Something attacked my silkies, help???

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by offtheleash, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. offtheleash

    offtheleash In the Brooder

    Feb 4, 2014
    I had 3 silkies, 2 hens and a rooster. I've had them for one month.

    We live on 3 acres of land which is surrounded by woods on all sides.

    Their coop is 200 ft from the house on the edge of the woods. In the past week they've been coming to the house, hanging around our shed and patio. They've been free ranging all day, which I felt uneasy about, but they were very happy.

    Yesterday we were inside, we do have a house dog too, for 2 hours. When we came out one of the hens was dead on the patio, head gone, back eaten, 10 ft from house.

    Rooster was also gone, but at dusk he came out, he'd been hiding in an old doghouse on other side of house. Thank goodness he's safe!

    My other hen also went broody yesterday on an egg, so she's safe also.

    My questions are what predator does it sound like did this and since she's broody and his favorite hen is gone, how's it going to be for him?

    I'm new at this, and cried for hours last night, but know it's a process in starting a new homestead.

    Thanks for any advice!

  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Owls and hawks eat the heads. The forest edge is dangerous. Birds of prey wait in the trees and swoop down to surprise the chickens.

    I am sorry for your loss. I have had losses too from hawks and owls. They are federally protected so all you can do is hang up some netting.

    I do keep my silkies under 2 inch heavy knotted netting (hang for snow load). They don't do so well free range as they can't fly/have vision impairment from crest. They crave security and won't mind if you pen them up under some netting. I love my silkies. I hope you can hatch some babies out under your broody.

    Generally silkie roosters do fine with 5 hens. For large fowl roosters 10 hens is best to avoid overbreeding. However, you may be OK with just your cock/hen.

    If you buy more chickens I recommend chicks or hatching eggs (buy from reputable source) as mycoplasma gallisepticum passes through the egg to the chick from the hen. Chicks are less likely to have disease than started adult birds. But if you buy from a reputable breeder you may be able to secure healthy birds.

    Cackle hatchery has very nice silkies. I have also bought silkies from McMurray but really like Cackle's (where mine are from). If you want the super large crests though I recommend a breeder. Catdance silkes sells hatching eggs. I have hatched out kelar's (catdance) eggs before and LOVED them.

    I get a 50% hatch rate with shipped eggs which I have read is what a lot of people get.
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Here is my netting. I strung rope through it and used metal wire to secure the rope to the posts (not attached at all to the fencing or it will pull the fencing down in snow). I bought the netting from and it is very spendy.

    If you get a LOT of snow you may do better to just make a nice metal roof for them for the run. We just don't get that much snow here.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  4. offtheleash

    offtheleash In the Brooder

    Feb 4, 2014
    Thank you for your response, really!

    I went out to check on them at 9 and they're were still inside the coop itself, usually they're in the run eating at that time.

    Hen was off the egg and it was cold. I'm incubating 3 eggs now, scheduled 1st hatch is 2-14, hopefully. Now it's 4.

    We are working in building a bigger run for them now.
    Heres a pic of them, the black one is the one that was killed.

    Thanks again![​IMG]
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Here's hoping for a good hatch!!

    Pretty silkies and so sorry for your loss again.

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