Predator took all 5 hens last night! I feel horrible!

Curtisclan

In the Brooder
Feb 10, 2020
11
41
28
So sorry for your loss. In my experience when there is no trace of a chicken left , it’s either a fox or coyote.. most likely a coyote.
We just lost all 13 of our chickens in one night to a loose dog. It was devastating.
 

Fluffyflufffluff

Chirping
Premium member
Dec 30, 2019
191
383
86
That's horrible, I'm so sorry! It sounds like you think you might have left the coop door open, but you're not sure? It could be raccoons, they tend to live in suburban areas, and are pretty clever at opening doors and figuring out latches to get at what they want, depending on what type of latch you have. If it's raccoons, maybe get a latch that's more difficult, like a screw gate carabiner?
It might also be an owl - same M.O. as the hawks you've seen in daytime, but they hunt at night. Owls are really quick to grab their prey, but wouldn't be able to open the door, though.
Raccoons tend to kill chickens at the site, and leave gory evidence including bloodstains. Raptors like hawks and owls tend to kill quickly and then airlift their prey away to their nest, leaving nothing but feathers.
Was there any other evidence besides piles of feathers? Any blood or other gory evidence? Piles of feathers and nothing else point to raptors, gory evidence points to mammals.
Is your chicken run closed at the top by wire or netting? Is it closed at the bottom by no-dig hardware cloth?
Sorry to be such a CSI jerk about you losing your friends. Identifying predators can be a real pain, I've lost quite a few to different ones myself. Good luck to you securing your coop.
That is awful, my neighbor is tracking the feathers and so far is a block down. He sees all feathers, no bodies.....
So how are you now? what's your next step? are you still gonna raise chicks... I hope you're, not that discouraged
 

hayley3

Crowing
12 Years
Aug 16, 2007
786
677
276
Southern Indiana
So sorry for your loss. In my experience when there is no trace of a chicken left , it’s either a fox or coyote.. most likely a coyote.
We just lost all 13 of our chickens in one night to a loose dog. It was devastating.
How did that happen with the dogs? I just moved so I am going with an electric fence this time, because people in the country don't care about their dogs and let them roam so they can bother their neighbors and get hit by cars. :mad:
 

PuddleDuckFarmCSA

In the Brooder
Jun 3, 2019
1
1
11
I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Last year I had a fox kill two of my hens and two ducks during the early evening after we'd had tons of rain that enabled it to dig in under my 6' privacy fence. (I know it was a fox because my husband saw it in the yard moments before I got home... he chased it off but didn't realize it had gotten any of my flock.) When I realized what had happened after coming home from work I locked everyone who was left up and was going to take care of the carnage after putting my young son to bed. When I came back out less than an hour later the fox had taken away two of the bodies, including one of a large Pekin duck who probably weighed 10 pounds. I have seen foxes jump over neighbors' 4' fences with ease, so I guess that might be how yours could have gotten in. I would suggest adding some height to the shorter fences if you can. I added a strand of electric fencing wire (like for cattle) on the outside of my fence, 2" from the ground, so that if anything tries to dig in again they will get zapped. I have several neighbors who have had poultry in the past, and I think I'm the only one whose flock hasn't been wiped out by local foxes. I know the electric fencing has saved them. As an aside, I bought holographic silver pinwheels on Amazon and have them spinning along the top of the poultry fence to help deter hawks. So far so good...

Edited to add: I have a 100 pound dog with a doggie door and 24/7 access to the back yard. The poultry yard is within the back yard but has its own separate fencing to keep the dog from hurting the flock. Needless to say, if my dog had been outside the fox would not have entered the poultry yard. Just bad timing.
 

hayley3

Crowing
12 Years
Aug 16, 2007
786
677
276
Southern Indiana
That is what happened to me too...I came home found the bodies, ran to the house and when I came back a mere 10 mins later, the body or bodies were gone. I thought it had been a possum that had drug them off but it makes more sense that the fox returned for his "catch".
 

Curtisclan

In the Brooder
Feb 10, 2020
11
41
28
How did that happen with the dogs? I just moved so I am going with an electric fence this time, because people in the country don't care about their dogs and let them roam so they can bother their neighbors and get hit by cars. :mad:
Same here. There is a major problem with loose dogs in this neighborhood. How you know it’s a dog is when there are just dead bodies everywhere. Not been eaten or carried off. The dogs are only in it for the thrill and they will just keep on killing till there’s none left
 

A & H

In the Brooder
Dec 2, 2019
18
47
39
Nampa Idaho
Have you thought about humans? Like maybe someone came in to your backyard and took your hens and left feathers to make it look like a killing instead of a theft? Idk but some people can be pret ty nasty. Top predator
 

Kittycat313

Hatching
May 30, 2018
2
0
8
Hi Everyone, thank you to everyone at this forum as you have all been so helpful! Every night I have a routine which includes checking on my 5 hens and closing their hutch door. I have done this for 5 years. Last night I am assuming I forgot as I noted the main door open this AM. All of my chickens are gone. There are no bodies, bones, etc. - just piles of feathers. I live in town with 2 sides of 8 foot fence and 2 sides of 4 foot fence. Hawks have been my daytime issues in the past as I lost one of my birds two years ago to a hawk in the daylight. I feel horribly guilty. Does anyone know what predator, in a southeastern PA town would just leave feathers overnight, be able to kill 5 birds, and leave nothing more? There are no gaps in the fence bottom and I have 3 dogs who use my yard to run and play....thank you for any information. I truly appreciate .
 

Kittycat313

Hatching
May 30, 2018
2
0
8
Hi Everyone, thank you to everyone at this forum as you have all been so helpful! Every night I have a routine which includes checking on my 5 hens and closing their hutch door. I have done this for 5 years. Last night I am assuming I forgot as I noted the main door open this AM. All of my chickens are gone. There are no bodies, bones, etc. - just piles of feathers. I live in town with 2 sides of 8 foot fence and 2 sides of 4 foot fence. Hawks have been my daytime issues in the past as I lost one of my birds two years ago to a hawk in the daylight. I feel horribly guilty. Does anyone know what predator, in a southeastern PA town would just leave feathers overnight, be able to kill 5 birds, and leave nothing more? There are no gaps in the fence bottom and I have 3 dogs who use my yard to run and play....thank you for any information. I truly appreciate it!
Hi Everyone, thank you to everyone at this forum as you have all been so helpful! Every night I have a routine which includes checking on my 5 hens and closing their hutch door. I have done this for 5 years. Last night I am assuming I forgot as I noted the main door open this AM. All of my chickens are gone. There are no bodies, bones, etc. - just piles of feathers. I live in town with 2 sides of 8 foot fence and 2 sides of 4 foot fence. Hawks have been my daytime issues in the past as I lost one of my birds two years ago to a hawk in the daylight. I feel horribly guilty. Does anyone know what predator, in a southeastern PA town would just leave feathers overnight, be able to kill 5 birds, and leave nothing more? There are no gaps in the fence bottom and I have 3 dogs who use my yard to run and play....thank you for any information. I truly appreciate it!
Looks like a pack of raccoons. I've done the same thing before. It always seems to be my favorite one too.
 

JetDoc750

In the Brooder
Sep 15, 2018
6
8
17
Goddard, Ks
so sorry for your loss! it has sickened me when i walk out and realize i have forgotten to shut up the chickens! I have had mink take a chicken, do you live near water? but a larger animal seems more likely since all 5 chickens are gone.
no, our house is in the midst of a former wheat field. 14 5 acre lots. But we have heard of a lot of coyote activity from our neighbors. If I ever spot one and I have a clean shot, I will be eliminating those predators.
 
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