Mystery Predator

kobesmom81

Songster
11 Years
Oct 6, 2008
121
1
119
Atwater, CA
Help! My husband and I went camping over the weekend and left our three chicks at home in the coop with our two silkies. We figured they would be fine since my uncle was coming to check on them and our neighbor was also checking on them every few hours during the day. My uncle said that everyone was accounted for at noon on Saturday but when we got home around noon on Sunday 2 chicks were gone with no trace and one was dead in the coop yard. Both Silkies were as fine as can be but they can't tell me what happened. Last night my husband was moving out the brooder box and found holes underneath it and out in the yard. He says he pumps water in the holes but they never over flow so no telling how deep they are but that we probably have a gopher or a snake and it ate our chicks and left the silkies alone since with all thier fluff they look bigger than they are. But I don't know what to do! We are going to put in a floor soon but how do we rid ourselves of snakes and or gophers. And since whatever it is killed my babies that I hatched from eggs, I am not really interested in being humane. I want it gone dead or alive! Do gophers eat chicks? Do snakes? Could it be something else?
 

lleighmay

Songster
11 Years
May 21, 2008
508
8
141
Woodlawn, VA
Gophers dig holes but are vegetarians. Snakes will eat chicks but don't dig holes (they will use holes they find but they wouldn't have carried off a chick and left it in the yard). My guess would be rats or some sort of weasel if you have them in your area. Since your grown silkies weren't attacked I'm leaning more toward rats. They will dig extensive tunnels of their own as well as using any other animals' tunnels they can find. They'll also come into a coop to eat feed and will eat eggs or chicks if they can find them. You could move/secure your silkies and try a rat trap (I find bacon works well as bait). Keep in mind that they live in colonies so if you catch one continue your efforts because it's likely there are more. I don't recommend poison because you never know if any of it is left over or carried somewhere else where your chickens or other pets could pick it up. Also, there's no telling where the rat would go to die and it could be eaten by another creature such as someone's pet. I'm so sorry for the loss of your handraised babies (I know how important mine are to me) and I really hope you catch whatever did this.
 

Attack Chicken

[IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Hu
11 Years
Sep 25, 2008
8,751
14
271
Indianapolis, IN
Get ya a live trap and put next to the hole but keep your chickens safe. Might be able to catch it and see what it is.
 

kobesmom81

Songster
11 Years
Oct 6, 2008
121
1
119
Atwater, CA
We've narrowed it down to a rat or possibly a possum. Hubby tried flooding the holes again but they are too deep and no flood comes. We are going to get some traps and then install a floor. At that point the coop should be predator proof. At least I hope so. The silkies have moved back in the house. Vuitton is much larger than the chicks were and would probably be fine but Burberry is smaller and I can't just bring one in the house. Don't want to seperate them. The only thing that probably saved Burberry is that she looks bigger than she is cuz she's so fluffy and Vuitton is very protective of her. Vuitton even pecks at me if I try to pick Burberry up. We moved Black Mama and Romeo into the coop temporarily since they are full grown and Mama is kinda mean. But she is also very noisy and if whatever it is comes in there she will sound the alarm, if she doesn't kill it first. And maybe they will mate and I'll get some fertilized eggs too. Still pretty bummed about the chicks though. Wish we would have been home and could have possibly saved them.
 

MagsC

Queen Of Clueless
11 Years
Jul 27, 2008
4,616
12
231
Minnesota
Hope you get the critter. I would say too that it is a rat.
Do possums make tunnels?
 

kobesmom81

Songster
11 Years
Oct 6, 2008
121
1
119
Atwater, CA
bennnn,
thanks for the link, sadly I feel better knowing that there are others out there wageing war on rats!
 

kobesmom81

Songster
11 Years
Oct 6, 2008
121
1
119
Atwater, CA
Will possums use tunnels if they are already there? They started out as gopher tunnels originally until something new moved in.
 

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