Six free range chickens killed.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by marathongeezer, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. marathongeezer

    marathongeezer New Egg

    2
    0
    9
    Nov 5, 2014
    Ocala Fl
    I decided to raise chickens on my daughters advice. She had free range chickens in Connecticut and assured me they seldom lost a bird. So, wife and I got 2 Rhode Island Reds and 2 roosters. A week later added 2 Buff Orpingtons. They were fine for a few weeks, then we left the house for a couple of days, came back and all 4 chickens were dead, 4 separate piles of feathers strewn around. Two blond piles and two red piles (they hung around with their own) A Web search suggests fox or coyote attack, both of which are in Florida where we live. A few days go by, and I'm still not recovered emotionally from the chicken deaths. I went out for a short run, (I run a lot) and came back 35 minutes later. No roosters in sight. Walked the 3 acres and found 2 sites of feathers spread around. So, all 6 of my chickens are now gone. I had named all 6 of them and got very attached to them, starting to see personalities traits in each bird. I really vested all my hopes into the roosters once the chickens were gone, and now they're gone to the great chicken coop in the sky. Wife and I are heartbroken, don't know what to do. I now have 2 new coops, food and supplys, etc and no chickens. I don't want to go through this again. Just sharing my misery. I can't do this again, too sad for this 68 year old man who seems to be getting melancholy in his old age. Thanks for listening.
     
  2. Peep_Show

    Peep_Show Overrun With Chickens

    4,446
    714
    306
    Mar 14, 2010
    Corrales, NM
    Foxes or coyotes will take the birds. Sounds like dogs.
     
  3. threescompany

    threescompany Chillin' With My Peeps

    549
    269
    168
    Aug 3, 2014
    So sorry you lost your flock. I only have three and will be so sad if something happens to them. I only let them free range with supervision and not for long. Folks laugh at me but that is ok. We have foxes, coyotes, possums, skunks, raccoons, hawks that pose a threat as well as dogs and cats wandering around. Hope you don't give up--start a new flock---they are just a joy to have. Best wishes.[​IMG]
     
  4. Peep_Show

    Peep_Show Overrun With Chickens

    4,446
    714
    306
    Mar 14, 2010
    Corrales, NM
    Of course, you could always have varmint proof runs attached to your coops, too. A pound of nails is an easy preventative to a ton of heartbreak.

    I am sorry for your loss. My condolences as I know your birds brought you lots of joy. When I've lost a pet I've found the best way to honor their memory is to give another pet (or batch of pets) a shot at a worthy home. New chicks would be lucky indeed.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  5. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,426
    299
    198
    Jul 4, 2014
    Maine
    I'm so sorry about your flock!!
     
  6. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

    5,291
    626
    318
    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    So so sorry for your losses. I am not an advocate of free-ranging, supervised or not. Please don't give up on keeping chickens. I'm a 70-year-old gal and am so enjoying the company they provide me. Build yourself a predator-proof chicken run off your coop...you'll be so glad you did.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    X2. I free ranged my first flocks when I first started keeping chickens, um, lets just say many years ago lol. It wasn't long before the local wildlife found my small flocks and I realized if I wanted my birds alive I'd have to change my ways. And where I live now....to many roaming dogs not to mention infested with coyotes. So, my birds have spacious and secure coops/runs and they also have access to a securely fenced pasture as well. This keeps them close to home as well as behind a fence complete with hot wire. Haven't lost a bird to a predator in many years.

    So don't give up. You had a crummy start but now you know what you have to do different. Put up a good, secure run, maybe run some hot wire around it, and try it again. Bad things happen no matter what you do, a predator gets in, birds get sick and die or accidents happen, you name it. There've been times when I've been ready to throw in the towel too. But I find that the enjoyment I get from raising chicks and keeping my little flocks of layers outweighs the crummy times.
     
  8. pigpen

    pigpen Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    22
    Apr 12, 2014
    maine
    I'll agree with the above...build a secure run and try again. I've been in your shoes...lost my entire flock this past spring to a neighbors dog...started again with chicks...then lost four more to a hawk this fall and all four of our guineas to a fox...I felt like giving up, but decided to keep trying. Built a 7 foot tall fence, buried a foot in the ground with stones all around, and poultry netting over the top. We haven't had any problems since.
     
  9. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    4,511
    179
    291
    Jan 27, 2007
    BOCOMO

    Can take awhile to reestablish some gumption after such a loss, but don't call it quits. Definitely look to constructing predator proof runs (electricity is very good), there are many threads about how to do so (advanced search is quite useful). Apparently you all have bobcats (as well as the canids & raccoons) so "electrified" 6ft 1"x2". welded wire fencing is probably a good idea. We only let ours free range when we are here, out-of-doors and armed (in the woods).

    You might check the where am I where are you subforum (maybe a local member has some pullets): https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/26/where-am-i-where-are-you
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
  10. growsaposy

    growsaposy Out Of The Brooder

    48
    7
    26
    Jun 15, 2014
    This is such a sad thing to have to go through. My husband and I (76-74yrs) have lost pets and it seems to just knock you down.Almost like kids. But if you really like chickens don't give up! We live in No. California, and have every predator but eagles. Even mountain lions! You just have to plan with security in mind. You have alligators? First maybe start with 3 chickens and Roo because you can enclose them a little easier while you're gone. We have a covered run, not very big, but extremely secure. Would suggest something like that. We have reflectors which are supposed to keep raccoons away. I guess they work, raccoons come here but not near chickens! Follow the advice on this site. It's really helped us. We have an automatic door (soon going on the market cuz guys need to tinker with stuff! and he modernized the automation) Don't let your girls free range while you are gone. We have to be gone 24 hours tomorrow, due to a grandchild's surgery so we put them in. I found fox urine crystals on line and they keep skunks and other predators of chickens (like weasels) out. Follow this site and all the good advice. Gradual feeders and waterers are easily available. Don't give up. Just prepare a bit more! Good Luck and take care!!
    Barb
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by