Mystery Attacker, quickly ending flocks!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by TopsyTriceratops, Jul 21, 2017.

  1. TopsyTriceratops

    TopsyTriceratops Hatching

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    Jul 21, 2017
    Hello, everyone! I have little time for introduction as I am in DESPERATE need to figure out what to do! My mother has many chicken pens, and she loves her chickens to death. Yesterday, 2-3 chickens were attacked, carved out and feathers/ blood everywhere. Today, two chickens were found, barely alive, and had to be put down by me (I'm extremely stressed from doing so, but I couldn't bear to let mom do it). I didn't see the bodies of the first attack, but I was told they were carved out, from the belly out, like scooped or just had their soft parts pulled out from their tougher cavity. Today, I saw that their necks were terribly mangled and stripped (I...could see the neck muscles and jugulars), and their backs were decimated. Feathers over most of their backs were gone, and their backs were torn into, and I have no idea how long the poor things suffered.
    These attacks normally happen between night and morning, as that's pretty much the only time mom can't go to them as she needs to sleep and go to work in town. Two days, almost 5 entire chickens gone. Handfuls of chickens were left alive, but were covered in muck and shaking in fear having escaped whatever did this. Mom uses chicken wire to cover the walls of the cage-pens, and an orange plastic netting over the top to keep out predatory birds.
    I noticed that, in both times, there was a big enough hole in the roof netting for something to get in, but I don't know what. The cages are too tall for some dog to leap onto, and impossible to jump out of from inside. We live in the Sonoran Desert, in a large neighborhood. We can't afford one of those constant security cameras, especially now that it's the monsoon and it'd get destroyed in the nightly rains.
    These chickens are of medium size, and the ones being slaughtered are hens. The hens are very sweet girls, but I question if a neighborhood cat could do this to such chickens. A hawk is also in question, since both could get through the hole in the roofs. Please, someone give me ideas on what to do and what it could be. My mom and her chickens are suffering enough!
     
  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Crowing

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  3. Stephine

    Stephine Songster

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    Chicken wire and netting are not safe enough - as you saw - and there are many different type of predators that wouldn't be stopped by those. You need to put hardware cloth, 1/2 inch, all the way around, fastened to the posts with boards of wood so it is sandwiched.
    And the chickens need to be locked in a safe coop at night (no openings bigger than the 1/2 inch hardware cloth that should cover the windows and any openings for ventilation).
    I am very sorry for what happened to your mom's chickens.
     
    barred2rock and Junochick like this.
  4. Howard E

    Howard E Songster

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    Sounds exactly like the work of raccoons. Chicken wire will not stop them......they can rip through it. In the short run, If you have one.....set a live trap near the hole they went in. If you don't have a live trap, ask around if friends or neighbors have one or with any luck, the dog proof coon traps that maybe you can borrow. Then when you trap your coons (yes.......likely more than one), DO NOT turn it loose. Kill it or have someone else do it. All that in the short run.......meaning in the next few hours or days at most. Once the carnage is stopped, you can begin on the real solution, with is to upgrade any chicken wire enclosed areas to hardware cloth or welded wire. Sturdy stuff they cannot break through.
     
  5. PAPABOB23

    PAPABOB23 In the Brooder

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    I just had 2 of my 4 girls {4-1/2 months old} killed by I do not know what. It got thru a space overlooked when addition to coop was built. It dragged one out of the coop, killed the other in the coop and mauled the other 2 with small cuts to face and neck. The remaining 2 are shell shocked and I have got them to start drinking water again but they don't seem to want to eat much. Any advice on how to get them eating again. I have tried feed, lettuce and some peelings. I am stumped. Thanks.
     
  6. Stephine

    Stephine Songster

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    Put some sugar in their water, or nutri drench if you have it, so that they get some calories in them for energy. How long has it been?
     
  7. PAPABOB23

    PAPABOB23 In the Brooder

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    Apr 10, 2017
    Monday nite is when it happened. I just went out into the coop and picked each one up and tried to hand feed them some grain. The lesser injured of the two ate some out of my hand the way they used to do when they were little. The other would not eat. I am encouraged by how much the one ate and that she will eat on her own. I will try the sugar and look for some nutri drench locally. Thanks.
     
  8. TopsyTriceratops

    TopsyTriceratops Hatching

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    Jul 21, 2017
    But why would a raccoon take a bite out of a chicken or two, then leave? It doesn't even finish them off, just mangle them horribly.
    On more news, my mom found a hole torn out from the inside of the coop, not the other way around. Likely, whatever attacked got through the ceiling net, then tore out through the wall fencing.
    Does anyone have any good suggestions for a night-recording wireless camera that is affordable? My mom is at her wits end here. It needs to be able to work outdoors during rain/ intense heat. Otherwise...I don't know what to do.

    EDIT:
    Mom explained a bit more to be, saying that they attack every other night, and the latest attack moved the chicken wire and squeezed through the chain-link fence gate. Not from the inside, from the outside. I don't even know anymore.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
  9. PAPABOB23

    PAPABOB23 In the Brooder

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  10. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

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    Some predators attack simply because they can.

    My priority would be to reinforce the coops and runs IMMEDIATELY as even if you find and kill the current predator with a camera, the coop and run simply aren't predator proof and there's no way you can watch it around the clock. If you can call on any friends or relatives to help with reinforcing the enclosure, do so. All the chicken wire must go, it's no better than paper at this point. You need to replace it with a hardware cloth/welded wire no bigger than 1/2" openings, and that should go over all the entire chain link and be aproned out or trenched as well.
     
    sourland and Stephine like this.

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