Something is killing my chicks

daystardoberman

Songster
7 Years
Aug 26, 2013
63
47
121
I just got an order of 25 chicks. They're in a brooding pen, 7 feet long 3 feet wide. Standard hardware cloth sizes, open bottom, and I have netting over the top, and I secure it with boards and a piece of sheet kettle for the big hens to roost on. ..
They're 2 weeks old. Last week, there were 3 that were killed, and their abdomens were opened. I have a broody hen that was hanging around the pen, so I put her in there to protect them. She was digging large holes, so I turned the pen over and stapled poultry mesh all along the bottom so the chickens couldn't escape. Put dirt over the mesh.
But I still am finding a dead chick every morning abdominal contents eaten. I KNOW my broody hen isn't doing it, she's a great mom. Loves the chicks.
Uh? Rats? The pen is totally enclosed. Its 24 inches tall and the netting over the top is undisturbed. I guess a rat could squeeze through the poultry mesh, but yikes... I put bait bars inbetween the wall of my barn and storage shed, it's too narrow for any animals to get to, so it's a safe area.
This is getting expensive. The hatchery isn't selling babies and I think it's cheaper to buy an incubator and hatch my own eggs....but does anyone have any ideas how to save the 18 chicks I have left?
 

Attachments

  • 20210803_120248.jpg
    20210803_120248.jpg
    623.1 KB · Views: 14
  • 20210803_120310.jpg
    20210803_120310.jpg
    451.5 KB · Views: 14
Last edited:

Cupcake1243

Songster
Jul 20, 2020
389
884
146
England
Hm, I would’ve thought that the predator would eat most/all chicks and even the mama hen would’ve been injured/killed. It’s weird that it’s only a few each night.🤷🏼‍♀️
 

daystardoberman

Songster
7 Years
Aug 26, 2013
63
47
121
Hm, I would’ve thought that the predator would eat most/all chicks and even the mama hen would’ve been injured/killed. It’s weird that it’s only a few each night.🤷🏼‍♀️
That's why I'm thinking it's a rat. The wire underneath should keep them out, but rats can be pretty widely that way. I'm hoping the bait on the outter wall of the barn wall will be an easier meal...
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,881
35,830
1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
How big is the opening on the mesh on top and underneath? Rats can get into holes about 1/2", so anything over 1/2" is too big of a gap if dealing with rats.
 
Nov 11, 2020
1,441
2,416
286
West Virginia
You need hardware cloth(1/2") if you plan on raising chicks to keep out any and all critters that'll eat them.Snakes and rats both eat baby chicks and if you have rats you probably have snakes too. Regardless of whether you buy chicks or hatch your own you'll still need a secure pen .
 

yyz0yyz0

Songster
9 Years
May 2, 2012
623
130
194
I'd put hardware cloth on the whole thing. Cover a framed lid with it and hinge the top so you can secure it. A camera is a good idea, since it should tell you what you're dealing with, but obviously something is getting in there and you need to stop it. Good luck!
+1 on this idea.

It looks like your top cover is a flexible mesh, something could just climb the HW cloth front and slip under the edge of the top cover.
At a minimum I'd run and grab a large tote and move them into the house/garage until you can make your cage more secure.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom