Neighborhood cat killed three of my birds

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by beccaWA, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. beccaWA

    beccaWA Chillin' With My Peeps

    231
    40
    121
    Feb 22, 2012
    Eastern WA
    Apparently a neighborhood cat has been hunting my birds. I had a Cayuga on a clutch of eggs under a huge juniper bush, and something (I thought owl at the time) got her. Days later, in the evening a young duck and an adult drake were taken. Unfortunately, I was out for the evening and son did not close up the coop until after it was dark. The cat apparently got into the coop and took the duckling and the drake after he chased them outside. My mistake for leaving the coop door open too long into the evening, but I'm wondering if I see the cat in the day what nonlethal means I can take to scare it off. Was thinking slingshot with some dried beans or something in it. Of course I'll be closing up the coop right after the fowl go in early evening, and son has been instructed about the importance of this now. I've lost about $100 worth of birds to a stinkin' cat. I believe it's a cat because there was no feasting, just kill zone to the necks.

    Ideas? This sucks. I'd love to get the neighbor to pay but not sure which cat or whose cat.
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,957
    2,632
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Did you actually see cat after your birds? Cats do it occasionally but must have direct observation otherwise you are barking up wrong tree in a manner that will end in more losses.
     
  3. beccaWA

    beccaWA Chillin' With My Peeps

    231
    40
    121
    Feb 22, 2012
    Eastern WA
    Did not see the cat, but am familiar with what an owl or hawk will do (eat breast meat at kill site), and what dogs, coyotes will do (drag the bird off). I have no raccoons that i know of at all, no possums, skunks, etc. This happened in the dark of night so I'm assuming one of the large cats we have in the neighborhood.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,957
    2,632
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Thus far you have not provided enough detail in your observation to indicate or rule out anything other than a predator is involved.
     
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Sounds like a predator for sure!

    My dogs don't drag off their prey. It stays where they kill it. They just bite it and shake it a bunch.

    Just because you don't see other things. doesn't mean they're not there. Even in the city in So Cal, I saw at kit fox at 3am.

    The only thing the cat (stray) ever leaves behind in my garage when it catches the birds that nest above the door is feathers.

    What did you actually find?

    Ya, I would have moved that bird and her clutch if they weren't getting locked up.

    Sorry for your loss. I hope you get this figured out!
     
  6. Donna R Raybon

    Donna R Raybon Chillin' With My Peeps

    238
    42
    68
    Apr 13, 2016
    Neck wound and leaving body sounds more like mink, weasel, ferret. If you live near a river/stream that can heighten risk. Also if it's been real rainy, weasel and mink can move long distances looking for new territory . Sorry to hear of your losses.
     
  7. beccaWA

    beccaWA Chillin' With My Peeps

    231
    40
    121
    Feb 22, 2012
    Eastern WA
    Thanks. I'm in a suburban, yet semi-farmy, kind of area. I have an acre as do my neighbors, and some have more. The carcasses had the kill site at the neck, and no eating/feasting on the bodies at all. I'm thinking whatever it was killed for fun. As far as moving the broody duck, it was almost impossible as she was deep, deep under a spreading juniper bush where I could not get the eggs unless I chopped down the bush. My other duck brooded under a brush pile, but I was able to move the pile enough to put the eggs in a large dog crate, cover it with brush, and close the door at night. She accepted that and did return to the nest after I disturbed it. She successfully brooded six ducklings from that situation.

    This is disturbing, as I've kept birds free range (locked up at night) for quite a few years now and have had no problems. Thanks again.
     
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Dogs kill for fun sadly, and they do grab at the throat.... but I think they would kill everything they had access to and not come back a second time. Or am I mistaken about it happening on separate days?

    Cats will go to the same kill site many times until the site is depleted. My friend's cat always brings the kill home. Also, I watched a couple of cats killing for sport the other night. They let the prey run around wall they swatted at it & stuff, I'm not sure how it ended but it wasn't quick. And 3 years my hens free ranged and never got locked up, never a problem with cats and there were quite a few. Come to think of it, I have dogs. But they are indoors at night.

    Your killer sounds like it could be something else. I don't have much other predator knowledge, just shared what little I know about my dogs.

    Best wishes.
     
  9. beccaWA

    beccaWA Chillin' With My Peeps

    231
    40
    121
    Feb 22, 2012
    Eastern WA
    One duck (the broody) was killed about a week ago and then two were killed in one night, at sites a ways apart (about 50 feet), but I'm sure the ducks were trying to find cover. One was just outside the open coop, and the other under a large spruce. Sounds like either something very fast or a group (raccoons?). Anyway, they are up for the night now. :-(

    Correction, I thought they went in for the night. They (the ducks) are frightened to go in the coop (I don't blame them) and I cannot alone herd them in.

    Oh, also, my entire acre is fenced so rarely do dogs have a chance to get in. That's why I was thinking cats or possibly coons.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016
  10. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    The kill doesn't sound like raccoon's. I think they leave a mess I thought. Seems like raccoon's eat very specific parts at least on chickens, not sure about ducks. But definitely not a clean kill.

    If the kill didn't happen inside the coop, I'm not sure why they would fear going in there. Have you checked to make sure there's nothing inside? I have read that it seems like a dark scary hole in there. Maybe put a light in just until they make their way in and settle down. It has actually worked to help people not have to do the chase.

    All my chicks were putting themselves up until I moved them to the coop. Now half of them do and the other half line up at the back door and wait to get back to their original brooder location. I really do not enjoy chicken chasing and wish they knew I was trying to help them.

    They do make motion detecting impact sprinklers. You could set it up outside the coop as a deterrent. The sound of it coming on is startling and I don't know of a single animal that will stand there and be sprayed in that manner. Dogs going after sprinklers and water hoses is different because they are not caught off guard.

    The killer will be visiting you again! I hope you can figure something out before more loss.[​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by