Pullets getting killed

BigGameHunter

Hatching
6 Years
Apr 23, 2013
5
0
7
Me and my brother had to get 25 baby chicks for our 4-H project about a month ago. We got Cornish Rocks, Leghorns, and Wyandottes (idk how to spell that lol). The day we got them, one of the Leghorns died from food getting lodged into it's throat (she was gone within 10 minutes after we got home), so we were left with 24. Then Sunday morning, we lost four chickens to a raccoon (we have some proof that it was). They were bitten on their back ends. Me and my dad enclosed any areas that could've let any predator in with fencing wire. But then today, we lost another one, but it couldn't have been a raccoon, it had no way of getting in. Any ideas of what might have killed my girl? Five of our Cornish Rocks were bitten (or something) yesterday, but still alive, and we separated them from the rest. I don't want to lose anymore chickens, so whatever is killing them needs to go. Thanks in advance!!
 

RJSchaefer

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
180
7
88
Rockford, IL
What part of the country are you in? That can play a role in figuring out what the predator was.

From what you describe, if you were in this area, I'd say it sounds like a mink. They are notorious around here for getting into coups, biting or even killing as many birds as they can, and only eating one.

What did the dead bird look like? Was she clawed to death or bitten or did you even find her?

How is your coop constructed?
 

BigGameHunter

Hatching
6 Years
Apr 23, 2013
5
0
7
I live in Northern West Virginia (pretty much back in the sticks lol). I didn't find the recent one that was killed, my brother did, and he buried her before he even told me, so I didn't see her. He's not giving me a straight answer (brothers, what do you expect?), so since the other chicks that were killed were bitten (as my dad tells me), I could only assume this one was bitten too. My avatar is our chicken coop. Me and my dad built it, and we left a long hole along the top of it so that air can get in, but we didn't put up any fencing there until after the first four were killed. And we saw a huge blood stain along the side of the wall, towards the top. I know which end it came in at, because I saw a bunch of scratches and loose pieces of the wall.
 

HeatherEmme

Chirping
6 Years
Apr 4, 2013
148
11
83
we left a long hole along the top of it so that air can get in, but we didn't put up any fencing there until after the first four were killed.
You can't have any holes or openings in the coop that aren't covered with some kind of fencing. Hardware cloth is best. Chicken wire is nothing for a raccoon and weasels can get through the holes. Your latches also need to be top notch as raccoons are super crafty with their hands and can open them. Weasels can get through a 1"opening (I've read). So, really you're going to have to go through that coop from top to bottom and secure any and all holes, cracks, etc. And replace any damaged wood with wood that is sturdy. Same for the run. Otherwise you're going to keep loosing chickens.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
95,334
126,555
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
1/2" x 1/2" hardware cloth attached with screws and washers on any openings in the coop.
Sorry for your losses.
 

RJSchaefer

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
180
7
88
Rockford, IL
1/2" x 1/2" hardware cloth attached with screws and washers on any openings in the coop.
Sorry for your losses.
^^
If a mouse can get through the opening, just assume a weasel can as well.

Also, odd as it sounds, don't underestimate squirrels. If you have a nice big opening (for a squirrel), they'll climb in. And while it might not be bent on harming your chicks, if the chicks get between it and the feed, it will do some damage.

Finally, rats. Rats are the devil.

So yes, go through and ensure there are no spaces. With my "coop" (actually a detached garage), if I can see more than the tiniest sliver of light, I patch.
 

RJSchaefer

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
180
7
88
Rockford, IL
Alright I will definitely try everything ya'll said! How should I get rid of the weasel (if any)?
You really can't, as far as I've been told. You could try trapping it - difficult - or killing it - even harder. Your best bet if dealing with a weasel/mink/etc is to make the coop so strong it just can't get in. If it can't get to the food, eventually it will just go away.
 

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