Murder in the meatie tractor - thoughts or advice please?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by noladq, Jun 13, 2010.

  1. noladq

    noladq In the Brooder

    Mar 13, 2010
    I have been raising my Cornish slow broilers (5 weeks old) with my buff orpingtons (7 weeks old) in a tractor that I move every day.

    Yesterday I came out to find three dead BOs, with their heads and necks eaten away, and blood smeared on a few of the CRs. There is no evidence that a predator got inside, so I am assuming that this is a case of cannibalism. I felt that the birds had plenty of space, though with the recent rain, they may have been crowded on the roost to stay dry. The CRs are two weeks younger than the BOs, but surpassed them in size last week. I’ve also noticed a lot of “posturing” recently. (breast bumping and wing flapping at each other.)

    I have separated them and moved the BOs, but do not know if that will solve the problem. If you have any ideas of what may have happened, I’d appreciate hearing them.
  2. Msbear

    Msbear Fancy Banties

    May 8, 2008
    Sharpsburg, MD.
    sounds like a weasel
  3. Grapefruit Moon

    Grapefruit Moon In the Brooder

    May 21, 2009
    I can't really offer any help as to who the killer might be, but I do love the title of your post. A chicken detective novel would do well with such a title.

    Seriously though, what type of fencing is on your tractor? (how large are the holes) Last year I lost several 3-5 week old birds thru some 2x4 fencing. I don't know who/what grabbed them, and I never saw any evidence of murder. Just birds that were gone in the AM when they were there in the PM.

    Sorry I could not be of more help. And I am sorry for your loss.
  4. scubaforlife

    scubaforlife Songster

    Jul 13, 2009
    Just happened to me, it was a coon. Whatever it is, it will be back, plan for it. I built a trap out of a dog crate and caught the coon.
  5. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    Although your cornish probaly sampled the easy pickings I doubt they did the deed. Poultry cannibalism usually starts on the back of live birds, or around the vent of sick/dead birds.
    Head and neck missing usually means a coon.
  6. Buster52

    Buster52 Songster

    Jan 28, 2009
    Geronimo Oklahoma
    Get a good dog or four.
  7. noladq

    noladq In the Brooder

    Mar 13, 2010
    Skunk!! [​IMG] The weasel suggestion is what tipped me off. That and the cat getting sprayed this morning. Weasels are quite rare in this area, but the skunks are plentiful. Reading it looks like skunks, coons, and weasels kill and eat them about the same way.

    I don't know what the final solution is (not dogs - they've been skunked before and I can't stand it [​IMG]). If I trap one, I'll end up with a different one and get sprayed for my troubles. For now I am herding the meaties into the layer coop at night, then back out in the morning. They only have a few more weeks to go, so it's not too much work.

    Thanks for the responses!
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2010
  8. scubaforlife

    scubaforlife Songster

    Jul 13, 2009
  9. Winsor Woods

    Winsor Woods Songster

    Jun 14, 2009
    Cascade Range in WA
    I designed my tractor with a lip around the entire inside perimeter of the bottom of the tractor. This lip can hold a wire floor which is slid in and out. Although I haven't made the wire floor yet, I was thinking of predators when I made that design attribute. Sounds like you have a work-around though. Good luck to you.

  10. FarmGirl01

    FarmGirl01 Songster

    Feb 5, 2008
    I had heads eaten off thru the fence before. It was a possum.[​IMG]

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