New to BYC, but raising hens for 2 years.

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Knorth, May 27, 2012.

  1. Knorth

    Knorth Hatching

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    May 27, 2012
    Hello All!

    We got our first group of hens about 2 years ago when our neighbor moved and couldn't take his hens with him. Ever since, we've been having a blast raising Rhode Island Red's. I never thought I'd be so "into" raising these gal's, but I've learned so much over the last 2 years that I can't imagine not having them at this point.

    We would love to free range, but since we have 2 beautiful Brittney's that we adopted from a rescue........need I say more???????? We've had our share of near catastrophe's that have left a couple of our hens in a mental state that would require some sort of emotional counseling. :) So, we have a relatively large hen house that we built along with a fenced in run area that gives them plenty of room to do what they do.

    We started with 6 hens 2 years ago and decided to bump it up to 8. Now that some of these hens are getting old (yea, like 1.5 years-this is one of those interesting facts Ive learned) we've decided to start bringing in pullets in a few weeks in order to eliminate a break in egg production. Some of the hens are only laying 1 every-other day or so at this point. We were getting 8 eggs a day for a while.
    Anyway, 2 years and no major issues......until a week and a half ago.

    I get up for work at 3:45am every morning and I never hear anything out of the hens that early, but on this particular morning I heard a lot of cackling and what I thought was a hen in distress. I woke David and said, "get up! something's wrong with the chickens"
    So he went out into the dark with the flashlight and the dogs and was gone for what seemed like an eternity.
    "We lost a hen" he said. "I found her in the corner of the run bleeding, half her wing gone and bones exposed everywhere. Don't think I can save her"
    I was furious...this was our best producer.
    Whatever it was made 1 hole the size of a volleyball in the door to the run and another hole on the opposite side of the run the same size. Feathers everywhere. It tried to drag the hen off through the hole, but she must have fought pretty hard to get away.

    Ok, we're on the alert now, every night, Whatever this is will be back. A week and a half goes by and no sign of a predator.
    Then, this morning at almost exactly the same time heard noise. I happened to be awake because the dogs needed to go out. I started hearing distress from the hen house again, so I yelled in a panic, "David, hurry, it's the chickens again" So, off he went like lightening with the flashlight and the dogs.
    And he's gone for an eternity..... again. Oh, crap! I knew this wasn't good. When he came back in he said, "two more".
    This time, only one hole in the fence up near where they roost.

    We have a perch, I guess you'd call it, about 2.5, maybe 3 feet above the ground in the run area where they roost at night. Well, the hole in the fence was approx that high above the ground where they roost. I guess the predator figured it could get to them easier that way. The hole this time was a little bigger. Probably because there was more than one predator? Two hens were taken. Just missing.

    So, my question is....is it a fox that would chew through a wire fence and make a hole that big? What other animal could carry a chicken? No eggs were ever taken, just chickens.
     
  2. Feathers n Fur

    Feathers n Fur Chirping

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    So sorry for your loss. I really don't have an answer for you but I know of someone who lost two hens recently and the size of the hole was similar and was believed to be either a raccon or weasel.
     
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité

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    So sorry for your loss. Check out the Predators & Pests section for ideas to make your coop safe.

    And [​IMG]
     
  4. Knorth

    Knorth Hatching

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    May 27, 2012
    Will do, thanks!
     
  5. Knorth

    Knorth Hatching

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    May 27, 2012
    Yea, probably. We have Amish neighbors who we know well and they told us they set traps for mink and weasel. That seems to be the biggest threat around here.
     
  6. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Crowing

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    [​IMG]
     
  7. weimarmama

    weimarmama Crowing

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    My Coop
    [​IMG] & [​IMG] from Alabama. Glad you joined us. So sorry to hear about your predator problems [​IMG]
     
  8. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Crowing

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    Hi and :welcome from Ohio. So glad you joined. So sorry for your loss. It sounds like coons. Weasels tend to kill them and eat them were they kill them. I think your chickens need to be in a solid wood coop until you can catch the culprit. Good luck. :thumbsup
     

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