Missing mama hen with babies left behind :'(

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by my4ladies, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. my4ladies

    my4ladies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am so sad! Our silkie mama just hatched 3 babies (and has been so great at being mama). We let her free-range with our other 3 hens during the day and the babies have stayed really close to her.

    I have 2 suspects:
    On the day the chicks hatched, our neighbors acquired a young obnoxious husky, which began running into our yard. Several times now we've had to run outside and yell at her to go back home. Each time, thus far, she's bounded her way to the mama hen, playfully, but enough to scare mama away from her babies, which also scatter & hide. I say playfully, but without our interferance, I'm sure she'd have that chicken in her mouth like a squeaky toy.

    The other is a fox. Neighbors from down our road, who also have chickens, walked up the other day to warn us of a fox that had swiped one of their chickens. It left feathers everywhere. She told us that this was "a bold fox. It was big and came in broad day light".

    We've been making sure to close them up whenever we leave during the day, to protect them from both the dog and the fox. However, today around noon, my kids and I left and forgot to put them in. Shame, shame, shame on me. I feel awful. There are a few things that are making it hard for me to decide what could've gotten her. I won't be able to fall asleep easily tonight, so I figured I'd get on here, and if not get answers, at least be able to vent.

    Tidbits that are clouding my decision on who the culprit is:
    1. We left our dogs outside (they have underground fence, so not tied up, able to run after intruder, if so inclined). One's a Toy Fox Terrier, the other a Papillon. The terrier barks at everything that moves...squirrels, chipmunks. I wouldn't think he'd even let a fox onto our property??? On the other hand, our dogs may have encouraged the husky to come over, b/c they have actually been playing together when he sneaks over to our property. (They chase after each other, he darts at a chicken...fun times. darn dog.)
    2. No feathers, anywhere! Me, my husband, kids, and even neighbor kids, scoured our yard and surrounding areas...none of us could find a single feather.
    3. The babies were still there. We found 2 together, near (not in) the brooding kennel I set up for mama & babies. The other had made it's way up into the coop...where it had never even been before. We were surprised to find it in there...surprised too that it could actually climb up there.
    4. My other hens are still there, and fine. Granted, 2 of them are standard size, but the other one is a silkie...even smaller than the mama and bright white. She was broody, but recently snapped out of it and has been free-ranging with the other girls for the last couple days. (Unfortunately, b/c I had the idea to see if she'd take to mothering these babies. Would've been worth a shot)
    5. We've had problems with the neighbors w/ the husky (before the husky)...although my husband did go over there and ask them to keep her in their own yard...after I had already confronted them the first time she came over and scared the mama hen. The one woman is kinda crazy...she's about mid 30s, and her brother lives there too (who recently got out of jail for beating their stepdad in the head with a hammer). Nice, eh? They said they hadn't seen our chicken, but they are not honest people. It didn't help that he started mowing the lawn at exactly the same time we started looking for our hen...with a bagged mower...perhaps to conceal evidence??? ok...so that might be getting a little too suspicious, but still ; )
    6. For the possible chance she's still alive, we looked in every nook and cranny and couldn't find her.

    So I guess that's it. It seems its always easier to see what's going on when you are the person on the outside looking in, you know? Please give me your perspective, ideas, hope, thoughts, suggestions, any input!

    Also, thanks for reading this : )
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2011
  2. b.hromada

    b.hromada Flock Mistress

    Wow. Now I'm inclined to believe it was the Husky. I know you say that he seemed to want to "play" with your chickens, but a dogs bite doesn't take much to kill one of our birds. It is strange there were no feathers around either. I'm so happy though that your babies were okay. I hope you find out what happened, so you can correct it, and not worry about your babies again. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  3. justtoni44

    justtoni44 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 13, 2010
    oregon
    I can on;y say how sorry I am.....[​IMG]
    And do not trust that neighbor to keep thier dog up.....
     
  4. squeakyballs

    squeakyballs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tucson, AZ
    I hope she turns up.

    It could have been a hawk.
     
  5. my4ladies

    my4ladies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    b.hromada :

    Wow. Now I'm inclined to believe it was the Husky. I know you say that he seemed to want to "play" with your chickens, but a dogs bite doesn't take much to kill one of our birds. It is strange there were no feathers around either. I'm so happy though that your babies were okay. I hope you find out what happened, so you can correct it, and not worry about your babies again. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Thank you. You're right. It wouldn't take much for a dog that size to kill a chicken, even if they are just playing with it. But, yeah, no feathers. Even if she took it back to her house, it seems like there'd be some feathers, from where she would've played with it first. Now that I've read some more from other people's posts, I'm seeing that fox(es?) tend to snatch and run. Hmmm.​
     
  6. my4ladies

    my4ladies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 4, 2010
    Quote:Thanks [​IMG] And, no, I don't think I can, unfortunately.
     
  7. my4ladies

    my4ladies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 4, 2010
    TT! :

    I hope she turns up.

    It could have been a hawk.

    Thank you. I hadn't thought of a hawk. We don't ever see them overhead at our house though. Our backyard is kind of baracaded by tall trees...so it seems like it would have to dive down, then lift up helicopter-style....no place to do a swoop maneuver. I'm sure they could manage though, either way. A hawk probably wouldn't leave feathers.

    The more I'm thinking about it, the more I'm thinking it was most likely a fox. And it knows now where to get chicken. It will probably try to come back tomorrow for more, but my girls will be locked up safe. The babies are in our house as I type this. I hope they don't feel abandoned :'(​
     

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