Need some advice, lost some beautiful birds this week...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by princetonpeeps, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. princetonpeeps

    princetonpeeps Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 15, 2012
    Princeton, MN
    Hello all!!!

    We've had chickens for a little over a year now, and have been hatching our own birds since early this spring.

    Sorry to announce that we lost 3 babies yesterday, and 1 adult last week. All our birds free range together. At bedtime last night, we noticed we were short 3 7 week old jersey giant babies... So today, we kept them cooped up in fear the predator would return while we were at work.

    We live in a pretty rural area in central minnesota, with plenty of critters around. Our black lab was put down earlier this year, and since, the ladies/babies have been on their own as far as protection. Sad to report that the predators in the area have figured out that the yard security has been retired...

    My question is, what is the best way to combat these varmits??? Full coop mentality 24/7??? Or, sit out an wait with a rifle to see if said pest will return?

    -Thanks!!!!

    -Josh and Danielle
     
  2. chickenlover89

    chickenlover89 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2012
    that's your decision, if you want happy birds, and fresh tasting eggs, you have to be willing to lose some to predators, also, if you have a rooster, he will alert the girls of danger. But it is all your decision, you can do either, I personally prefer free-range, and I am willing to lose a few in the process. Although I do have a big run in addition to their coop, if I need to keep them locked up all day, or for a while.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2012
  3. newfarmgirl

    newfarmgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 3, 2011
    My 2 cents worth...not knocking any other of course, is that we have dogs, fox, hawks and goodness knows what else when we aren't looking, so we keep them cooped up-sorry about the pun! It all depends on where you live and how much time you have to baby sit. All animals hunt for food, so if free ranging is your desire, then buy extra, because you WILL loose some. Dogs won't typically eat the chickens but will kill them. Fox just want the food and the larger birds like hawks also want to eat.. As winter nears and food sources become more scarce, count on loosing a few. ( circle of life if you will) You could also get another dog and train him to be protective of your flock : ) If having an enclosed area for your girls is your preference, then check out all the excellent ideas on this site as to how to keep them safe. Loosing even one lady is heartbreaking for me and I cannot be around with a rifle 25/7- so I had to make a choice. I love to grab my glass of evening Chardonnay and go sit with my chickens on my very special stool in my Run every evening as the sun sets and feed them treats. I, as well as my ladies love that time and even my kids know where to find me :) Good luck! Let us know how it goes!
     
  4. princetonpeeps

    princetonpeeps Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 15, 2012
    Princeton, MN
    Thank you for the replys! And I agree, there is a choice to be made about full time cooping...

    I think we'll always have some of the ladies free-range, even if we lose some from time to time. Most likely we'll be getting another dog this next spring, to help guard the flock. It's crazy how little time it took for the predators to figure out the yard security has been retired, and the chick buffet could be on! [​IMG]

    So, having said all that, does anyone have any ideas on catching/trapping these varmits? I'll be watching closely these next few days!
     
  5. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    I got away with freeranging for almost a full year. The chickens were let out at 7:30AM, and stayed out all day. When I got hit, I didn't just lose one bird. I lost seven. After that, when I let them out, somebody was there with them, most times. I had got some new chicks just days after the first attack. They just started laying eggs, when I had the second attack. Of course, we weren't there. Things came up and nobody was home for a hour or so. This time I lost nine. That's when I had enough, fox were shot, coons were trapped and "Relocated". But you are never going to totally get rid of the predator problem with those methods. My solution, and it has worked out great for me, was to buy an electrified poultry fence. I bought and installed 400' of Premier's poultry fence. I ran electric down to the coop to power it. Now the birds get out everyday, and they are safe, and I can relax.
    Jack
     
  6. princetonpeeps

    princetonpeeps Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 15, 2012
    Princeton, MN
    Interesting, perhaps we'll look into that type of fencing.

    An update:

    This afternoon found the remains of the three chicks, mostly eaten, all in the same spot a ways from the coop. Trying to put all the clues together to figure out which predator this was...

    We've kept all the birds cooped since we learned they'd been missing. When I went out to check on them after work today, the baby chicks were all huddled near the back of the baby coop, terrified... (usually the are very excited to come and say hi when they see us)... I have a sneaking suspicion that the culprit came back again this afternoon. He was un-successful this time.

    Regardless, I've learned from you all on here in the past 24hrs that losing some birds is inevitable if allowed to free range. Ill continue to update if I can. Thank you all for the advice!

    Any further info still very much appreciated.

    -Josh and Danielle.
     

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