Mystery Predator Killed Young Chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Khakitophat, Aug 6, 2014.

  1. Khakitophat

    Khakitophat New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Aug 6, 2014
    Lenoir City
    Hello, I am needing a little help identifying a predator that killed my young chickens. Last night I lost about 10 six week old chickens Yesterday I had let my young ones out to free range, and I forgot to shut the door on the brooder last night :(. So when I came out this morning they were dead. I was only able to find two bodies. The brooder was only about a foot tall so it wasn't a very large predator. I found two barred rocks on the ground like they were trying to run out of the brooder. I didn't notice any marks but maybe a small piercing on the head. I had 6 that lived and one of which was a turken that I found laying on its side with its foot drawn up like it couldn't walk. I noticed it had a single small incision on its thigh that looks similar to a tiny paper cut. However, of the 3 seramas, several barred rocks as well as a couple of polish there were no sign of them. Not even feathers or body parts. I have ruled out anything that flies as they were covered. Any ideas? I can't find anything that quite matches the predator charts I've looked at. Help me please :(
     
  2. swimmerchick

    swimmerchick Out Of The Brooder

    It won't have been a mink... minks don't take the bodies... It could have been a racoon but they usually leave body parts ( yuck) Its possible you could have a martin or a fisher after your hens.... Maybe even an otter.
     
  3. swimmerchick

    swimmerchick Out Of The Brooder

    My suggestion is to get a live trap because whatever it is, is going to come back. Set the live trap with cat food or tuna
     
  4. RachelleM1986

    RachelleM1986 Out Of The Brooder

    50
    2
    43
    May 28, 2014
    Stagecoach, NV
    Whereabouts are you? My first guess would be coyotes or raccoons. Where I live in Nevada, the coyotes will clear a 5' tall fence like it's nothing, and their main characteristic for determining predators is coyotes will steal the chickens versus kill-and-eat on site. The small scratch is why I lean toward raccoons, since a coyote wouldn't really leave small scratches but rather large ones... But I've lost a dozen or so chickens (plus 2 turkeys well over 10 pounds each) in the last month in a half due to mothers teaching their cubs how to hunt, so it could even be a small 'yote leaving the scratch. Or, the scratch could've been something entirely different from a predator, such as running into something while trying to escape, or getting stepped on by another chick.

    Sorry to hear about the loss, it's never fun waking up to a horrific surprise like that [​IMG]
     
  5. RachelleM1986

    RachelleM1986 Out Of The Brooder

    50
    2
    43
    May 28, 2014
    Stagecoach, NV
    I agree with swimmerchick, the predator WILL come back until it's picked off all your chicks, even if you close the door on your brooder...point is, now it knows where to find its dinner. Shoot, all the coyotes around here know my yard is a buffet :/
     
  6. Khakitophat

    Khakitophat New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Aug 6, 2014
    Lenoir City
    Thanks for the replies. I am in east Tennessee. I do have a 4 foot fence around my field. I also have a livestock gaurdian dog in the field where my chickens are as well. However where the brooder is the dog couldn't get to it which is why I don't think it would be a coyote, but that still is possible. I have had a racoon before, but it just ate the heads off. This one's just got me a little stumped.
     
  7. Khakitophat

    Khakitophat New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Aug 6, 2014
    Lenoir City
    Setting three live traps now. I will bait some with cat food, and some with the two bodies I did find. I will keep this updated and let you know what I find.
     
  8. RachelleM1986

    RachelleM1986 Out Of The Brooder

    50
    2
    43
    May 28, 2014
    Stagecoach, NV
    Wow, ok I'm definitely not familiar with Tennessee, so I don't know if I'll be of much help lol! I'm interested to see if you caught anything in the live traps!! Ew - raccoons are nasty little critters :p
     
  9. Khakitophat

    Khakitophat New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Aug 6, 2014
    Lenoir City
    I haven't caught anything as of yet. I will keep you updated. Maybe it's still full lol.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by