One hen killed in coop overnight...raccoon? Possum? Rat???

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by EggDropSoup, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. EggDropSoup

    EggDropSoup Chirping

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    Man, my poor hens have been through the ringer. I just got my surviving 8 over a really serious respiratory infection and now I've lost yet another, this time to some predator attack.

    I have no clue how the critter got in. My chicken run and coop is chain link on three sides (with the fencing buried a foot under the ground) and the wall of my friend's house on the fourth side. The top is covered by bird netting which is secured with zip ties. I haven't had any problems with this arrangement for over a year. The coop door is always open--the chickens can run in and out freely, because I don't get over there until around 10 every morning to let them out of their run and into the 1/2 acre of fenced yard. There is a wooden and hardware cloth gate that I built myself that keeps the run closed at night.

    My only guess is that the animal that did this somehow found a weakness in my bird netting top. With my run's configuration and the present fencing, there's really no better solution, so I guess I'll be adding more zip ties. The other possibility is that a rat did this. I have seen a rat around, and have been neglectful of trapping it. I'll see it run out and eat some food and then return to its hole. I never thought a small rat like that could kill a 7 lb. chicken.

    The chicken that was killed had her head torn off and her abdomen ripped open. She was very neatly "cleaned" of all of her insides. Literally--her body cavity was scraped down to the bone. Does this sound like a coon or possum? I'm almost certain a rat couldn't have managed this.

    I'm going to set three or four live traps around the run tonight and possibly camp out. I can't stand to lose anymore hens than I already have in the past month. :(
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

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    On the MN prairie.
    A weasel, mink or rat could easily get through your chain-link fence. Weasels are quite small, so I don't know that one would do that much damage (when they've gotten my chickens, they've just bit a hole in the neck or under the wing and lapped up the blood), but a mink would certainly clean one up like that.
     
  3. EggDropSoup

    EggDropSoup Chirping

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    Minks are definitely not native to this area, so I'm guessing a 'coon or possum got in somehow. I spent six hours securing the coop/run in every way possible. I also told my friend to leave her dog out tonight. She usually does, and I think he keeps most predators at bay. Last night, she happened to bring him in. Tomorrow night, I'm setting the live traps.
     
  4. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Songster

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    [​IMG]Sorry for your loss!
     

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