Quick - something killed one of our birds, it's past my bedtime, what do I do next?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Dave Mueller, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. Dave Mueller

    Dave Mueller New Egg

    Dec 15, 2015
    HI All, I'm the DH. I'm an engineer, not a farmer. Something got into our barn tonight (second night in a row), and killed a hen. It's way past my bedtime. The hen was still warm when I found it about 90 minutes ago. What's the bare minimum I can do to make it safe to eat so I can get to bed (I get up before 5AM)?

    I've read 1000 opinions in the past hour, all different. I was always told you have to gut/clean/eviscerate animals asap. It's below 40 degrees outside. Can I hang it by it's feet until tomorrow night? What about the one killed last night, that's been in the barn since then (temp never got above 50 today)?

    I'd like to not get my hands in the gooey parts this late at night. I saw that some people just peel the skin and cut the meat off the carcass.

    If it matters, the predator just ate the heads and necks. Nowhere near as messy as I thought it would be, no blood splatters or pools. I did make two chalk outlines though.

    So, if I want to salvage something edible, what do I do now?

  2. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 21, 2015
    No where Nebraska
    Well my first thought was no. But after consulting my husband he says if you gut it you should be ok.
    I would say your bigger issue is you need to secure your barn. I use my barn for wintering chickens too, so I understand how hard this can be. The best idea is to create a "secure" room. We had one area that was seperate from the rest of the barn. We covered that area with chicken wire, need to change it to hardware cloth, over the wood. We made certain the whole room was without even the smallest whole, even the ceiling. I would put your birds in such a room overnight and try a snap trap to get the predator. Then as you can secure the rest of the barn.
  3. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Sounds like a possum. Your best bet is to split the skin right up the middle of the belly/breast, pull back the skin enough to remove the breast fillets, thighs and legs and toss the rest. I wouldn't touch the other carcass...too long, too warm, already starting to rot.

    I'd not leave it with the guts in it at all if you intend to do something with the carcass at a later time. 40-50s is not cold enough to preserve anything for safe eating, particularly with the bacteria introduced by your predator's mouth and the rotting guts inside.
  4. Dave Mueller

    Dave Mueller New Egg

    Dec 15, 2015
    Thanks for the replies, folks. I tossed the birds. Lost a 4 of our 10 birds in as many days. Sunday afternoon, I found a mink living in a piece of drain pipe in an empty stall. Took a few shots as it ran away with a .22, hopefully it got the message. If not, we stocked up on traps and we're doing a lot of Googling to figure out how best to bait it.

    Merry Christmas,
  5. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 27, 2013
    Northern Wisconsin
    Set traps around the pipes he's living in. Shooting at it probably didn't deter it if it's been getting free meals. Even if the mink isn't your recent offender it needs to be removed. Mink like weasel are known to kill every bird it can get a hold of, they drink the blood just like the weasel. If you want to try to bait it I'd suggest some liver, it's a bloody meat they should go after it, although I'd you have access to some muskrat carcases that's good too. I assume you have water nearby? You need a good tight coop to keep out weasel and mink.

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