So tired of predators...

old biddy

Songster
Sep 30, 2010
377
303
231
Lamont, Florida
This is all that is left of my 3 month old rooster, Carlito. I post this under peafowl because Carlito and his three hen sisters have been hatched and raised along with my one and only peachick for the year, Chiquita. I had them all in the same pen and thought the pen was predator proof. I lock them in at night inside a very secure hen house. Just outside their little chicken door is a secure pen with 1/4" hardware cloth on top and sides with a foot of wire buried to keep out digging predators. That outer pen opens out to a larger chicken run made from panels of chain link fence covered in bird netting. At night they are secure inside the henhouse. In the morning I let them out into the secure hardware cloth pen for breakfast and then out into the chain link day run. I went to town today to buy batteries for my game camera and when I returned in late afternoon I went down to set up the game camera. Before I even reached the henhouse I could smell the predator...heavy musky smell. I was immediately on alert and went directly to the henhouse and found Carlito.

His head and one wing and feathers were outside the chain link run. There were feathers inside and outside the fence. It looks like something pulled his head and wing out through the fence. The head was intact but the craw was gone. AND there was no body and no legs. I could find no sign that the predator had entered the pen but it must have done so since the body and legs were gone...unless they had also been pulled through the chain link fence (can't imagine how that could have happened). Another distressing mystery here at Wildhaven Farm. I am distrought at losing Carlito, but am also worried now for the safety of my peachick, Chiquita.

I am thinking of covering the chain link with small bird netting tomorrow but I really don't have much confidence in that solution until I know what predator I am dealing with. I am looking into setting up an electric fence around my pens...not sure what else will help. I appreciate any comments.






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old biddy

Songster
Sep 30, 2010
377
303
231
Lamont, Florida
Sorry for your loss :(
Thank you, Ruby Rogue. It is just so demoralizing. For years all my chickens and peafowl were free range without significant loss. I would lose one or two a year and learned to live with it. But, this past year I have been losing birds over and over to the point of having to keep them penned up. Sad to do it, but every time I think it might be safe (nothing on the game camera and no other signs of danger) and let them out for the day, there is an immediate attack. So, I can't let them out anymore and am trying to find out what predator is doing the damage. I have caught coyote, raccoon and possum on the camera at night recently while everyone is safely tucked inside the henhouse...and we have actually seen fox and bobcat during the day around the henhouse and chased them off. But we have not caught anyone in the act. (Sigh)
 

parvani

Hatching
Sep 28, 2020
2
0
5
I am new to chicken farming. I still keep most of my chicks indoors because I am still building my first coop.

However, this summer a breeder sold me a few pullets and a bunch of extra cockerels and roosters. Eight of those birds were too large to keep indoors, so I've been keeping them "free range" in my large city lot. Our lot is fenced from dogs, and there aren't any other predators in the city, are there? Maybe raccoons and opossums, but we had killed the one opossum we saw and had no further trouble with them.

Well, everything has been fine for weeks. The chickens were all doing so well in the yard that we added five more of our young pullets to the backyard flock.

Then yesterday morning we woke to three dead hens. Two had been completely eviscerated; the third had been beheaded. I stayed up last night to make sure that all of the remaining chickens were safely locked up in the large dog kennel that is serving as a makeshift coop. No raccoons or opossums were going to get my babies in there.

At 11pm my housemate told me she heard the chickens squawking. We rushed outside. There was a fast rustle in the bushes, but I saw nothing near the kennel cage. The panicked birds were pigpiled into a corner.

The predator had gone right through the bars and beheaded two of the birds. It had also scalped a third bird and bitten the face off a fourth. All in less than thirty seconds, with my poor birds trapped in the cage that was intended to protect them.

Weasels or ferrets. Since we live in the city, and lots of stupid people keep ferrets as pets, and then let them escape (while other stupid people feed their cats and dogs outside, where other animals can also get the food), I'm thinking it was probably a ferret.

I'm heartbroken. I lost several birds I raised from chicks, and I now have to slaughter the two birds who were mauled. Two of the "reject" roosters will also be slaughtered tomorrow, since there's no reason to wait anymore.

So my outdoor flock will be reduced from 13 birds to 4 in the space of 3 days.

My yard still has feathers everywhere, and other signs of the carnage. I haven't been able to clean them all up yet. I'm too distressed by the sight of them... by the thought of my poor birds squawking in terror, as swift death scythes them down, coming out of the dark and killing them before they even know what's happening.
 

old biddy

Songster
Sep 30, 2010
377
303
231
Lamont, Florida
Yes, I feel for you Parvani. Trying to keep our charges safe is a never ending battle. Breaks my heart every time I lose one. Today I go back out to the chicken yard to check for any non secure areas and tighten everything up. I lay awake last night thinking of ideas to make the pens more secure, ie., sheet metal all around the bottom half of the pens to keep raccoons from reaching through and grabbing birds; a second perimeter of bird netting all around the pens about two feet out from the original pen; etc. Just trying to get ahead of more tragedy.
 

sshealy

In the Brooder
Sep 26, 2020
18
20
23
This is all that is left of my 3 month old rooster, Carlito. I post this under peafowl because Carlito and his three hen sisters have been hatched and raised along with my one and only peachick for the year, Chiquita. I had them all in the same pen and thought the pen was predator proof. I lock them in at night inside a very secure hen house. Just outside their little chicken door is a secure pen with 1/4" hardware cloth on top and sides with a foot of wire buried to keep out digging predators. That outer pen opens out to a larger chicken run made from panels of chain link fence covered in bird netting. At night they are secure inside the henhouse. In the morning I let them out into the secure hardware cloth pen for breakfast and then out into the chain link day run. I went to town today to buy batteries for my game camera and when I returned in late afternoon I went down to set up the game camera. Before I even reached the henhouse I could smell the predator...heavy musky smell. I was immediately on alert and went directly to the henhouse and found Carlito.

His head and one wing and feathers were outside the chain link run. There were feathers inside and outside the fence. It looks like something pulled his head and wing out through the fence. The head was intact but the craw was gone. AND there was no body and no legs. I could find no sign that the predator had entered the pen but it must have done so since the body and legs were gone...unless they had also been pulled through the chain link fence (can't imagine how that could have happened). Another distressing mystery here at Wildhaven Farm. I am distrought at losing Carlito, but am also worried now for the safety of my peachick, Chiquita.

I am thinking of covering the chain link with small bird netting tomorrow but I really don't have much confidence in that solution until I know what predator I am dealing with. I am looking into setting up an electric fence around my pens...not sure what else will help. I appreciate any comments.






View attachment 2352531
so sorry I cried for days when this same thing happened to us in our case it was a possum
 

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