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Pigeon Massacre

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by goldntoller, Jul 5, 2007.

  1. goldntoller

    goldntoller Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2007
    I know, not chicken...but I'm gearing up to get a few hens and this loss has really upset me. I had, with the 4 babies in their nests, 18 pigeons. I went away a couple of days and came back yesterday afternoon to a pigeon massacre. There are only 7 remaining and one is injured. I couldn't face putting him down and he seemed bright so I've tended his wound and am hoping for the best for him. If he seems to be suffering I'll end it for him but for now we are hoping.

    Anyway, I'm wondering what did it and thought y'all might have some suggestions. The set-up is a 8 x 7 shed and a 13 x 7.5 chain link dog run off it. The run is wrapped in chicken wire (because pigeons can get out of chainlink) and the top is covered in a plastic mesh. I knew I needed something more sturdy before winter but they have been in it for a few months now and things had gone fine. I'm still not positive how the predator got in but I believe it climbed the fence, and got under the netting. I found an area where the ties are broken - it's a small area but I suppose big enough.

    What I find particularly upsetting is that the predator didn't eat hardly anything. Henry, my white hen was entirely intact except that her head had been peeled...it was still there, just naked. Her mate had a small amount of his belly eaten. All the babies had been killed but not eaten at all. Most had some eaten but not much. All my producing hens are gone. Two of the survivors just fledged a couple of weeks ago - one of those is injured.

    I was surmising domestic cat, but I found scat and it didn't look like it was from a cat. Oh, when picking up all the dead bodies I also found a mutilated mouse body in the outdoor run. Also not eaten.

    It was bad enough to lose so much of the flock, and almost all of the pretty colours, but with it seeming to have just been done for sport, that really sucks. We have racoons, skunks and fishers. I've seen a lynx once, not sure how prevalent they are. Aside from a tiny tear in the mesh there is no other sign of where it got in.

    I'll be putting dog kennel chainlink panels on the top of the pen before I release the survivors from the shed, they are safely locked in. Poor things are completely freaked out.

    Thanks.

    Donna
     
  2. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    Oh Donna, I am so sorry this has happened!! I don't have much experience with preditors, but I am sure someone will come along with more information about what your preditor could be. What ever it is, it will probably be back.

    --Bird
     
  3. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Wow, thats HORRIBLE! You say you have fishers?? That would be MY guess. They are good climbers...and will kill everything they can before being disturbed. UGH!! I say...get a live trap, and some canned cat food. Catch that darned thing...whatever it is. Then do whatever you feel nedded, relocate, or dispose of. Poor things....I hope the rest make it.
     
  4. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2007
  5. goldntoller

    goldntoller Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2007
    Thanks for the site - very interesting! Unfortunately it's been so dry around here that the ground is just rock hard, I didn't find any tracks. The scat looks greasy and not well formed and the smell was awful. It was inside in the fresh shavings.

    I have considered getting a trap and at the suggestion above I did some searching for local sources. I stumbled on the local wild life centre and it seems that trapping and relocating wild animals is illegal in Ontario unless you release them close to where they were trapped...which is pointless. It's also probably illegal to shoot a fisher, I know they can be trapped. 23 were trapped in one winter on a friends property. Thinking about it, I honestly don't think I'd want to live-trap one, their claws and teeth are incredibly scary looking.

    The pen is going to become fort knox by the time I'm done. I sure never want to go through this again...and really don't want it to happen once I have my hens!

    Sadly, I'd just completed the shed renovations and let them into it. They had been living in a much smaller coop inside the dog kennel. I was so excited about "pigeonoppolis" knowing they were going to love it and the new nesting bowls. They only got to enjoy it for a couple of nights.

    Donna
     
  6. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    By fisher do you mean domestic cats that have turned wild? I'm not familiar with this term. I don't know about Canada, but most states in the US allow for the killing of preditors who are killing livestock. The point in trapping your preditor would be so you could kill and bury it. Otherwise it will return time and time again looking for another easy meal. I'm sorry the link wasn't helpful.
     
  7. goldntoller

    goldntoller Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2007
    http://www.mnh.si.edu/mna/image_info.cfm?species_id=152
    Here's
    a link that describes a fisher. I've lived here all my life and had never heard of them until the last few years. The ministry denies having re-introduced them...of course the locals don't believe them. In any case they are very prevalent now and particularly like to eat cats.

    Donna
     
  8. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    Ah! I know them as a Sable. I'm sure your preditor could be one of those. I'm so sorry for your loss. I have a friend who has raised pigeons most of his life and shown all over the country. He has some beauties. Once you've fortified, are you going to replace your beautiful pigeons? Oh, just a thought, you might want to add electric wire to your fort.
     
  9. goldntoller

    goldntoller Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2007
    Yes, I have replacements lined up, but I won't bring them in until I fortify and release the survivors and see how they do. I know the predator will come back. Hopefully I'll be ready for him. Electric fence is a great idea - I'll look into that. Thanks!

    Donna
     
  10. MTchick

    MTchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 2, 2007
    Western Montana
    Fisher are pretty large, really. They are big weasels and thus do have the tendency to kill a lot but eat very little. However, I would think this was actually a smaller type of weasel- like an ermine, or maybe a long tailed weasel. Or a feral domestic cat. The stinky poo suggests some kind of weasel, however, so I think the ermine is a good guess.

    Incidentally, the fisher is reintroducing itself, without our help, all across the US and Canada. This is because the forests have finally regrown from the deforestation of the 1850s-1950s to the point where fishers are spreading back out into their native habitats (this oversimplifies things, of course, but you get the idea). So the fisher probably used to live where you are in the 1800s, got driven out by logging, and now is coming back. Interesting, I think.

    Sorry about your pigeons.

    -MTchick
     

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