Silkie gone. Nothing but feathers :( More raccoons, more deaths.

phoenixbantam

In the Brooder
10 Years
May 19, 2009
77
0
39
West Palm Beach, FL
I can't believe this. I just got my very first hen a week ago, a blue silkie, and she has started to take to me, following me around the yard and such, letting me pick her up, etc.

I haven't built a chicken coop for her yet since I just moved here last week, so she has been sleeping by my swimming pool, in a dog house. My swimming pool is fully fenced with chain link, but apparently that wasn't enough to deter a predator. Whatever it was got past the chain link fence.

This morning I found fresh chicken poop, an egg, and a few feathers, but no chicken. I live on about an acre in south Florida, my yard is fully mowed and my house is in the center of the lot. Whatever got her had to cross the grassy area through the open with no shrubs or tall grass for cover. It has been raining a lot lately and the lake on the vacant property next to me is flooded past the fence and onto my property. I found a handful of feathers under a large tree here floating in the water, a few dry feathers stuck to the fence, and further down the fence another handful of feathers floating under an old boat trailer. There were no feathers in the tree or on the other side of the fence.

I can't find any carcass parts or any other feathers. I am really saddened and confused as to what kind of animal took my little friend. I am worried for my chicks, which I have been keeping on my screened patio in the fenced area, because now I realize they are not safe and whatever took the hen could probably break through the screen or fit through the doggy door.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what this might be, and any ideas how to trap it? I also have several chihuahuas in a chain link kennel on the property and I fear for their safety as well as the chickens.

I would like to trap this predator and make sure it never harms anymore of my little friends.
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Any advice would be appreciated. I am so furious at the predator, and angry at myself for not having the hen in a safer situation.
 
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CallyB57

Songster
10 Years
Apr 27, 2009
516
3
139
Northeast Louisiana
Wow - I can imagine how you feel and I'm so sorry you lost your little pet. They are like babies, I know, and you feel so protective of them. I have 6 Silkies - I don't allow them out of the hen house unless I am sitting right there with them. Yesterday they were walking all over my legs eating raw peanuts that I shelled for them. Maybe you could get a couple rolls of hardware cloth and fashion them a sturdy wooden frame and cover it with that until you get your hen house built. Every day a polka-dotted dog - huge, bigger than the fattest lab I have ever seen - comes to the back of my chicken pen and sniffs around. I hope he does not figure a way to get in to the pen - it's very sturdy and it's about 6' tall and covered with hardware cloth. I still worry he'll figure out some way to get in. My chicks are so used to him coming around that they ignore him. I don't want to kill anyone's pet, but my investment is 'large' for my pocketbook and I am so attached to my chicks now. People don't realize you can love a chicken as much as a dog. Anyway...hope you find what got your little hen - and hope you don't lose any more.
 

Sissy

Songster
12 Years
Jul 18, 2007
2,764
16
191
Sevier county, Tn.
Put out in the holes if you see any
some Juicey fruit gum rolll each piece and toss 2

into the hole i got rid of ground hogs and gophers. so far..
Possems or any othe pest can not digest it and that
ends that. Racoons Not sure of. Iam watch for their remains..I also use
Boric acid powder gets rids of ants and everything else
But my chx are penned in an outside run so they are not
in any danger
except from the pest,
 

Mary Of Exeter

Songster
10 Years
Apr 10, 2009
2,607
41
201
Rowan County, NC
Hawks only leave feathers usually, since most bantams can be carried off by most hawks. If not, you'll find the breast gone. Dogs leave the bodies since the most they normally do is "play" with them, and cats usually leave at least some body parts. Coons may kill several and take the whole bird and eat them at another location, which oppossums kill only what they can eat and eat it where they kill it. Both them and coons like the head especially. Rats get young birds and only take out the crop and soft areas.

So that is a summary of "who dun'it". I say a hawk, most likely a red-tail, got your silkie
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Edit: It's always possible a coon or possum may have got it, since you said there were feathers trailed along the fence (they're master climbers) and such. But that can come from hawk attacks too, since the chicken probably tried to get away, pulling more feathers loose.
 
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phoenixbantam

In the Brooder
10 Years
May 19, 2009
77
0
39
West Palm Beach, FL
Thanks for your suggestions.

I am setting a havahart trap tonight. Tomorrow I am building the most predator-proof coop I possibly can. Hopefully I will catch something and avenge the killer of my dear silkie
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I'll let you guys know if I catch anything...

What do you guys do with the raccoons you catch in the traps? Shoot them? Release them? Something else entirely? I'm not really sure what to do with it if/when I catch it.
 

Bizzybirdy

Songster
11 Years
Apr 14, 2008
592
32
151
North of Nashville
>>What do you guys do with the raccoons you catch in the traps? Shoot them? Release them? <<

Against the law in most places to release them elsewhere. Besides you just give the problem to someone else, only worse as the racoon is then trap shy.

I SHOOT them. Have lost too many of my wonderful chickens to racoons and possums. Now the chickies are all put up in their "fortress" houses at night.

But a sorry racoon killed my pet cat last week when it couldn't find a chicken "dinner". I set a trap and shot it the next night.
rant.gif
HATE racoons...they are soooo mean!
 

AHappychick

Wanna-be Farmer
11 Years
Dec 16, 2008
5,772
42
299
westchester
yes hot wire, probably a coon that took your silkie, they dont need cover cause they are not scared of anything and have no problems climbing fences.

sorry for your loss.
 

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