Predator problem?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by CrzyCknLady, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. Human

    9 vote(s)
    60.0%
  2. Fox

    1 vote(s)
    6.7%
  3. Opossum

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Raccoon

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Other

    5 vote(s)
    33.3%
  1. CrzyCknLady

    CrzyCknLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2012
    I am looking for opinions. In the last 3 months, I have lost 19 hens and I have no clue how. I thought it was a fox because I have seen a fox near the coop but now I'm not so sure. My coop is in an area that is wooded behind it but open into our yard in the front. The woods themselves aren't more than 25' deep and behind that is a chain-link fence that borders a school yard.

    Out of the 19 hens that have disappeared, they have all gone in batches - this week it was 4 at once. One time, it was 3, once it was 5, once two.....it's never just one a night. In the evening we do let the chickens out into the yard inside an area that has 4' high wooden snow fencing so they can forage for bugs in the grass. I thought this was when they were disappearing so we stopped doing that temporarily and yet a couple still disappeared. Their run is pretty secure - nothing can dig under and get in as we're on bedrock and I dug down to that (anywhere from 3" to 8" and placed hardware cloth in the ground. My coop is very very secure so I know nothing is getting inside and getting the coop......unless it's a human.

    Not once when the chickens have disappeared has there been even so much as a feather. I spent an hour walking in the "woods" today looking for any trace of the chickens - like where there is a small gap under the school fence, along the river edge (we live next to a ravine basically - school one side, ravine another), etc. and no where, not in one single spot outside of the run or fenced in grassy area, did I find a single feather. Now, in the woods there is this low pine crap that everything gets stuck to so if a chicken were to be dragged off, there is a high probability that at least one or two feathers got stuck to something - but there is nothing. These things have disappeared without so much as a trace. Inside the fenced area, there is a feather here or a feather there but they look normal like the usual hen who was mounted losing a feather or two roosters chasing each other, etc. Nothing, and I mean nothing, indicates any sort of foul play in any area I checked today - and I went quite a distance looking for evidence and couldn't find anything.

    I'm seriously wondering if someone is coming in and stealing a couple of chickens here and there. The only ones who have gone missing are laying hens - and one pre-laying hen. I have 4 roosters and not one of those has ever disappeared (as much as I wish one would). Has anyone ever heard of someone stealing chickens here and there or would it be more of a "come and steal them all" kind of thing? I know a woman about 30 minutes from here had 3/4 of her flock stolen a couple of years ago in the middle of the night so it does happen......I don't know if I'm just crazy thinking it's a human or I have an excellent predator who leaves no traces..... What do you think?
     
  2. Chickmagnet36

    Chickmagnet36 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 14, 2012
    Southern Massachusetts
    If it were me, I would set up one of those game cameras to try and catch your thief on film, if that is not feasible, then I would at least put a padlock on the coop access door(s).
     
  3. CrzyCknLady

    CrzyCknLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2012
    I've got big plans for tonight. [​IMG] I've actually got a padlock on the door - but I use it mostly to keep the door shut - I've never latched it because it never once occurred to me that it could be a human until today.....

    We're going to put the trail cam back out. My husband had actually purchased a home alarm system because we wanted to put sensors on the shed and garages but the first sensor is going on the chicken coop. We have a security camera on the garage that I want to turn around to face the coop as well - although, with it being dark out there, I don't know if it'll pick up anything. I am bound and determined to catch the thief - part of me really hopes it is human and perhaps they have been stealing my hens for their own flock. My favorite hen went missing about a month back and I'd give anything to get her back.......I'm just totally ticked today because now the hens that I hatched out that just started laying are turning up missing - including the olive eggers I paid a lot of money for fertilized eggs to get......
     
  4. Mac14

    Mac14 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 21, 2012
    Northern California
    Could it be some kids daring each other to steal the chickens? That was a top of the head guess.
     
  5. tatertot

    tatertot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 20, 2013
    if your coop is secure with no way for a fox coin or hawk to gain entertainment...yeah I'd say some one or someones opening the doors and stealing your chickens...I'd set up a motion night cam and put an end to the mystery...and have someone pay for your losses...if it were a fox you'd have dig places...hawks and owls fly but they too need a way inside...I know a lady who had 60 chickens stole in one night...that's 150.00 to 300.00 per laying hens...cameras..motion
    Lights..a smile your on camera sign...padlock the coop and run..gotta big dog you can borrow...LOL...I hope you can solve this mystery soon...keep us posted
     
  6. tatertot

    tatertot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 20, 2013
    Id say its a small grouping of maybe three...to five..teens perhaps...boys...yeah maybe to build a flock or worse...around what time do they go missing? Put some of those solar lights you can get at Walmart to shed some light for your camera...I hope you catch the thrives and get your flock back...quarentine if you do
     
  7. theduckgirl4110

    theduckgirl4110 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 16, 2013
    Hope you figure this out! teen boys are the worst!! :) I would put a bunch of noisy bells on the inside of the door coming from the outside. When the door opens and the bells fall..........
     
  8. AK Baha

    AK Baha Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 10, 2013
    Anchorage, Alaska.
    Good idea to put the trail cam out. Please keep us updated when you find out what is getting them.
     
  9. smurphy2000

    smurphy2000 New Egg

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    Sep 11, 2013
    They have battery operated door alarms at home-depot or Wal mart for not much money. You get 3 or 4 for $20. One part goes on the frame and then one part goes on the door. When the connection breaks they go off. You can swtich between chime and siren. Though if you have neighbors and your gate doesn't latch tight I would choose the chime. Still loud enough to hear. my neighbor is a few hundred yards away and they can hear mine and call to see what is going on.
     
  10. tatertot

    tatertot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 20, 2013
    That sounds good...but the noisier the better..if you trust your neighbors tell them what's up...even they can make their presence known when the alarm sounds..an added bonus...extra eyes ears and mouth...to catch them....put up tripwires and pie tins...LOL..send the punks running with skid marks in their shorts...YES TEEN BOYS ARE THE WORST..AND VERY DISRESPECTFUL
     

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