Mystery killer

Maria G

In the Brooder
Feb 1, 2015
59
3
41
I've got a sniper in my garden! I have lost 3 chickens in 10 days in the middle of the day. About 6 weeks old. The 12 weeks old are doing just fine.

The first was found in our yard, a magpie was picking on it, but we didn't see what killed it. The second disappeared in the middle of the garden while we had 5 kids, 3 adults and one dog milling about at 11 am. No body, just a circle of feathers. The last one disappeared today at 10 am, only 3 feathers left by my car... The other chickens were upset, hiding in the bushes.

Even though we live close to a city, I know we have badger, fox, weasel, cats and magpies/crows in the area. Who fits the profile?

I had a fox wipe out my complete flock this winter (my mistake), and grandma claims to have rescued a chick from the claws of a fox at 6 am two weeks ago, but I can't quite believe that a fox would go into a garden with people and dogs crossing back and forth at 11 am....

Could it be a magpie, a cat or a weasel?

I really need to know, because i need to put up a run that protects them properly. My free range plans are falling apart... I need a run. If the magpie is the killer, I probably need a roof. If the weasel is the killer, I would probably need to dig down the fence properly. My plan was a simple, cheap run, but it looks like I'll have to hire a carpenter...

Any ideas would be very much appreciated!

M.
 

Maria G

In the Brooder
Feb 1, 2015
59
3
41
Probably a good guess.... I saw a fox-coloured cat sneak around the henhouse one morning.

Would a cat take grown hen, or just the chicks? I don't want to have to build a fortress here, but I could keep the chicks indoors longer before I let them out to free range.

Thanks,

M.
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
15,030
821
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
Probably a good guess.... I saw a fox-coloured cat sneak around the henhouse one morning.

Would a cat take grown hen, or just the chicks? I don't want to have to build a fortress here, but I could keep the chicks indoors longer before I let them out to free range.

Thanks,

M.

*most* cats are loathe to take a full sized chicken - chicks, though, especially the age of your littler ones, are prime targets.
 

Torch404

Songster
11 Years
Jan 15, 2009
218
24
156
Northern Cali
The other possibility would be a hawk or some other bird of prey, that could carry the body away. Cats may drag a body a little ways off but they are usually found near by.
 

Maria G

In the Brooder
Feb 1, 2015
59
3
41
Hmmm - I think a cat fits the profile better, since it is an animal that obviously is not afraid of humans, and that seemingly only goes for the small chickens.

Either way, i need proper fencing.

Is it true that chicken wire is not strong enough to keep foxes/badgers out? I need something that keeps predators out, but I will close them inside the chicken house at night, and the house is predator proof.

I need to get supplies, and the ordinary chicken wire is a fraction of the price of the predator proof wire mesh (whatever it is called).

Thanks,
M.
 

BeulahBreezes

Songster
7 Years
Mar 31, 2012
348
21
111
Western NY
I suppose a cat would kill and steal small chicks......my cats learning very early on to leave the chicks alone.....they would get a good pecking!! (lol!) I don't believe a cat would go to a full grown chicken though.......~Beulah
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