Mutilated chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Kattee, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. Kattee

    Kattee Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 31, 2012
    Fowlerville michigan
    I have a small flock. Two of my hens are now dead. I'm pretty sure it happened during the day while lightly snowing. I can't be sure but I was told they were all there this morning when my son went to fill their water and give them their morning treats. Then this evening I went to check on them and give them some more treats. They were all downstairs like they were scared yo go up the ramp. Two of them were headless. I saw two circular tunnels dug through the snow and then a small hole dug under the run wall with both of the dead hens by it. It looks like something tried to pull them through it but they were to big to fit. Both of them were missing their heads and one had some of it's chest missing. I'm devastated, and feel so much guilt. It's my job to protect them and I failed. I locked the rest of them upstairs, ripped out the ramp, covered the exit hole with a panel and put a conder block on top of it. This has really rocked our little world, they've always free ranged and went to bed when they felt like it then I would lock the coop and run up. I didn't let them out today because they wouldn't of been able to get through the snow so they must of tried their best to escape the murderer but were trapped in there, poor things. I'm thinking a weasel? But it had to of happened during the day. My questions are, what hunts during the day that's small enough to crawl under the coop and how long should I wait to let them have freedom again? Once they can free range again and not be snowed in do you think they'll be okay again? Or do you think whoever did this will hunt them now even when they're free ranging my fenced in backyard?
     
  2. Sounds like an ermine. But, if it's possible the holes are unrelated, an owl (some hunt during the day).

    I'd set out a haveahart trap and put a chunk of meat in it next to the holes. You'll find out what it is then. I wouldn't let them out until you've caught it
     
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  3. Kattee

    Kattee Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 31, 2012
    Fowlerville michigan
    Thanks, I think you're right.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I think an ermine is a weasel....in it's winter coat.
    Any predator will hunt during the day if it's hungry enough.
    Weasels are hard to defend against because they can get thru such small holes....
    ....there are several sizes of weasels, so live trap will not likely hold them.
    It will be back.
    Look up weasel traps.. box with rat trap and small entry hole
     
  5. Kattee

    Kattee Out Of The Brooder

    45
    0
    22
    Mar 31, 2012
    Fowlerville michigan
    Thanks aart,I have moved them for now but I don't want to keep them confined forever. They wouldn't be happy. I have looked into rebuilding to keep them safe and its just not in the budget right now. Even if I do catch the little stinker(s) there'll be more, so I've created a seperate thread looking for a good home for them. If you know of anyone in the area I'll bring them to their farm. I strive to make sure all my animals are healthy and happy and if I can't do that then I want to find someone who can.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Try the Michigan chat thread https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/newestpost/697050
     

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