brush as I dont like to mess with mowing that part of the yard due to it being extremely hard to get a mower down there to it. I can still see the rain drop prints from the rain a few days back and the ground was still soft which pushed me to really search for tracks but nothing.

    What happened? Remaining chickens are really quiet this evening as well, not moving a whole lot so I am thinking they are extremely tired from today or scared.
     
  2. cheepylove

    cheepylove Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 29, 2009
    Southern Maine
    Strange no tracks. Coons would have left a bloody mess. Coyotes probably next to nothing, they usually have a clean kill & get away. Almost found like a hawk but I know from experience if the bird is too heavy they will kill, leave the carcass there & come back. Plus a trail of feathers would lead me to believe a ground animal. My suspicion is perhaps a fox? Light on its feet, comes out during the day, leaves a trail of feathers but not a huge mess.
     
  3. xclypto

    xclypto Out Of The Brooder

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    May 11, 2013
    It is baffling. No tracks but a feather trail - also the sides are 6ft high if that makes a difference, I thought maybe the predator crawled over the fencing since I seen the one dip in the fence line near the gate but I expected tracks from where they landed at least.
     
  4. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    I would agree on the fox. Sorry for your loss. I have had a fox take a 10 ducks and guineas this summer. I finally had to stop free ranging and set up an electric net fence yard. Most of the time there were several piles of feathers, and then a trail of feathers every couple of feet through the underbrush and woods, and then a final pile of feathers in the woods. Never found any evidence of the mallard ducks, they just disappear. The fox will be back, so you'll need to figure out how to keep him away from your birds.
     
  5. xclypto

    xclypto Out Of The Brooder

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    May 11, 2013
    I will be doing something soon, does a fox usually checkup often?

    Weird though, right in the middle of a city you wouldnt think there would be a fox here.
     
  6. dwalters

    dwalters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 23, 2013
    Southern Michigan
    Fox will keep coming back until no food is left. You would be surprised where they live and how far they will travel for food
     
  7. monkzardo

    monkzardo New Egg

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    Aug 17, 2013
    East Tennessee
    I think a fox got one of mine this week. I found a large amount of feathers and half of the chicken's head outside the coop. There was no blood or other mess so until I found the head wasn't sure. The other three seem a little traumitized by the ordeal. They no longer see the coop as a safe place and I have to carry them in at night. They keep trying to roost on the chain link fence. I hope they'll recover. Also there was no egg production for 3 days after. Poor girls.
     
  8. Teery

    Teery Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 16, 2013
    Inland Empire So. Cal
    What city? A small rural or a NY / LA type? I know in LA, I have seen a number of coyotes, raccoon, and opossum.I have seen bobcat in and around the hills of LA while riding horses. Never seen a fox though but I am sure they were around. Where I live now neighbors have seen coyotes, and one seen a fox and a weasel a few years back...Most of the people here don't have " wildlife " predation problems. They have mentioned that stray dogs have gotten the occasional bird.
     
  9. catdowns

    catdowns New Egg

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    Aug 17, 2013
    My biggest predator is other dogs. My dogs don't mess with the chickens but wandering dog do. I have had fox problems too but have lost many more to dogs. Leave a ton of feathers scattered about every time. They have even gotten the birds through a 6 ft chain link fence. It is very frustrating!
     
  10. xclypto

    xclypto Out Of The Brooder

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    May 11, 2013
    Small rural. Family says that they have seen a fox from time to time so I guess I just never have.

    I did not have issues with them going in the coop, it has been fortified but.. was not enough.

    Yea, I feel your frustration. Bout ready to just give them away.

    Lost another chicken the other night, one of my Australorps. Beautiful one too, but I did catch a picture (somewhat fuzzy pic but it is what I had). I know everybody is telling me fox, but I will be ****** if this doesnt look like a raccoon in the picture!

    http://imgur.com/yFclWn5
    http://imgur.com/BefBapa
     

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