1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Something ate a chicken.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by momofchicks, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. momofchicks

    momofchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    431
    0
    149
    Apr 23, 2008
    Kentucky
    I went out to feed this morning and found a head in the middle of the run floor. The body was layed open on top of the nesting boxes, there were feathers everywhere inside and out. And the culprit left a rather large pile of poo. Maybe a red fox or something. Anyway, now what? How do I protect my babies? Okay, they have a house that is made of wood about 6' tall, 4' wide and then they have a coop area outside that is 10 x 10 x 10. I could make a door on the house, but we camp every other weekend someone would have to come over every night and morning to let them in and out. Could I put chicken wire across the whole floor? Can chickens walk on chicken wire, will it hurt their feet? Do you think the animal could be strong enough to break through the wire if we staple it to the bottom of the run and let it lay on the ground? Help me. I have to figure something out today, I'm sure he'll be back tonight.
    Here is a picture of the coop and house.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    4,511
    177
    291
    Jan 27, 2007
    BOCOMO
    I'm going to make a few assumptions. During night: Door was closed/no holes dug up through floor/no breaches in run wire. If that describes the setup then (and I'm just assuming mind you). I'd guess opossum/just maybe coon through the eaves (unless there is a strip of hardware cloth covering on inside not visible in photo).

    If you have plenty of chicken wire you can either dig around outside of coop and bury a double layer vertically to about 18" or, lay a double layer flat around outside walls of run fold and staple the portion closest to walls about a foot up outside of walls, cover with dirt and plant ground cover of your choice (buried chicken wire isn't best but if that's what you have on hand at the moment use it).

    But get a roll of 1/2" hardware cloth and cover the eaves with a double layer. Attach with wood screws and washers. That will slow them down for sure.

    Main concern is the chicken wire on run. That is inadequate for stray dogs or any other large daytime baddies. At least place another layer of chicken wire over the first for the time being and think about welded wire or, covering existing wire with 4"- 6"x6" inch welded wire panels.
     
  3. momofchicks

    momofchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    431
    0
    149
    Apr 23, 2008
    Kentucky
    Okay, here is the set up. We have chicken wire all around and on top of the run area. Doubled over and wire tied where the layers meet eachother. There was no signs of distress on wired area. There were several attempted holes around two sides of the run area. A large successful hole was on one side. The predator bit the head off, leaving it in the run area and ate the chicken (not all of it) on the nesting boxes. He also left a rather large pile of scat. Looked to have some berries in it. Are foxes omnivores? What else could have done it?
     
  4. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    4,511
    177
    291
    Jan 27, 2007
    BOCOMO
    Sorry, I know you mentioned the floor, but not a hole. Yes, a fox could do it, but I'd think coon would be more likely (if scat was just a big nasty mess - then coon. If looking more like a cigar then fox). Get a havahart (live trap) and set it nearby.

    ED to add: It could be a opossum, but they're usually not that ambitious, they'd go through the eaves (digging that much seems like coon/killing only one is `possumish')
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2008
  5. DLS

    DLS Chillin' With My Peeps

    thats sad. I use -electric fence- traps- netting over top for birds of prey- and a .22 . still I am on watch all the time.
     
  6. dixygirl

    dixygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    957
    1
    151
    May 14, 2008
    Was the hole in the ground or in the chicken wire? If it was in the chicken wire change it for something stonger. If it was in the ground beside the fence bury some wire, pavers or cement around the perimeter of the whole thing.

    I think both are required standardly.

    PS Forgot to say So sorry for your losses [​IMG]
    Good luck tightening things up.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2008
  7. mmajw

    mmajw Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 31, 2008
    Maine
    You are lucky they only got one not all.

    What is the heat light for? They look large enough not to have one.

    I would set a trap. Now they know where the food is they will be back for more and may bring their friends. You will want to make sure all holes are closed in good and even if you have to put cement blocks around the bottom of your run to keep things out. Walking on the wire all day is not good for their feet and legs.
     
  8. dixygirl

    dixygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    957
    1
    151
    May 14, 2008
    Looking at your picture again i see that those gaps in the roof line of the building between the roof beams allow anything to drop in.


    Seems like something could dig under the boards on the ground right into the fenced in area or the coop house too for that matter.

    I don't know if you have the chicken wire nailed to the boards across the bottom. If not that should be done.

    Of course you know everybody says chicken wire offers almost no protection to the animals at all.

    I see that an animal could have entered using any of the above routes. Basically just cover all the weak spots with some good fencing and make sure everything is nailed down securely.
     
  9. momofchicks

    momofchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    431
    0
    149
    Apr 23, 2008
    Kentucky
    Quote:There is chicken wire nailed around every single nook and crany top and bottom. Other than the floor. The predator dug several holes around two sides and finally made it in.
     
  10. dixygirl

    dixygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    957
    1
    151
    May 14, 2008
    Just out of curiosity, how close to the chicken wire were these holes. People say that the scratching is always. right beside the wall or chicken wire.

    What I do is pour several bags of cement powder all around the pen on the ground where they would scratch and spray it with a hose then let it sit for 24 hours to harden. When they scratch they will be scratching futilely on cement. To me that is the lazy woman's approach because I can not see myself digging trenches in the sun to bury wire. I can dump a few bags of cement and spray them in 5 minutes tops. I dare say cement is a tad bit stronger than chicken wire too. [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by