Missing Chicks

athenaz317

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 17, 2014
7
0
9
Chino Valley, AZ
We are new to chickens this year, and have about 50 chicks. The coop is very secure, so that I am sure no predator larger than a rat or a snake could get in or out during the day, and nothing at all at night, but several of our chicks have gone missing, including some that are over 6 weeks old, so too big to have escaped. We did find a few decapitated chicks last week, so we assumed it was a rat after reading several predator threads on BYC, and we put out poison and haven't lost any more since then. Could rats have removed whole, large chicks without a trace???
 

boskelli1571

Crowing
9 Years
Mar 7, 2011
3,552
1,261
371
Finger Lakes, NY
Sorry for your losses. When you say larger chicks, how large are you talking?? A full grown adult rat can be quite large - they are strong & determined and will take young birds. Also, snakes can eat whole chicks without too much effort and can squeeze through a small hole.
Check your coop inch by inch and barricade any holes/cracks that you find bigger than 1/2 inch. You would be surprised how small an entrance is needed for these predators to sneak in. Good luck with your chicks,
 

Fancychooklady

Crowing
7 Years
Jun 14, 2012
10,248
2,384
421
Tasmania. Australia
We are new to chickens this year, and have about 50 chicks.  The coop is very secure, so that I am sure no predator larger than a rat or a snake could get in or out during the day, and nothing at all at night, but several of our chicks have gone missing, including some that are over 6 weeks old, so too big to have escaped.  We did find a few decapitated chicks last week, so we assumed it was a rat after reading several predator threads on BYC, and we put out poison and haven't lost any more since then. Could rats have removed whole, large chicks without a trace???
:welcome
Yes rats will take a chick. Be very careful about laying poison. I recently had a guy buy chickens from me because he had accidentally poisoned his entire flock of 10 birds.
Depending on the poison , some will make the rat thirsty and a poisoned dead rat in or around your waterers spells TROUBLE . Also be sure to dispose of any dead rats before the chickens attempt to feast on them.
 

athenaz317

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 17, 2014
7
0
9
Chino Valley, AZ
Thank you for your replies & welcome.
Our chicks are almost as large as some of our full-grown hens, probably about 3-4 lbs. although I haven't weighed them.
There is an opening at the top, and I am wondering if rats could climb over chicken wire? It's about 6 feet high, hard to imagine a rat climbing that but I guess we will have to extend it all the way to the ceiling.
We went with poison because we read that traps were ineffective. So far it's been over a week and we haven't seen any sign of dead rats, which I believe had just started living under the coop, but we haven't lost any more chicks either . . .
 
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aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
74,476
81,197
1,607
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Weasels can get thru chicken wire.
Depending on the poison , rats can crawl back in their nest and die....you might smell them before you see them if they are living under the coop.
 
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Fancychooklady

Crowing
7 Years
Jun 14, 2012
10,248
2,384
421
Tasmania. Australia
Thank you for your replies & welcome.  
Our chicks are almost as large as some of our full-grown hens, probably about 3-4 lbs. although I haven't weighed them.
There is an opening at the top, and I am wondering if rats could climb over chicken wire?  It's about 6 feet high, hard to imagine a rat climbing that but I guess we will have to extend it all the way to the ceiling.
We went with poison because we read that traps were ineffective.  So far it's been over a week and we haven't seen any sign of dead rats, which I believe had just started living under the coop, but we haven't lost any more chicks either . . .
Your welcome . When I go out to my pens at night the rats are runnining along the rafters 7ft above my head. They burrow under the nesting boxes and raise their young there. I cannot leave any food out at night. They are cunning though , they know not to come out during the day. Chooks love rodent for lunch!
 

teneyck farms

In the Brooder
5 Years
Feb 13, 2014
60
3
31
ohio
weasles can go through a 2 inch hole and usually leave the body behind they chew a hole in the chickens rear end and eat the insides of the chicken and then leave the rest behind
sounds like a snake killed youre missing chicks or a hawk would do the same thing if there out side
 

BECCS2014

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 30, 2014
38
6
41
Stuff any holes and openings full of steel wool, mice and rats won't chew through it to get in. Also check out the 5 GALLON BUCKET TRAP on you tube. You can make a rat version if the trap from a 55 gallon barrel. Sorry about your losses
 
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