Snatched from the Coop

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by PineCone67, May 2, 2017.

  1. PineCone67

    PineCone67 Out Of The Brooder

    May 19, 2016
    My Coop
    Almost one year to the day I got them (when they were only 6 weeks old) I had my first predator attack last night.

    Both of my buff orpingtons go to the coop for the night and I lock them every night before bedtime. Almost every night, the coop remains open for few hours after the ladies settle in for the night.

    Well, last night was different. I heard a commotion outside but did not immediately realize what’s going on. I proceeded toward the coop with an intention to lock it for the night only to notice bunch of feathers spread out on the yard and one chicken clucking nervously. The other was … gone! Well, something snatched it and I had no idea where she was!

    I immediately grabbed the surviving chicken and took it inside (to calm her) and started searching the area. I peaked behind the shed (where I thought I heard some chain link fence rattling) toward the neighbor’s backyard and… found her! She was lying on her side, not moving. I immediately thought that she was dead but fortunately, she was not.

    She looked very shaken up, with bunch of feathers lying around. Upon further examination, I did not find any bite marks or open skin injuries. Kept her calm in my arms for about 30 – 45 minutes trying to make sure she is calm. I did put her back into the coop. This morning, she appeared to be a bit slower than normal but otherwise ok. I will of course keep a close eye on her to make sure she recovers fully.

    I have no idea what kind of predator this was. A stray cat? Fox? Raccoon? I am sort of ruling out the last two as I would imagine either would kill her on the spot and drag her body away.

    Well, lesson learned here… from now on I will be locking up the coop the moment both girls are in.
  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 14, 2012
    Conway SC
    You were very Lucky!! Seems when you least expect it----it happens. Tracks would have helped you identify the predator. Chickens go to the roost some time before dark so locking them up then is a good Thing. Expect "it" back to get what it dropped if not locked up. Even double check your coop to make sure there is no "weak" places.
  3. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 19, 2015
    Eastern Shore, MD
    A game camera may also help you identify what it is and decide on your next course of action, if you choose to do anything about its presence.
  4. HeavensHens88

    HeavensHens88 Remembering the Forgotten

    May 17, 2015
    Lost, I fear.
    Could've possibly been a domestic dog who was playing with his catch, and therefore not being instinctual enough to kill her, or a hawk/dog could've dropped her while in flight. Though those are my most likely guesses, it really could have been anything that was just scared away by you before it could do any serious damage. You were extremely fortunate- very rarely do you end up getting an attacked hen back alive. :)
    The best method of action from,bow on is to shut the girls in their coop AS SOON as they go in around dusk. That way, it's not even giving any crepuscular predators a chance. ;)
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
  5. Cluckcluck1215

    Cluckcluck1215 Overrun With Chickens

    My opinion, Possibely a dog, MAYBE hawk?
    Normally hawks kill as soon as Possibe, Maybe it was a small hawk that tried to get her,but Wasnt big enough to actually kill?
    A dog would leave her with bite marks.
  6. PineCone67

    PineCone67 Out Of The Brooder

    May 19, 2016
    My Coop
    Big thanks to everyone who commented. Indeed, we were very lucky. After a year of successfully keeping them alive in the suburban backyard environment, I thought I had my bases covered and there is nothing to worry about. Well, It seems like you can never let your guard down and there is always danger of loosing the flock. It goes without saying that the era of keeping the coop unlocked well into the night is over.

    Here is is, almost 48 hours after the attack. I really do hope the recovery is well underway as she already laid her egg yesterday!

  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I would keep them locked in for a week or so, and set live traps next to the coop at night. If you do catch a pet cat, you can release it. be ready to kill any wild predator you catch though, or don't trap. Also, if you've been feeding outside of their coop and run, stop, so critters aren't attracted to the goodies out there. Mary

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