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roofed run, headless chicken

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by danbaum, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. danbaum

    danbaum In the Brooder

    Oct 14, 2009
    We have a secure coop and a run with a chicken wire roof and the wire buried all around. There are no signs of digging or tears in the wire. Yet one of our young buff orpingtons was found with its head torn off. No other damage to the chicken, and no sign of the head. The chicken wire has two-inch openings; could something small enough to get through that opening have caught and decapitated one of my young birds? I also have some older hens in the run; one of them couldn't (wouldn't) have done this, would it? Anybody have any idea what might have done this?

  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Don't know what grabbed your bird, but yes, a two inch opening is easily large enough for an animal such as a raccoon or whatever to grab a chicken's neck or head and try to pull it through, which would decapitate the bird. I think that's part of the reason so many people suggest nailing on hardware cloth around the bottom two or three feet of the runs...
  3. Are you in an area that has minks or weasels? i've heard a mink can slip through a very small hole.
  4. twistedpickle

    twistedpickle In the Brooder

    Jun 16, 2009
    sorry to hear about your buff , here is my guess
    racoons will reach through the fence, and they like the head. Now that they have found a meal they/it will be back. trap it or shoot it, have had this happen to my flock before. good luck
  5. danbaum

    danbaum In the Brooder

    Oct 14, 2009
    thank you both for such quick replies. we have foxes and raccoons aplenty, but have never heard of weasels or minks. something else to worry about....
  6. rachelbinnc

    rachelbinnc In the Brooder

    Aug 11, 2009
    Durham, NC
    So sorry to hear about your bird! [​IMG] It sounds like a raccoon to me. They are quite strong and can reach through fairly narrow openings to attack chickens. I had a batch of 6 six-week-olds that were devoured by a raccoon through the one inch openings in a wire dog crate. It was horrible. My chicken coop is now covered from top to bottom (with a buried apron) in half-inch hardware cloth. You can get it in rolls at home depot or lowes in the gardening section. Another thing to keep in mind is that, once a predator finds your chickens, it will probably come back again. You might want to get that hardware cloth up soon!

    All the best,

  7. Keara

    Keara Songster

    Sep 24, 2009
    I've had weasles do this kind of damage. You do not see them often, but my dog found one once, so that is how I know they are here.

  8. Bizzybirdy

    Bizzybirdy Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    North of Nashville
    Racoons will reach through even 1" wire and decapitate a chicken. Happened here. Now I have sheet metal tied onto the chain link and a hot wire around the outside.

    It will be back! so prepare yourself. [​IMG]
  9. gsim

    gsim Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    I used 6 ft tall welded wire fencing set in cement. I then put 2 ft tall roll of chicken wire around perimeter inside to keep the chooks from poking their heads thru to nibble grass. Finished it with a 5-mile capacity 4 KV fence charger with 4 courses of h ot wire around perimeter and gate.

    I know of a guy who witnessed two coons tag team his 8 ft wide covered run, one on each side. They took turns alternately stampeding and reaching thru to grab on opposite sides and got 3 before he got there, in broad daylight. He will return you can be sure. Fence-chargers are cheap to operate at under a dollar a year. You could do the whole pen for around $100, insulators, wire, 5-mile charger. Trap is a good idea too. Bait with marshmallows.
  10. newchickmom09

    newchickmom09 Songster

    Jul 15, 2009
    I agree with everyone else when they say a coon. If it was then he will be back, so prepare yourself.

    A friend of mine has a fully covered chicken run with chicken wire. She woke up to see a chicken hanging from the roof and it was pretty mutalated. A raccoon was able to grab the chicken at the bottom from the outside and climb up the side to the top of the enclosure while holding on to that chicken the entire time. It probably thought that he could get the chicken out at the top. The coon sat on top of the enclosure and eat the chicken through the fence. [​IMG]

    Tricky and smart those coons are. She has two large bullmastiffs that watch over her animals all night but the coons have figured they can go to the coop on one side that the dogs can't get to.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2009

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