Predator attacking in the rain, what can it be?!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by 77horses, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. 77horses

    77horses ◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊

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    [CONFIDENTIAL]
    Alright so maybe some of you heard the story of Pumpkin, my poor buff Bantam Cochin hen who was killed by an unknown predator on October 6th, 2010 (exactly 3 weeks ago). If not, here's the link to the thread: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=407228
    *Please note: Then that happened, it was foggy and raining out all day.*


    _____________
    Now, what happened last night; All was normal. I went to bed around 11pm. Then, at around 12:53am, I was awoken because my parents said that they had heard a cat screaming outside. We have a young cat, named Nadia, who was spayed a couple days ago, and so she has been kept inside after her operation to let her rest. Well, she somehow sneaked outside without anyone noticing. We searched around the house to make sure that it could be her, and sure enough she wasn't inside anywhere. We thought that maybe it was a fisher. I've heard that they make screaming sounds at night that can be mistaken for a lady or a cat screaming, because that's what it sounds like.

    And so we went out looking for her. *Please note that at the time, it was raining outside. It was like the same exact conditions as the night when Pumpkin was killed, three weeks beforehand; raining, foggy, and wet.* We walked around the woods, calling Nadia, until we heard her faint meowing. We followed it, calling her over and over again, and she kept meowing to us. But she wouldn't come to us, oddly. Finally, we followed her meowing to a place in the woods where it sounded like she was right there somewhere. But she wasn't anywhere in sight on the ground. We could hear her meowing as if she was right in front of us, but we couldn't see her. Then, we thought about the trees. And, sure enough, when we looked up, there was Nadia! She was approximately over 10 feet up in a tall oak tree, which was right on the perimeter of the woods around the house. She was up in the tree, which pretty much was so tall that it had no branches on it except for one that she was sitting on, so we got a ladder and called her until she started to climb slowly down. It was too high, actually for the ladder to reach her, so we had to wait until she climbed down a little ways before we could reach her and bring her down. She was unharmed, though a little shaken up and she seemed happy to be back inside when we brought her back inside the house. I kept her in my bedroom for the night and she's acting like her normal self again today.

    So, the question is, what caused Nadia to scream as if she was being attacked and then climb over 10 feet up a tree in the middle of the night?! I, personally, think that it was a fisher. And I think that it was the same predator that killed Pumpkin. Whatever it was, Nadia was able to escape from and quickly climb up the tree. I think she had been wandering around the perimeter of the woods, like she always does at night, and something, such as a fisher, tried to attack her. I have heard of fishers attacking cats. (From Wikipedia: "In recent years there have been several reports of fishers attacking small dogs and cats and in at least one case, a small child.")

    Now, what seems strange is the connection between the weather conditions between the time when Pumpkin was killed, and now when Nadia was obviously scared by something. Scared enough to run up over 10 feet in a tree, that is! The weather was very similar, and I think somehow it's related to how and when the unknown predator hunts. Either that or it was a complete coincidence that both incidents happened with the same exact weather conditions. The only thing is is that this time, it was at a different time that this happened. Pumpkin was killed sometime from 2:30pm to 5:00pm, while it was still light out. And, like I said, what happened last night happened around 12:53 in the morning, when it obviously was still dark out. But still, the weather conditions were identical.


    Anyone have any ideas? The chickens are fine, but this has me really worried. It took me a while to fall back asleep last night, because I was worried that whatever tried to attack Nadia might come back and try to get into the chicken coop. [​IMG]

    Thanks and any thoughts/ideas are appreciated! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2010
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    All predators will hunt in the rain if they are hungry enough. I doubt that it was a fisher. A fisher would have followed her up the tree and killed her. I'm more inclined to think a coyote, fox, or dog since she found safety in the tree. I think it's time for her to become an inside cat if you want her to survive. Good luck- the predator will return.
     
  3. MMPoultryFarms

    MMPoultryFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2010
    Okarche Oklahoma
    . I have no idea what your land is like meaning are you by the forest or just woods Sounds to me like you are dealing with a red fox. However you have several large cats in new england. I also believe that a cat species would follow her up a tree to finish the kill. You were very descriptive But theres still this big empty Hole there of what Kind of wild life you actually face. Coyotes have Migrated there so thats a possibility. Fishers and lots of weasel family type pedators live there. Theres also the black bear. Bobcats, racoons. If I had to guess only from what I read I would have to lean on the Red fox. However if this cat was young anything could have startled her up that tree even her own shadow. You said its wet there so you might go back to that tree follow your path home and look for tracks in the mud take a picture of either that or any odd feces you see and I am sure someone here can help you identify that pesky predator.
     
  4. 77horses

    77horses ◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊

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    [CONFIDENTIAL]
    Quote:I'm thinking a fox, too. Maybe even a skunk? We do have a skunk around here that has sprayed before and it's possible it killed Pumpkin. Could it have tried to attack Nadia, too?

    And yes, for the time being she is a house cat. No more going out at night, especially. Since she was spayed recently, she needs to stay indoors for at least a couple weeks just in case, but after that we will only be able to keep her inside at night because we have two dogs who go out the doggy door throughout the day. It's impossible to keep her inside during the day, unless we want to keep the dogs in all day too (which we can't do) or keep her locked up in a room in the house all day. So, I think she should be fine during the day, but like I said no more wandering around outside at night for her.


    And I know that any predator will hunt in the rain if it's hungry enough. But I'm talking about specifically only hunting mainly during rainy days. October 6th and this week have been the only two weeks this month when there have been extended periods of rain, and when it has been foggy/cloudy/wet outside. And it's the only time something strange has happened.
     
  5. 77horses

    77horses ◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊

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    [CONFIDENTIAL]
    Quote:Around here, we are surrounded by tall fir trees and dense forests. Fishers have been spotted nearby the property in the past, and so have foxes. Skunks have been on the property before. Other cats who live in nearby houses also sometimes visit us, but have never been a problem. Coyotes are definitely around here, along with white tailed deer. There are tons of gray squirrels, chipmunks, etc. Possibly bears too, but I've never seen any nor have I seen any evidence of them being nearby.
    The only thing is, while I know these animals are lingering around nearby, I've never seen any. I've never seen any foxes, minks, weasels, fishers, bobcats, coyotes, etc. on the property. Squirrels and deer, yes, and once in a while a stray neighborhood dog would be walking down the road, but never anything that bad. I'm thinking that maybe I should get a night camera that records stuff at night when it detects movement, or takes pictures. That way I can figure out what I'm dealing with here.


    Thanks everyone!
     
  6. 77horses

    77horses ◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊

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    [CONFIDENTIAL]
    And also, somewhere I read that foxes often hunt in dusky, foggy, wet weather. Not sure if that's true though.
     
  7. aprophet

    aprophet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:around here this is indicative of a bobcat, grey fox when they are fighting have a fairly high pitched scream especially when they are losing when they are attacking they have more of a guttural growl. here where I am when we start losing small dogs and cats we look for coyotes
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2010
  8. Sir Birdaholic

    Sir Birdaholic Night Knight

    The only one that hunts in the rain is......BIGFOOT & he's at your window! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  9. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know but I'd be paranoid when the rains come!!! Get the critters in!!!
     
  10. 77horses

    77horses ◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊

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    Quote:Yep, that's what I've been doing. Ever since Pumpkin was killed, I haven't let the chickens out once to free range at all. They've been kept locked up in their coop whenever I'm gone, and only when I'm home and able to check on them is when they can be let out into their outside caged run area. So far, nothing has bothered them since then except for gray squirrels raiding their corn during the day. [​IMG]
     

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