Something is getting my chickens!!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ASweetHeart, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. ASweetHeart

    ASweetHeart Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 3, 2011
    Wondering what it may be. Suggestions?

    We have our coop/pen in a back corner of the yard. It is open at the top. Two sides face two different neighbors properties. We've had it there since the end of July without prior incidents.

    Usually I let the chickens roam our fenced in yard during the day, then most days I lock the door to the pen at night (again, most of the pen is open). Friday it rained, and I decided not to walk out and lock at night (I leave unlocked on occassion). Yeasterday I was super busy all day, and didn't go to play with them till almost dark. I noticed 4 of my full grown chickens were missing - 2 silkie hens and 2 polish birds. All 4 usually sleep in the bottom of the coop (along with a few others) and it touches the ground. There was not an unusal amount of feathers anywhere, I was really just hoping they were hiding in the yard somewhere. I did lock the pen last night. I noticed that none of the remaining chickens were roosting in the bottom pen, which is unusaual for some.

    I went out this am, there were feathers all over the pen and coop that looked like they were from 3 of the 4 that I noticed were missing last night (locking the pen means they would not have been able to get in at all last night). I have a young cochin missing now, too. He was sleeping last night (in the pen) in a box a few feet off the ground. My full grown silkie roo's comb is bloody and he's lethargic, and my full grown dominique's comb is bloody, too. They were sleeping in the top of the coop with a bunch of others.

    The feathers were all over the coop, part of the pen, over the property seperating fence (foreclosed house property), and then seem to stop at the bottom of the back of the fence. No more traces of chickens - bodies, feathers, anything.

    I just don't get it. The feathers of the missing chickens weren't there last night but are there today. Whatever it was dragged them over the fence. What happened from there? What could it be?
  2. Silkie Sue

    Silkie Sue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2007
    Sarnia, Ontario
    I'm sorry for your lost chickens....
    were the feathers inside the pen from the ones missing the day before? if they were outside the pen maybe they came back at nite and just sat outside. if you don't see any other sign of a body or blood it could be a coon or possum that took them away. a weasel of mink would have killed them and left the bodies.
    take a look around under bushes and such as maybe they are hiding..
    hoping this ends well for your babies..
    as for not having a top on the pen, whatever it is will definitely be back until there is no more food.
  3. chicken farmer 1997

    chicken farmer 1997 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2011
    lewis county ky
  4. Capvin

    Capvin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2011
    Lake Placid, FL
    Really, I would stop wondering and guessing what is killing your chickens and begin concentrating on trying to get your coop, run, etc. as predator proof as possible. The way you have described your coop it would be possible for every predator in the area to easily get in, and now you have found out that they do and will continue. Simply, if you can stand about ten yards away and toss a stone into their coop then you must know that a predator can get to them fairly easily.
  5. toripeeps

    toripeeps Out Of The Brooder

    May 9, 2011
    Well, my run was predator proof or so I thought, we had it fenced in top, bottom and sides and 2 feet out in the ground, all except the back side of the coop which sat on the ground. We started with 1 hen missing, the next day 1 more, no where to be found not a feather so we though something was getting them out in the yard. We let them out after my husband got home from work at 4:00PM and Inoticed the first one gone on Monday, when I went out to put them in coop at 6:30. Thought something got her out in the yard, the second night same thing, my little bantam hen, Rosie was missing when I went out to put them away at 6:00. THought if I got them in earlier we would be safe. She was gone, so I asked my husband if he saw her or counted them when he let them out and he hadn't paid any attention. Next day when he went out to let them out my little "Goldie" bantam rooster was gone, (He looked) and found 1 of my hens stuck under the coop, where something had tried to drag her. HE checked around and found a hole in the ground in back side of coop and something had dug under and came into the run. So he covered hole with the same fencing and fenced around the bottom of coop in run. Next day 2 more hens dead inside coop. IS this a weasel? Any suggestions? Any one? We have started keeping them in coop allday til he gets home and let them out for a couple hours and put them away by 6:00 PM. We have set traps, but so far nothing.? Oh ! I forgot only their heads are missing, any ideas other than a weasel?
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Weasels aren't big enough to drag a full-grown chicken away. I would guess coon, mink or skunk at this point. Possum, maybe.
  7. toripeeps

    toripeeps Out Of The Brooder

    May 9, 2011
    Can an opposum fit through that small of a hole? Do they just tear off their heads? I didn't think they did that. And they most certainly can drag a chicken away.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  8. ASweetHeart

    ASweetHeart Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 3, 2011
    Down 7 chickens now. Six hens, most we were attached 2, and 1 rooster. I locked them in the actual (covered) coop last night What ever it is, climbed up the side about 5 feet, got in a hole about the size of my hand, and somehow got my beautiful, full grown easter egger hen (profile pic - taken a few months ago) out of it. Other than a little blood around the hole and feathers, no reamins of my Lulu anywhere. 3-5 of my dominiques have bloody combs, and my silkie roo does too. Whatever it is, I think it's getting them in the early am.

    I'm so upset!! [​IMG]

    Filled in all the holes in bottom of the coop, and barricaded them in there tonight. Also bought some traps, hope I catch whatever it is!!
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    Probably a raccoon.
  10. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    Game cam and havahart traps are your best bet.Until you repair the cope could you lock the chickens up in a garage?

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