Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by birdsofparadise, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. birdsofparadise

    birdsofparadise Songster

    Nov 15, 2008
    North Kohala, Hawaii
    I know this is a local pest here in Hawaii, but Iʻm sure some of you have ferrets that attack your chickens too and I need all the help I can get.

    I have been losing at least a bird per night, sometimes as many as four, to a unknown predator. Since it never gets below 60 degrees, the chickens are kept in a 10ʻ x 10ʻ shade house with a solid tarp as a roof. After the first raid, I put a 3ʻ high fence of 2" hardware cloth all around it. After the second raid, I put 4ʻ high chicken wire over the hardware cloth and tied the entire thing to the structure so nothing could get in or out.

    Yet. we continue to lose birds. No digging around the perimeter, no holes in the fencing, no signs of forced entry at all.

    Its bad enough when we find a carcass chewed up and headless, but often when we count, a chicken is just gone! No body parts in the pen, no feathers strewn around, nothing! It had to be dragged out, but how?

    I think I need CCSI - Chicken Crime Scene Investigators. Help!!!
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2009
  2. Maybe you have HUMAN predators, too? You'd think that with almost any animal predation, you'd have blood and/or at least feathers around?? Does your coop have a lock on it?
  3. birdsofparadise

    birdsofparadise Songster

    Nov 15, 2008
    North Kohala, Hawaii
    Yes. I incorporated a gate from a cyclone fence into the house and tried locking it. Next day, two missing birds. I also continued the heavy shade fabric behind the gate and tied it to the frame with a small bungee cord so you have to hold the drape back to enter. Lastly, I ran 2ʻ high hardware cloth with a 1" mesh on the inside of the gate frame in case anything was trying to squeeze between the gate and the ground or the framework. I even hung brass bells from the gate hoping a strange noisy might help. Arrrrrrrrgh!
  4. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator

    Apr 21, 2008
    West Michigan
    Is your run covered completely?

    Are the birds locked in a secure coop at night (with no openings to the outdoors)?
  5. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator

    Sep 25, 2007
    Any way you could provide a photo of your set-up for those of us who have trouble visualizing?
  6. birdsofparadise

    birdsofparadise Songster

    Nov 15, 2008
    North Kohala, Hawaii
    Quote:Yes. Over the framework, I hung and zip-tied 80% shade cloth from the sill plate to the eaves. The ties are every 12" and very secure. Over the rafters, I hoisted a 20ʻ x 20ʻ industrial, waterproof tarp. It was likewise zip-tied to the framework. Around all of that, I drove 6ʻ T-posts every 4ʻ and hung the 2" hardware cloth and 1" chicken wire combo. I previously described how I did the gate/door. Around ALL of this, Iʻm now starting a perimeter fence to make a 50ʻ x 50ʻ run/yard for during the daytime and for an additional layer of defense.

    I feel like Iʻm working on San Quentin for convict chickens! My neighbor lets her Jersey Giants free-range all day and night and has only lost 2 0r 3 in 6 months! My Ameracaunas are disappearing at that rate every night!

    Iʻd send pictures, but in an effort to placate the neighbors (even though this is rural), I put the coop in a bamboo grove and painted the wood dark brown and the shade cloth is black. Even the tarp roof is dark green. When I back off and try to photograph it, it just turns into an amorphous blob on the screen.
  7. banter

    banter Songster

    Mar 3, 2008
    Raymond Maine
    Not Ferrets, but weasles , Minks and Fisher Cats.
  8. birdsofparadise

    birdsofparadise Songster

    Nov 15, 2008
    North Kohala, Hawaii
    Quote:My wife calls them all "boneless squirrels". They look so friendly until you get up close. Then the teeth are really menacing.

    Mongoose are about 24 inches long full grown including the tail. The pups of course are much smaller, but I canʻt believe even a litter of pups could eat up to 8 pounds of chicken a night! Plus, once they are weaned, they tend to become solitary hunters.

    Stranger and stranger!
  9. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Wow, you are certainly in a difficult situation. My only thought would be to toss flour (like you make cookies with) around the whole pen and see what you get for footprints and to set up a small animal trap.

    Do you have a guard type dog that could be left out at night to alert you?
  10. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    Mongeese are daytime predators and sleep at night. They were introduced to control the rats, but since rats mostly do their damage after dark, it was a bad idea which mostly ended up with another pest that decimated the small bird population of ground nesting and low nesting birds. I would think rats would be far more likely to be doing night time damage, or feral cats if you have very big ones aroud. I grew up in the Virgin Islands, same thing. Mongeese did not bother mature chickens. Babies, now that is another thing entirely.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: