not a single chick left

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by JHillgrove, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. JHillgrove

    JHillgrove In the Brooder

    Aug 2, 2011
    Snohomish, WA
    I am feeling a little heart broken.

    A week ago I lost a sweet broody and her 7, 3 day old chicks when she decided to hunker down under the chicken coop for the night. I saw her there, but knew there was no way I could reach her, as the coop is quite large, and she was in the dead center. I decided to hope for the best and the next night make sure she was safely locked up so she couldnt do it again. But by morning they were all gone. I cleaned up the dead carcass of the mother.
    Must have been a raccoon.

    I had another broody from a few weeks ago who hatched out 4 chicks and they were growing so big. 1 died after a week, I dont know the cause.
    Then one disappeared a couple weeks later.
    Then last night we lost the remaining two.
    I found one of them dead, the other was gone.
    I think rats or something were able to squeeze through the bottom of the door. I think they pulled the chicks through the bottom of the door by the head because the one I found was next to the door with his head almost out the door, and he had neck injuries like something bit him.

    Would rats do that? Or maybe an opossum?

    I fixed the door today.
    But I am so sad. And I feel so sad for the poor mother who is without a single baby today. Do chickens mourn?
  2. flowerhensowner

    flowerhensowner In the Brooder

    Jul 7, 2011
    Northeast Ohio
    a coon or a possum will do that a bottle of coyote urine well deter them for a while best to catch and relocate or just exsterminate them altogether
  3. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Songster

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    I am so sorry for you. It seems like its all over, last week I lost my birds to a coon also!! [​IMG]
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    if you use bottled coyote urine - will that attract coyotes??? That would be worse than the original predators.
  5. JHillgrove

    JHillgrove In the Brooder

    Aug 2, 2011
    Snohomish, WA
    How on earth would I even go about extracting urine from a coyote? That sound like a really dirty job.
  6. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Songster

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    Quote:I might be a bit naive but where would a person find a bottle of coyote urine ?
  7. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Songster

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Raccoons are by far the worst predator we deal with here--worse than fox and coyotes, in my experience. They are strong, clever, and determined. They have dextrous hands similar to human hands, and they tend to work in family groups, sometimes working together to solve complicated problems to reach their prey. They prowl their territory frequently--it only takes one time, for a brief period, of forgetting to lock up animals at dusk, because the raccoons will be coming through to check them out as soon as it's dark.

    They will wait patiently for prey to walk near a small opening, and grab it through the opening, and pull out whatever part they can reach and eat it off the live animal. It's horrible. I've lost ducks through chain link this way, and a quail through 1/4" wire floor where the raccoon grabbed a toe and pulled off the quail's leg. They can open latches, climb fences... and they are insanely prolific nearly everywhere.

    About the only thing I can think of that would be worse would be bears, and thankfully we don't have those here.

    To prevent predation by raccoons, I have learned to ensure all openings at livestock-level are covered with 1/4" wire (this is effective on vertical surfaces where no small part of the prey animal is smack up against the wall--not so effective for floors, where their little toes are resting on the wire). I also cover the bottoms and tops of pens with wire to prevent digging and climbing. Latches all are either very strong so that they require human-adult strength to unfasten, or actually physically locked with key or combination.

    I suspect that electric wire run at about 12" from the ground would also be effective as a layer of protection. For wire floors, I add a second layer, about 8 inches from the floor, of chicken wire or other similarly-sized wire, so that a raccoon has to reach through the outer layer to reach the inner layer, giving animals inside plenty of time and flexibility to maneuver away.

    I have also found that a loud, aggressive, largish animal in the yard is a good general deterrent (though not effective by itself). I have a large grey Toulouse goose who makes a racket when something comes in the yard, and generally succeeds in frightening things off. However, he would not be enough to defend them if something were able to get into the enclosure. A large dog, a llama, or other large animal could be effective (goats, however, are generally not--they are too quiet and passive to be much of a deterrent).

    Even with precautions, I occasionally lose an animal. I lost a chick to a hawk because I left them in the yard for ten minutes when I ran inside to do something. Came back out to find one completely gone, no sign.

    It really stinks to lose them. [​IMG] I'm so sorry for your losses. I hope you get lots of new babies to help ease the loss of these. And that you're able to find a good set-up that reduces your future losses. [​IMG]
  8. calicokat

    calicokat Songster

    Apr 2, 2009
    azalia, indiana
    So sorry you lost all your babies, [​IMG] that really bites [​IMG]
  9. curious1969

    curious1969 Songster

    Apr 17, 2011
    Northwest Montana
    Quote:I am sorry for your loss, and your hen. I lost a broody this spring with 9 chicks about 1 1/2 weeks old. It was devestating, especially since it happened to be a neighbors dog who tore their cage apart. I guess we just have to learn a lesson from these experiences so it is not for nothing. [​IMG]
  10. loganchick

    loganchick Hatching

    Sep 8, 2011
    Since losing all but two hens to raccoons I have been on warpath. First I built a 360 degree enclosure and used the narrow wire "cloth" at bottom 1/2 cage. The added benefit here is that I don't have to clip wings and if by chance something got in, the girls could fly and perch up. When I let them into the garden, they are somewhat protected by an electric deer fence, though I still am not sure that would deter a coon. secondly, I have been trapping and shooting the coons. Don't feel sorry for them. They are over populating, and really have no natural predators except humans ( and rabies virus, of course) in much of the country. I also have a series of simple bolt locks so that unlocking any single one does not allow a coon into the coop, but it is still easy for me to enter. I bought some of those solar powered blinking lights but dpn't think they work---the raccoons walk by them to get the marshmellows in my trap. And by the way, you need to stake the trap down. My PhD coons discovered that turning the trap on its side allowed them to take the marshmellows and not get caught. I hadn't thought of it myself till they did it to me one night. If you are really opposed to killing the coons be advised you have to relocate them more than 25 miles away or they come back home. And after brining in salt water and vinegar for a day the coons make good eating...Of course, unfortunately mine were chicken fed.

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