One of my chicks just got eaten

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by NHchicks, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    I posted this on the "raising baby chicks" thread, but maybe it's more appropriate here:

    My 9 yr. old and I have watched our hens lay eggs, get broody, and hatch 8 adorable chicks. The chicks are now 5 weeks old and everything was peachy until tonight. I have them living in a dog crate efficiency apartment (at night - during the day they free range) next to the real coop with their hatch-mom, wrapped in a tarp, double and triple locked to keep raccoons from opening the latch. But it's hot and I left the front unwrapped for them. Tonight my dog was whining to get out, but I didn't want the barking to disturb the neighbors so I didn't let her out. At 12:30 a.m. I woke up to the sound of chickens screaming. So I grabbed a flashlight and ran down to the coop, and, well, it must've been a raccoon that reached in and was able to grab a chick and behead it. My dog is now outside for the night, which never happens, but she lives for this kind of thing and isn't even asking to come back in. My neighbors will have to bear with us for the night.

    It is so disturbing - I got this feeling of evil seeing my poor chick like that. Raccoons have to live too, but the whole predator thing is really bothering me right now.

    Tomorrow night I think I will just put them in the big coop with the other hens & the rooster. They have been co-existing pretty well, but the chicks might get a couple pecks from the hens in the morning. Hmm. The other option is to line the dog crate with the chicken wire that has the tiny holes, not the big holes.

    My 9 yr. old is going to be very upset in the morning. Ugh.
  2. Yessur Ebob

    Yessur Ebob Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 23, 2010
  3. crazy huhn

    crazy huhn Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2008
    I am so sorry for you and your family.[​IMG] to all of you.

    Hopefully you can put the crate in your main coop tomorrow. That is how I am doing it right now with my chicks. I still have the crate locked up at night in the main coop as well even though young and old are free ranging during the day very peaceful. I usually take the crate out of the coop when the chicks have found a different spot to sleep at night. They know best when the time is right.....

    I hope that all your other chickens and chicks are safe. Double check everything as Raccoons will come back.
  4. spottedtail

    spottedtail Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2007
    The wire with the 1/2" mesh is hardware cloth.
    Expensive, but worth it.
    Seems like you could have problems putting such young
    chicks with mature hens.

  5. obxWaMi

    obxWaMi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sorry to hear of your loss, too.
    Maybe, like Crazy Huhn said, you can put your dog crate into the main coop.
  6. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    [​IMG] I'm so sorry for your loss.

    Yes, it is really disturbing to find a beloved animal beheaded like that. The first time it happened to me was with four-week-old ducklings. Sadly, the raccoon chose my son's favorite duck and he was heartbroken. I usually let the children view the bodies of their pets but in this case it was just too gruesome. Clean-up was awful too, because there was blood and gore all over the wire where it had been pulled through as far as possible.

    I haven't had it happen since because I lined all their pens with hardware cloth. But then recently we got quail and discovered that even the hardware cloth isn't impermeable to raccoons--we had one grab a little quail leg through the 1/2" mesh and pull it off--the quail died of blood loss, the raccoon ate a drumstick for dinner. So sad! Now we have the quail pens DOUBLE lined--chicken wire about six inches outside the hardware mesh.

    I think I'd like to have a LGD, but I don't have the space or the energy to train one up right now. Still, great idea to let your dog sleep outside. I hope the neighbors won't complain!
  7. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    Thanx for the replies. The chicks are going to spend the night in the "big boy coop" tonight and we'll see how it goes. I'll let them out early tomorrow morning to monitor. (who needs sleep anyway?)

    The big coop does have the 1/2 x 1/2 wire. I'm surprised to hear even that is vulnerable, but I don't think I'd line it twice - wow, what a lot of work. Kudos. I suppose the only foolproof method involes moats, cannons, alarms, flashing motion lights, and land mines...

    And the large dog crate won't fit in the coop because the coop is sectioned. My dream is to have a coop about 4 times the size it is now. And then, of course, it would be filled with chickens. Altho with the amount of ruckus my chickens and dog have made in the past 12 hours, I imagine the neighbors are standing ready at their bb guns this very moment... Even my hens are getting noisy. I think the rooster has been a bad influence.

    Anyway, may this never happen to anyone else. And never trust a dog crate unless it's lined in mesh - that's the lesson I learned. It worked for 5 weeks, and not a day longer. I should have lined it. It wouldn't have been that hard.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2010
  8. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Oh, don't worry--I haven't had any problems with raccoons eating my ducks through the 1/2 inch wire. Just quail--because the quail have such teeny tiny limbs--a full-grown quail's legs are smaller than a newborn duckling's. So the duck pens are not double-lined, although I do want to run a strand of electric wire around the bottom just to deter predators from even trying. I just haven't had the money to buy the energizer yet.

    I think you'll be fine, although I would worry about the adults injuring the babies--you might need to look into a way to separate them within the pen.

    Good luck!

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