Returning to Coop / Predators

KF5IWR

Hatching
7 Years
Apr 9, 2012
6
0
7
Our coop sits right in front of a small grove of trees/brush. Our chickens would go in to roost every night until we found a rat snake in the coop the other week. After that, only 1 or 2 hens would roost in the coop and the others would roost in the trees right next to the coop. We tried "resetting" them by keeping them locked in the coop for 3 days straight and it helped a little (now 3-4 hens roost in the coop and the rest still roost in the trees).

After that we noticed a hen missing in the morning. So we tried again for another 3 day lock down. After they came out, same story. 3 or 4 roost in the coop, the rest in the trees.

We started noticing chickens missing in the morning again. I'm thinking its a fox but not positive yet.

All that to say:

1) Would moving the coop away from the trees and locking them in for a few days help encourage the hens to start roosting in the coop again or do you think they will just flock to the trees anyway?

2) Would moving the coop away from the trees help deter predators since they would have to walk across a small but wide open field?

Other than shoot the predator or keep them enclosed at all times, any other advice?
Thanks!
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
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St. Louis, MO
I think moving the coop, if possible, is a good idea. If they disappear overnight, I'd think owl or raccoon. Foxes aren't as good at climbing trees depending on the tree. If there's remains, perhaps a possum.

Throw scratch into the pen/coop just before dusk and lock them in.
 
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KF5IWR

Hatching
7 Years
Apr 9, 2012
6
0
7
No remains that I have found yet.
A big pile of feathers under where he was roosting last night. No body parts though, just feathers.
And a trail of feathers from there to across the fence, past a dirt mound, and then I lost the trail but I'm assuming into the tree line. I'll have to look again today.

My 3 guesses are fox, coon, or bobcat. Only reason I was thinking fox is because of the trail but I guess any of those 3 could drag them off. Last night was our buff orpington rooster.
 

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