Predator ID and deterrent(suspected raccoon)

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Mbean15, Feb 10, 2017.

  1. Mbean15

    Mbean15 Out Of The Brooder

    May 10, 2016
    Hi everyone. I'm in East Texas, recently moved into a home on 2+ acres, partially wooded.
    Thursday was the first day I have ever lost a hen to a predator (except that one time the girls got into the backyard with the dogs)

    I need some help identifying what it was, and then advice on how to get rid of the problem. My initial guess is a raccoon. I don't have any pictures, it was pretty gruesome and I didn't think to take pictures.

    What happened, Thursday morning we left around 10 am, my husband has classes. We returned home around 3pm. The hens are in a shed, in an old metal bar dog kennel, wrapped in wire, as we have only been living there a few days and haven't had a chance to make their run.
    Something pulled the wire around the cage up, grabbed the hen by the face/neck and proceeded to pull her through the kennel with some force. It was not successful, though it did manage to snap her neck.
    I came home, saw she was dead, saw a chunk of feathers (assumed whatever it was pulled her head off) and the hen pulled through the bars up to her shoulders, neck stretched way out, legs tangled in the bars.
    I assumed the predator pulled her head off, it did not. There was no blood, no puncture wounds, no bite marks, almost like a kid playing a prank. Just grabbed her, yanked as hard as they could to kill her, then left.

    I am concerned if this is a raccoon, because she was killed in the middle of the day, in 85 degree weather in broad daylight. I know they are not typically day time killers.

    I have two pyrenees that are indoor house pets that I feel like are about to get promotions, and in an hour I am picking up a rooster. Because it is better protection than the nothing they have now.

    Is it legal in Texas to kill raccoons? Do I have to trap it and call animal control? I know if it is a raccoon, it will continue to come back. Our neighbors have a large number of chickens and roosters and said they haven't had issues with predators.

    All the girls are in the house for now until I can find a way to secure their safety. I have heard electric wiring around the bottom of their cage and a predator light for night, but since whatever this is, is obviously coming around during the day, what can i do past the dogs and the rooster to protect my flock from Mr. Murder?
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Rooster won't help, hot wire will...and dogs should, if they don't want to eat the chickens too.
    Impossible to tell what it might have been....but sounds like a coon move with those powerful little hand of theirs.
    Coons, and other preds, do hunt during the day if they're hungry enough.
  3. Zoomie

    Zoomie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 6, 2015
    Mora, NM USA
    Coons hunt whenever they feel like it... At least, the coons that I have been around have never read any books about how they should only be about their business at night so they did not know that...

    It does sound like a raccoon. A rooster will not help. A secure and strong fence, with NO weakness at the edges etc, will. It will need to be completely around the chickens. I suggest a double fence, because of the fact that raccoons reach through the fence with their little handy-pandies and grab things. A double fence helps to keep the chickens out of their grasp. We did ours about 3" apart.

    Electricity is also a powerful deterrent. I live WAY out in the sticks and our power is not at all reliable. But, I think there are solar power fencers, so that might help. Have never tried one since it also requires a spare battery to hold the charge during the night, storms and so on.
  4. Mbean15

    Mbean15 Out Of The Brooder

    May 10, 2016
    Well, we picked up a rooster because it can't hurt. Left the dogs out with them, they're not going to bother the chickens at all, hopefully whatever it was comes back for a second snack to a real big, nasty surprise.

    We nicknamed our nuisance Little King Murder Mouth.

    Talking to the neighbor he says possums are more of a pest than raccoons. His advice to us was "good luck".
  5. Mbean15

    Mbean15 Out Of The Brooder

    May 10, 2016
    Hey everyone, wanted to do an update.
    The rooster got himself stuck in the neighbor's yard and we can't get him out. Not really sure where he went. All 3 houses in a row keep chickens, so the search continues.
    The dog though was the best thing we've done for the girls. His instincts hit hard and he is an excellent guardian. Neighbor got raided by stray, roaming dogs, spent half an hour chasing dogs out of her yard with a stick. They took one look at our hens, then the LGD and went the other way. He shares a round water trough with the hens and gets under the shed with them when it gets too hot. I'm not sure why they don't go in the shed but whatever.
    Little king murder mouth has either not returned, or returned to a nasty surprise. No more hens have died a horrible death.

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