Please help---mystery predator ravaged my little flock. I'm devastated

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Jajika, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. Jajika

    Jajika Songster

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    I came home from work today to find four of my six chickens killed by something. I didn't see them this morning before going to work as I leave early.

    I'd lost two of my eight to old age. My chickens normally live a safe, long life. I thought I had done everything to protect them from Raccoons and hawks, the main predators in my area....San Francisco Bay Area. I live in Palo Alto on the Peninsula.

    However, something got in there either during the night or early this morning. My husband and I never heard a thing and the chicken yard is not that far from our home.

    Four had their heads torn up and part of their gut opened up. How two survived, I don't know. The feathers are about 30 feet apart.

    I have not had a predator attack in 12 years!!!!

    I have fending down to the ground. Red flashing lights everywhere. One clue: When I lost Olivia, I buried her five feet deep in the chicken yard. Two days later I found her body dug up and partially eaten. I think this is what happened to another old lady I lost about two months ago. We couldn't figure it out.

    Here is my question: Do Possum do this kind of thing. Do they dig from underground and will they attack and kill chickens?

    Would it have been a Possum that dug up Olivia and then came back?

    If anyone has any insight, I'd appreciate it.

    I locked up the other two tight in the large coop tonight. I hope this was not a daytime kill?

    I'm heartbroken and feel like I failed to keep my chickens safe. Awful.....these girls were about 7 to 9 years old and my pets.

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014
  2. SpringPeeper

    SpringPeeper Songster

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    The recent attack- heads torn open, guts partially eaten- sounds like it could very well be a possum. The digging out a deeply buried body does not. Opossums will definitely dig a bit, mostly to get under fencing, but they aren't great at it and I would be surprised if one would dig down five feet. I'd suspect an opportunistic dog for that one, but it could have been something else.

    You protected them for nice long happy lives. It's terrible a predator found an opportunity to get to them. Nobody is perfect.
     
  3. Jajika

    Jajika Songster

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    Hi and thanks for getting back to me so quickly.

    I'm so stymied.

    Regarding dogs, we don't have any dogs around here and there is no evidence of a dog getting into the chicken yard. I'm guessing it could have been a raccoon as well.

    Just don't know. In your experience, do raccoon's do the same damage?
     
  4. SpringPeeper

    SpringPeeper Songster

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    I've never (knock on wood) had a raccoon go for my flock. I know they usually kill multiple birds, but I think their 'trademark' is eating mainly the crop. Not all animals follow the pattern, though. Not sure on the raccoon digging up the hen.
     
  5. Jajika

    Jajika Songster

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    Hi SpringPeeper:

    Thanks for the note.
    ]
    My gut feeling is that this attack was from a burrowing animal. I don't know why. Been researching possuum. I took pictures, but don't know if anyone wants to see them? I sent them to NiteGuard because they really know about predators and I'm a long term customer of theirs. Ever since I got their lights....12 years ago..I never had another raccoon attack.

    Is it the change in weather patterns. I've had all kinds of crazy behavior this year because of the drought and early warm weather this year.

    Ugh...I'm just terrified now.
     
  6. Jajika

    Jajika Songster

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    Does anyone want to see pictures? Would it help identify the killer? I won't post them unless you ask.
     
  7. starsevol

    starsevol In the Brooder

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    I wouldn't mind seeing the pictures, but I don't think I would be of much help. I have only had chickens since May 18. I am so sorry for your loss. I know if I lost any of mine that way I would be inconsolable.
     
  8. golly molly

    golly molly In the Brooder

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    Hi I am and am a new member. Monday night I had a hen killed and a rooster and another hens head torn up so badly that I guess I will have to have to have them euthanized today. The culprit was a raccoon. He was still in the coup. My roosters head is badly torn up and his beak is split on the lower part. the hens beak is totally shredded and no nostrils left. she eats from the syringe. I got in touch with new Bolton and they said the beak will not grow and the best I can do is not let them suffer. Please keep watch for a raccoon. I was told they most always attack the head. then eat stomach area. Hope you catch the bugger. Ours gave us the slip.After what I saw what he did to my hens I feel no mercy for him. I cant kill the chickens though so will have to take them to be done. GOOD luck . it is heartbreaking. Mine are standard Cochins and they follow me around when I let them out.
     
  9. Jajika

    Jajika Songster

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    It's heartbreaking...and violent.

    I locked my two remaining up last night in both coops. I put huge round pavers in front of the doors and blocked any openings. As they were sort of strangers to each other...one the newbie and the older the lead hen, they didn't get along. So I took newbie to the small coop. Blocked it up as well.

    This morning I found the new coop door, paver and bricks torn down and nothing left but feathers of her. I have to tell I screamed in shock. I felt like my heart would burst through my throat. How the hell could this creature tear that barrier apart. The big coop, and Chloe are still OK.

    One left out of my entire flock.

    Like you, I can't put my chickens down either. I'm a suburban backyard chicken Mom and not adept at doing the deed. You really need to know how to put the down fast and efficiently. I'm sure I would botch it up and cause suffering, so I go in and have them euthanized. Kinder, I think.

    Anyway. I now this this is a Raccoon, and the lights no longer help. Putting a trap out tonight.

    I'm exhausted from grief.
     
  10. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Songster

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    I dunno, unless your coop door was a lot flimsier than I'm guessing, that doesn't sound like a raccoon to me. Racoons are strong for their size, but they're not going to tear a door off its hinges.


    Coop picture maybe, so we have some idea of what you're talking about?
     

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