One woman against an army of hungry chicken-eating Predators

Discussion in 'Hatch-A-Longs' started by Jeniferl29, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. Jeniferl29

    Jeniferl29 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does anyone else out there feel like they are fighting a battle every single day just to raise their poultry? I am feeling a little beaten down right now because every time I change my tactics the critters just seem to get smarter. My husband and I sat down last night and figured it up and since Febuary we have had problems with: snakes, rats, hawks, dogs, cats, opossums, raccoons, fire ants, foxes, rogue water buckets, piling up, chick-killing hens, people stepping on chicks....and the list goes on and on. I never knew chickens could be so fragile. Just yesterday I had a call duck not hatch and when I cracked the shell, it was dead fully formed but its head was shaped abnormally and it's insides were on the outside of its body. How does that happen? Also yesterday my friend accidentally stepped on my only swedish flower hen chick and it died. And last but not least last night I went down to check to make sure all the hens went up in the hen house and found that fire ants had gotten into my nest boxes and killed my BBS Orphington chicks as they were hatching out and were attacking my newly hatched button quail. Somebody please tell me I am not the only one these kinds of things happen to? I need some moral support for my flagging spirits. Right now I feel like I am just raising chickens to feed my local wildlife. :(
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    I'm so sorry [​IMG] I've had times like that too. From predators thinking I opened a soup kitchen to DH stepping on a chick, it got so bad at one time, I threatened to get rid of all my chickens and farm pigs instead. Don't give up yet. Fight back! First of all get some hardware cloth around the coop and run. It's the best for keeping critters out. And get something for those awful ants a.s.a.p. Have a look here for tips:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/42334/how-do-you-kill-fire-ants-and-not-hurt-your-chickens

    For predator protection tips have a look through the articles here:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/chicken-predators-pests-how-to-protect-treat-your-flock

    Good luck and stay strong.
     
  3. Jeniferl29

    Jeniferl29 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the links. I read through them and found some great info. Our fence is about 6 foot and it has a finer wire at the bottom. We have it buried and big rocks along the bottom on both sides but somehow the fox, raccoons, and opossum still found a way in. Also I forgot to add squirrels and crows to my list of predators. I recently found out squirrels will steal feed, drying sunflowers, and even eggs. A crow attacked a 4 week old silkie chick and took all the hide off its head and the back of its neck before I could get to it. It lived but it became stunted after it healed. :/ It is just crazy stuff happening around here. The fire ant thing really freaked me out. I sprayed permethrin all over my coop and nest boxes. It said it was safe for chickens and luckily it didn't hurt any hens or chicks but I was worried. I just had to weigh the benefits with the risks. I can't think of a much worse way to go than to be slowly killed and consumed by fire ants. I wish I had found them sooner and I might have been able to save my chicks. :(
     
  4. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  5. LBejaran

    LBejaran Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ugh, I know how you feel. I had the cutest little Polish chicks who were the calmest out of the all the chicks I bought (which is a rarity, considering many people find Polish to be flighty) and some carpenter ants got to them. I doused that coop with boiling hot water and killed any insect that moved.

    One good preventative tip I have for rodent-like creatures is mint. Planting mint around your coop or your yard will prevent any other rodents from wanting to get into your yard. The smell is too strong for them. I sprayed peppermint oil along the edge of my coop to keep some rats from getting in and stealing feathers off my chickens. I had some balding chickens for awhile, and I thought that maybe they were pecking each other. Turns out that some rat was building a nest nearby and wanted some chicken feathers to make it better. Hmph.

    And chicks getting stepped on? I was so scared on stepping on chicks when I started out that I refused to go outside with shoes on. I'd feel my way through the yard to the coop. Only recently have I started wearing sandals again (mostly because my feet kept getting dirty and my mom would give me a look whenever I came inside the house, haha).

    Good luck with eradicating your pest problems. I know all these issues seem to correlate into one epic horror story, but trust me, it'll pass. Tragedy seems to come and go in waves. A couple months of crap hitting the fan can lead to a year of bliss. Just take a breather, drink something (hard), and then look back at your flock with fresh eyes. Sometimes we just need to back off for a bit so we can realize that things aren't as bad as they could be. [​IMG]
     
  6. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I stepped on a chick a few weeks ago and it died within a minute. I feel absolutely awful about that. For the past month,there has been a skunk coming by to eat eggs laid here and there by my ducks, and all the eggs out of a broody hen's not-so-hidden nest *I*!thought was safe in my garden bt the deck steps. Over two nights, it also killed two adolescent chicks which used to sleep on my back deck railing at night. Plus one ground-sleeping Silkie in the coop. Turns out there at least two skunks, a mama and a youngster. As of tonight, I really don't know if they are living in the coop (17x22 former 3-sided garage, now a pretty secure four sided coop) or just spending nights there when they get inside it. I didn't get home until after dark - way after dark - tonight because of my birthday celebration. I left home too early to lock up the flock and got home well after dark. When I flipped on the lights in the coop to take a head count, I woke up a young skunk sleeping behind the (empty) brooder.... And its mama was sleeping in a nest box! Aaaugh! Not willing to "set off" either skunk, I turned off the light and turned tail. I will have to develop a skunk eradication plan. I know the egg and chick losses are my fault. It sucks. I feel your pain, although I haven't experienced the losses you've suffered. :hugs
     
  7. Jeniferl29

    Jeniferl29 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the moral support. I have been feeling like a big fat failure. This is my second year raising chickens so I am kind-of a newbie. My first year I bought chickens from anyone and everyone and I brought home a respiratory infection. I ended up having to cull all 80 chickens a laying goose and a laying turkey hen. I swore ...never again. I am so careful now about bio security but the critters around here are kicking my butt...pardon my French.
     
  8. Jeniferl29

    Jeniferl29 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm so sorry for your losses. I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes I don't know whether to be mad at the predator or myself for letting it happen. Check out this pic of the snake I pulled out of my chick brooder the other day. He killed 3 before I found him but only ate two. I had to chase the same hawk off twice today that was trying to kill my banties. At one point it flew in at breakneck speed and hit the fence not 6 feet from me. That run is covered thank the Lord. I feel better knowing that I am not the only one going through this stuff. I would not wish it on anyone but sometimes I just feel like it is all because I am new to all this.
     
  9. Jeniferl29

    Jeniferl29 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
     
  10. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    I am so sorry you have all this to bear - it is heartbreaking. You are doing some things right, the covered run for instance. And I am sure there are other things as well. Please don't be so hard on yourself. Every new predator is something unexpected and you have to deal with the - only to find something else taking it's place

    . Are you allowed to shoot predators on your property - which includes dogs attacking your stock? Can you put out traps? Hunters may be looking for a specific animal for pelts etc., they might be happy to stake out your place.

    Could you run some strands of electric wire around your coop/ run to discourage those trying to pull something thru the bars, or climb the sides?

    Please go to "where am I, where are you," in the social forum - locate and post on your state thread. I think you will find people in your area who may know tricks of the trade, or provide, traps or firepower to help resolve your problems.
     

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