Something is killing my striped chickens.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by thatlaidyb, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. thatlaidyb

    thatlaidyb Out Of The Brooder

    35
    0
    22
    Jun 30, 2012
    Dayton, TN
    I have had the worst luck with my black and white chickens. I started out with a Cuckoo Marans rooster, two Barred Rock pullets, two Dominique pullets and six Welsummers (one rooster and five pullets). A couple of days after I got them all that was left of the Cuckoo Marans was a couple of piles of feathers (looked like he put up a fight) and no body, one of the Barred Rock pullet was missing her head, and one of the Dominiques was limping. Thankfully she recovered after a week. About two months after that one of the Domiques just vanished. No feathers. No nothing. And a week after that the other Dominique was found half eaten. All of the Welsummers are perfectly fine. In every instance it happened first thing in the morning (my husband was letting them out for the day when he left for work at six in the morning). I think that it might be a hawk because I know that there are some in my area but I haven't actually seen one in over a year. Any ideas on what could be getting them?
     
  2. hdmax

    hdmax Chillin' With My Peeps

    136
    6
    61
    Jul 29, 2013
    Central Ohio
    It's not a hawk, at least not all the killing you describe. A hawk would not be eating the head off, and if the chicks are small, hawks would just scoop down, and carry it off.

    Sounds like a skunk, raccoon, fox, cat, dog, or mink. My guess would be raccoon or cat. But any predator could be guilty of most of this.
    When you say, your husband lets them out, is he just letting them out of the coop, and in to a pen? Or out as in free ranging?
    If it is a pen, what type wiring is the fence made of? And if fenced in, and there is no evidence of burrowing under, and the mesh is small, that would eliminate dogs, Skunks, and fox, as they do not climb. (Some may tell you that skunks can climb, but I have never seen proof of that, and do not believe they can.) The mink family of animals are small, and can get through many types of fencing. Raccoons and cats are very good climbers, so putting a cover on any chicken run/pen will eliminate aerial preditors, and deter climbing preditors.
     
  3. heidisue

    heidisue Chillin' With My Peeps

    155
    6
    73
    Jan 28, 2013
    Marana, Arizona
    I second raccoon or cat. Leaving things half eaten and especially tearing a head off is not a hawk behavior. Cats and raccoons will do both of those things.

    It could have something to do with the color although I suspect the welsummers are just faster than the birds that are being eaten since only one at a time is being taken.
     
  4. thatlaidyb

    thatlaidyb Out Of The Brooder

    35
    0
    22
    Jun 30, 2012
    Dayton, TN
    I hope that it is just a coincidence because my husband really wants me to get some more Cuckoo Marans.
    [​IMG]
    He lets them out of the coop into the yard. I hadn't thought of skunks. I know that they are around. I smell them every so often. Thank you. Now I just have to figure out how to figure out where they are getting into the yard.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,820
    6,970
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    A lot of things could climb right over that fence.
     
  6. thatlaidyb

    thatlaidyb Out Of The Brooder

    35
    0
    22
    Jun 30, 2012
    Dayton, TN
    I know. But since this is a rental I can't make any modifications to it.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,732
    2,355
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Are losses occurring in day or night?
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,820
    6,970
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    You could put a hot wire or electronet around the outside of it.
     
  9. thatlaidyb

    thatlaidyb Out Of The Brooder

    35
    0
    22
    Jun 30, 2012
    Dayton, TN
    That's a great idea. I will definitely look into that.
    All of the losses occurred between 6 am and 10 am.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,732
    2,355
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    The electronet, if anything like electrified poultry netting will greatly slow losses to ground predators. The 6 AM to 10 AM means culprit is most likely fox or coyote when only feathers are left behind. If it is a hawk, then fencing will make it harder to remove body after kill.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by