something got my girls

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by shady chickens, Jun 23, 2008.

  1. shady chickens

    shady chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    May 23, 2007
    Vernon, NJ
    we went out to close the hen house just after dark tonight, like we do every night, and OMG the house was EMPTY! :mad: we let them run free during the day, and for two years have been very lucky to never have a problem. we have two dogs that seem to keep the yard free of predators. however tonight it seems they never made it home. we found two separate piles of feathers...one from a RIR, one from a black barred rock. we found another chicken, dazed and confused, in another location, clearly with life-threatening injuries. we put her in one of the nesting boxes and hope nature takes its course by morning, or we'll have to cull her. we've never had to do that, this is our first flock. we're assuming that the six remaining hens are scattered about the property - we are on a heavily wooded lot, on the side of a hill. we looked as best we could, but could not find them, or their feathers.

    will they come home? has anyone ever had this happen, and they return after it's all over? assuming they survive the night in the woods, of course. i'm sure whatever it was (fox, coon, coyote...) could not have gotten all 9 of them, so some must still be ok, right?

    i'm so upset. i can't wait for dawn...however they may never roam free again if they do return.
     
  2. WriterofWords

    WriterofWords Has Fainting Chickens

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    Dec 25, 2007
    Chaparral, New Mexico
    I do hope some of your ladies made it, and that they are well hidden out there. I'd suggest closing up before dark just in case something comes back for another snack. Mine are in their house by dusk usually and close the door behind them. The ones at risk here roost on the front porch because they don't get along with everyone in the house.
    Good luck and I'm sure sorry this happened to them and you.
    K
     
  3. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * Wow, that's awful, shady. I hope the rest come home o.k.. Will you be trying to trap whatever it was???
     
  4. mangled

    mangled Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh, no! I'm so sorry!

    I'll say a prayer for you. Hopefully they're just scared and hiding.

    Good luck,
    Em
     
  5. FisherMOM

    FisherMOM Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2008
    Bergen, NY
    so sorry.

    I am working on training my crew to be in bed before dark. I hope more show up tomorrow for you.
     
  6. Redfeathers

    Redfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 11, 2007
    Gervais OR
    I'm sorry too! I've heard stories on here that some do come back a day or two later after a scare like that. I really hope that yours do too. Keep us posted
     
  7. greyhorsewoman

    greyhorsewoman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 3, 2008
    Endless Mts, NE PA
    Unfortunately, if it was a fox, might have got most of them. They kill, haul off and stash for later. They can take out a bunch in one foray. Hope a few of them escaped!
     
  8. crazychickengirl

    crazychickengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 20, 2008
    Glenmont, Ohio
    I came home late the other night to find a trail of feathers leading out of the coop. After counting my flock, I realized my partridge cochin pullet was the one missing. We've had this happen before so I assumed she was dead. Well yesterday morning, there she was on my deck looking in my french doors! I think she has a broken wing and that's it! So the other may have just gotten scared and ran away.

    I hope they come back...good luck!
     
  9. TyronesMommy

    TyronesMommy New Egg

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    Aug 5, 2007
    I only let mine out to free range when I can supervise due to how many predators we have. They always want to go back in the woods which is a no no, so I put up that construction orange plastic fencing to stop them from going in the woods. Now and then one will fly over it, but for the most part they stay on the correct side of the fence.

    I made sure to build a large play area for the chickens so they don't really need to free range much. The play area is surrounded by chain link (strong) and netted at the top (heavy duty) and is 35 feet x 20 feet so they have lots of room to play.

    So sorry and I hope you are able to find them all.

    TyronesMommy
    Somehow I now have Tyrone +18 more - how did THAT happen?
     
  10. shady chickens

    shady chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    May 23, 2007
    Vernon, NJ
    Thanks for all the thoughtful comments. This morning 5 of them returned. One has about 3 tail feathers left, but seems otherwise ok (even laid an egg this AM!). Another is really stunned, and i'm worried she may have internal injuries, but she's active enough...the other three are fine. the one i hoped would succumb to her injuries overnight is still alive...she has a gaping hole on her back , no blood but i can see some grayish stuff, maybe muscle? underneath, but it look bad and i know she will die of infection soon enough. hubby was supposed to do the deed this am, but did not. i'm very pregnant and don't think i can cull her - i can barely use my numb and painful hands to type this out! and i'm too soft at heart. i'm hoping the others will still come home...we have 2 that are still missing, one we know is probably dead, and the other that we thought was dead was actually very fine. not sure about all the feathers...must have belonged to the living wounded one. can't find any feathers that look like the missing ones, so they may still be out there. i feel bad for them.

    i used to think foxes were kinda cool.
     

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