Owl or chupicabra? -Predator identification needed UPDATE ON POST ONE

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Miss Red, May 14, 2010.

  1. Miss Red

    Miss Red Songster

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    Apr 26, 2010
    Trinity, Texas
    Last night at midnight I went outside because my chickens were riled up and the dogs were going crazy. After about an hour of walking around doing head count after head count and shining the light every which way I could, I saw nothing and decided to go back inside. My mother got up at four to head to work, and went out to do her morning head count while waiting on her ride to swing by. She didn't account for chicks, and saw no one missing [which in reality none of the adults were.]

    When I checked on my caged birds around ten after doing my egg collections and such, I realized my Mama with six was out of her pen and none of her chicks were responding to her frantic calling. On my search to find the missing six, I found something very strange. I think it was a gizzard. It was pink on the outside, with a blue tint that faded to white in the middle and very hard. I know I've seen it before when plucking chickens so it's a body part of some sort. A couple steps ahead and under a tree I found a wing, and the neck-up of one of my young game stags. When I picked up his head and placed it in the collection pile, I found one of the missing chicks that I originially set out for. Its head had been pecked at, aside from freezing I think the little guy would have lived there was no blood or splattering of any kind.

    So, it struc between 1 A.M. and 4:30 A.M.
    It ate FIVE week old game chicks.
    It left no blood trail.
    The mama hen is fairly unharmed except for some feathers missing on her wing.
    It ate ONE two month old game stag, which weighed about a pound.
    -- From the game stag it left ONE wing, ONE foot [from the ankle down], a gizzard? attatched to the esophogus, and the NECK UP.
    There was NO sign of a struggle, no blood and no feathers. Everything I found was within five feet of a tree that I've seen a hawk at numerous times...


    Suspects:

    Small white barn owl that I have seen catching mice at night [chicks look like mice maybe?]
    Four foot tall, rather angry hawk that I chased off with the rake yesterday [could have struck between moms count and mine]
    Dog? [Would have left feathers everywhere and not EATEN the bird]
    Raccoon [ Wouldn't have got through Trixie, who sleeps next to the coop and gets up every hour to run the property line while barking ]
    Snake? [ Wouldn't have left body parts and would have been found in the pen gorged and unable to fit back out]

    There is no damage to the pen at all. Just five missing chicks, and two dead chicks.

    Update Update Update! May 16
    [​IMG]

    I caught this little guy in the trap from the neighbors. He was just a youngster, very wiley and very aggressive. I believe he was only one of many, as there was also signs of another predator in the other trap. It ate everything in it, and managed not to set the trap off. So I'm going to have to figure out how to make it more 'trigger friendly' and trip easier.

    Friday night they got two more cockerals out of the bad boys bin.

    Saturday morning they got Derby, my crippled rooster. They scalped him, and broke his skull open exposing brain tissue. When I found him hiding under the house he was still alive, and had to be put down. RIP Derby, you will be missed.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  2. fancbrd4me02

    fancbrd4me02 Songster

    It's not the barn owl. Also is not a snake. It sounds like it could be a weasel. If your pen hasn't got a top it could be racoon, fox, opossum, skunk
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2010
  3. Miss Red

    Miss Red Songster

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    Trinity, Texas
    No I haven't put a top on the pen yet, that was going to be done Sunday. I didn't smell any skunky smells so I don't think it was the local pain in the rear skunk.

    I forgot about the foxes. We have a den about 500 yards from the house of coyotes, too. A fox den ON the property we've been trying to flush out for a while. The female snatched a chicken the other day while I was outside and yelling at her. We have live traps set for the foxes.

    Would a Coon sit at the base of a tree or on a branch and toss aside what it didn't want to eat?
     
  4. Puresilk

    Puresilk Songster

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    Apr 23, 2010
    Yale
    Quote:That sounds just like a coon....I have hunted them for 20 years and have seen them do similiar things many a time....
     
  5. Miss Red

    Miss Red Songster

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    Apr 26, 2010
    Trinity, Texas
    Ugh, I was hoping it wouldn't be that coon. We have tried every trap known to us to try and snatch him. Including putting a mirror at the bottom of the water trough with an arm trap. He just gnawed it off... going to leave the gorey details out of that one. I have a one armed coon out 'foxing' me.
     
  6. fancbrd4me02

    fancbrd4me02 Songster

    I have seen the racoons in my yard laying in trees, just kicking back. I'm sure they might eat while in a tree as well. You should try to cover your pen as soon as possible, whatever it was will be back, probably tonight. I find nothing brings peace of mind like a sturdy predator resistant pen.
     
  7. Miss Red

    Miss Red Songster

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    Apr 26, 2010
    Trinity, Texas
    Isn't that the truth. I get up and check on them every two hours usually, last night I didn't and it struck. I guess I'll be sleeping with the chickens tonight because I won't be able to put the roof on until Sunday either way it goes, waiting on a delivery with the supplies.
     
  8. Warfrost

    Warfrost In the Brooder

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    Madera
    Those are also prime possum hours...possums are very aggressive, so be careful if that's what it is.
     
  9. Miss Red

    Miss Red Songster

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    Apr 26, 2010
    Trinity, Texas
    I will. I'll be lieing[sp] and waiting with my car in a bag trick.

    Remote controlled car, paper bag, cat food. You'd be surprised how fast predators disappear when the bag attacks them.
     
  10. Puresilk

    Puresilk Songster

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    Apr 23, 2010
    Yale
    Your best bet is to get a dog that can dispatch a coon, or borrow one...if you cant trap it, or put hot wires around your pen, try a dog...
     

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