Need help figuring out what is attacking my moms chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Sweetlilbaby, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. Sweetlilbaby

    Sweetlilbaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 19, 2012
    Tacoma Washington
    we're in western Washington. her pen is far to large to put a top on, and the coop has a door. Whatever it is can either squeeze in under the door or is going under the whole coop (a large shed) and getting in. Or is attacking during the day.
    Some chickens are missing. One hen has her feathers pulled out from near her butt, bottom of her neck and over her whole back. the feathers are on the floor of the coup.
    If they go out 4 or 5 times a day they get 6 eggs a day. If they go out 2 twice a day there is one egg at best. So something is eating the eggs as well leaving no shell, no mess nothing.
    It's not eating their food, the missing hens have left no trace behind. No feathers missing. The one hen that has feathers pulled is a bully. You go to touch her and she'll cut you with her claws.

    What could it be? Oh we also have some small traps set and haven't caught anything. No matter how long day or night we stay out watching we see nothing. so whatever it is knows when it's being watched.

    I'm use to raccoons, and possums. But they usually will get in a trap for easy food, eat the chicken feed. Or leave feathers or parts of a chicken behind.

    I'm almost considering having my parents lock their chicken pen up. Am I crazy to feel like it may be a person?
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Not at all, sorry to say.
  3. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    If the eggs are entirely missing, there is a very good chance it is crows. They pick up the entire egg and fly away with it. While they will kill chickens, they don't pull feathers from live chickens, so I suspect you have multiple predators eating out of your coop.

    If there is no cover on the run, then any and all predators can get in. Anything that flies, jumps, or climbs can get in there for a free meal. You live in an area where you have a full range selection of predators.

    Yes, it is possible that it is a human stealing eggs. it's not so likely that a human would pull feathers out of your hens, though. Not impossible, but not likely.

    Missing feathers off of live birds is often a dog. There are some dogs who can get over a 6 foot fence. Or squeeze under the bottom of a fence. Dogs will eat an entire egg, shell and all, but often leave a smear of yolk.
  4. DianaMallory

    DianaMallory Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2012
    Lancaster Ohio
    make the run smaller close it in completely! Never free range! If you do free range this is what happens!
  5. Sweetlilbaby

    Sweetlilbaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 19, 2012
    Tacoma Washington
    I am sure it's multiple things. What has me confused the most is chickens missing that left no trace at all. that is why I think humans may be an issue as well.
    The eggs and chicken being attacked I know are animal. Usually dogs will kill a chicken if they are pulling feathers. The hen that is missing feathers (yes it's only one hen) is alive. Shes missing the from her back mostly, some feathers around her butt, and some under her neck.
    I know dogs can jump 6ft tall fences. There are also dogs that can climb fences. My dogs can do that. I don't live at my parents. I cannot change up their chicken coop/pen. :(

    I guess I need to buy a bigger cage to see if i can catch whatever else may be getting in there. We've put up so the chickens have a small entrance to go in and out of their coop during the day hoping to prevent birds (crows/raven).
    I cannot get my dad to agree to move the chickens to a pen/coop that they have closer to their house so they could hear when something/someone is out there.
  6. WyandotteIndeed

    WyandotteIndeed Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2012
    Southern Oregon
    (I live in Oregon, similar predators)
    I would be leaning toward a fox or two. They will eat eggs shell and all, and are fairly small so could squeeze through suprizingly tiny holes. They will make off with whole chickens just one or two at a time and keep coming back, but one that really fights back would get left after an attempt. Plus, they will come in the middle of the afternoon as well as at night.
    Crows will take the eggs, and then fly over a hard surface (like a road or a car) and drop them and then eat the contents. A hawk or even a large owl (also could be out during day) might take a whole bird and leave no trace, also would not be likely to get caught in a trap.
    Then again, you might have a human thief just the same.
    I have a small completely enclosed run on my well barricaded coop, but whenever I am home, I let them out into about a half acre old garden fenced area for them to range. I ONLY let them out there when I am home and can listen and keep an eye out, because there are lots of predators. Over the years I have dealt with skunks, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, bears, dogs, raccoons, owls, hawks, pigs and even rats, so have learned some stuff about keeping my girls safe.
    My sincerest hope that you get this one solved.

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