Name that predator...please

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by DaniTX, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. DaniTX

    DaniTX New Egg

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    Mar 6, 2015
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    we are new with chickens and also new to east Texas. My dog woke me up at 11:30 to go to the bathroom. While I was waiting for him I heard a very off squawk. So I put my rubber boots on and went back to check on the chickens (they are/were about 9 weeks old). I heard noises by the pen and saw one chicken dead in the pen so yes, I got scared and ran to the house and got my gun. When I was coming back out of my house I saw a dark animal, a little bigger than the size of a cat run towards the front of my property. I got back to the chicken pen and all the chickens were gone except two. One was dead with its head missing and my other girl was crouched on a pallet that I sit on in the pen to watch my girls. She came up toe immediately for rescuing. It looked like the top of her head was a little scratched missing all feathers but just in a small spot. My pen is chain link fence with chicken wire wrapped around the bottom and fence wire for a roof. I put my poor little survivor in my large dog cage and brought her in the house for the night. I read raccoons rip their heads off but that doesn't explain the rest of them missing entirely with not even feathers left behind. Please help. And yes. I live in the woods.
     
  2. Akrnaf2

    Akrnaf2 The educated Rhino Premium Member

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    I am sorry for your loss! To identify the predator I need mor information! Do you have its color? Or maybe you can take a picture of its foot print? You certainly have to defend better your floc!
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2015
  3. DaniTX

    DaniTX New Egg

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    Mar 6, 2015
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    I'll check for tracks when I get off work. I think I'm going to build my coop next to the house by my bedroom window. I wake just from wind blowing. I think I'll have to get an outside dog just for the chickens too (which will be hard cuz our dogs have always been family that live with us and don't stay outside). I think my pen is just too far from the house and with my land being wooded this is going to be impossible to prevent without extreme measures. The existing pen I thought was going to keep them safe. It's fully surrounded and covered with wire, but I guess I'm going to have to come up with a new game plan. I have incubated chics that are going to hatch in 5 days in my house. That gives me enough time to do something to prevent this with my new batch.
     
  4. mothergoose

    mothergoose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    mink/weasels do the same, they take off the head. They will kill lots in one night and keep coming back. We just trapped a mink a couple of months ago that had killed several of our birds and a few rabbits.
    Good luck,
    Christie
     
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    None sure but, weasels drink the blood and usually leave the body otherwise untouched. If you are using chicken wire that is a major mistake. Any critter can pull it apart - replace all chicken wire with 1/2" hardware cloth securely attached to fence framing. It does cost more but, it will last, and keep out many types of predators. 1/4" would be even better, if you ever win the lottery.

    Weasels, minks, ferrets can get through very , very small openings - and will do so at all opportunities. Sorry for your loss, what a horrible thing to discover.
     
  6. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From the size and the way it killed, it sounds like a raccoon.

    You will regret putting the chickens close to your window. Poop stinks. It will also draw rodents to your house, which will draw snakes.

    Beef up security. 1/4" hardware cloth prevents paws from entering, and 1/2" to 1" wire fencing is strong enough to keep predators from shredding the hardware cloth.

    All that is pricey, so I did a small sleeping area that is very secure, inside a less secure run, inside our fenced yard. Three layers of security has worked.
     
  7. DaniTX

    DaniTX New Egg

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    Mar 6, 2015
    Neches, TX
    Only one chicken was found with its head gone. The others completely vanished, not even feathers left behind. The pen is chain link and the bottom has chicken wire wrapped over the chain link. Then it has regular wire fencing over the top of it (that part has bigger holes). When it happened last night I must have scared the animal when I went to check on the chickens (at almost midnight). I heard the animal about 10-15 feet from me in the woods so it heard me coming and left the pen. The pen was still locked up so it had to have climbed the pen and gotten in through the bigger wire across the top of the enclosure I think. I'm going to check for tracks when I get off work. After I got my gun I saw an animal a little bigger than a cat run across my property coming from the direction of the pen but it was too dark to see it clearly. It moved/ran (what looked like to me) like a cat.
     
  8. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Did it look like a humped back cat with a rolling gait? Racoon.

    If it was sleek looking, it was probably something else.

    How old were the chickens? How many went missing?

    Definitely sounds like you need to stop at the hardware store on the way home and pick up some 1/2" fence for the top. You don't say if you have a skirt for diggers, so you might want to check the bottom, too.

    I have concrete block surrounding my enclosed pen. My newer sleeping coop is raised off the ground, and has wire over all openings.
     
  9. Chickenshoe

    Chickenshoe Chillin' With My Peeps

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  10. Chickenshoe

    Chickenshoe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The Fisher Cat,,, long sleek, bushy tail.. bigger than a cat or raccoon... loping run... don't mess with it.....they would put a hurt on u,, get the .22
     

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