orphan chicks, now what

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by janjan1, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. janjan1

    janjan1 Songster

    Feb 26, 2008
    Armuchee, GA
    I don't know what got my mama hen & 4 chicks, no blood, no body parts and no feathers. One night they were nestled in the barn stalls like always, the next morning they were all missing. I came down to the barn to feed horses & chickens and saw two little lonely chicks cherping there heads off. Naturally I gathered them up while I looked for mom. I placed them in with two others I am raising due to injuries. I was using my sun room as a chick room, but these 4 little guys are all about 3-4 weeks old. I've put them back into the barn, locked in a stall during the day and in a brooder cage at night until they get some more growth on them to turn loose with the flock.
    I wonder what could have gotten my hen & chick without leaving any sign of any type? I lost a EE a couple weeks ago, but the predator left the body after eating her head & insides. Still have not caught that critter...yet. But wondered what would have done this deed.

  2. math ace

    math ace Crowing

    Dec 17, 2009
    Jacksonville, FL
    Here is a bump !

    There are a lot of people on BYC that have experiences with predators. So far, I have been lucky !
    I'll be watching to see what others suggest.

    It sounds like you have TWO different predators - - - the head eater and the whole body consumer.
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    It could be any number of predators.

    How secure is your barn? When I think of a barn I think of a rustic structure with a dirt floor and rotting barn boards that are about as secure as nothing at all. The only animal that couldn't get into the barns in my area are bears. (I'm in New England so a lot of barns are a hundred plus years old and slowly rotting away.)

    Could something be living in your barn? In the rafters, for instance? A great many people have discovered uninvited guests living in their barns after chickens have turned up missing. A barn owl, or resident raccoons or possums would make quick work of a couple unattended birds, and be used to the other barn denizens so as not to be alarmed by their presence.

    If you've ruled out unwanted residents then I would look at something you've seen hanging around. Possums, skunks, raccoons, neighbors' dogs, maybe a brazen fox or coyote. Something you've seen around the area and is not deterred by the presence of your livestock.

    If none of the above apply then I would think the birds disappeared because of raccoons. They are the boldest of predators. Smart, strong and very persistent. They are the leading cause of deaths by predation in poultry. They will work hard to gain access to a structure containing a potential dinner.

    Sorry for your losses. I hope you find out what has done the damage. Good luck.
  4. CheepSunglasses

    CheepSunglasses Songster

    Apr 3, 2009
    Sometimes a pack of raccoons will just take them away. We had this happen with some of ours. While coons have a reputation for killing for fun and leaving chicken parts strewn around, if it is a just a few chickens facing a family pack, they will often carry them off. Sorry for your loss.

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