Something is killing off my chickens!!! help!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by greeneggsnham, Oct 19, 2010.

  1. greeneggsnham

    greeneggsnham Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2010
    Southeast Missouri
    Over the last week I have lost twenty of my chickens. These chickens were the first batch I raised and every time one dies it makes me cry. I have sealed off everything I can think of in the coop and I make sure to lock them in at night but something is still getting them. It started off last saturday with one or two dying each night but last night whatever it was went on a killing spree and got over ten chickens.

    I almost always find them with their head and neck missing. The first chicken to die actually had its head pulled out of a hole and it was a silkie who was only about three months old. After that I went on a mission to seal any cracks or holes but still they continued to die. They are always fine when I go to close them in the coop but by morning I find carnage. What could be killing them? I have to go with my family out of town soon and I want to stop whatever it is. Sometimes when more than one is killed it doesn't take all of the heads of the chickens it kills.We have live traps and so far all we have caught is a skunk. Even after it was gone the killings continued so I know that wasn't it. Last night my favorite rooster was one of the ones killed and I have had it. I want to find whatever this is and end it.
  2. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    That's awful! I'm so sorry.

    Could you post pictures of and/or describe your coop set up? Maybe we could help you figure out how the predator is getting in.
  3. ReiMiraa

    ReiMiraa Chillin' With My Peeps

    i had this as a problem. now you either have weasl/ skunk/ racoon.

    now they are beheaded. but is there any blood? mine had no blood = skunk or possible a weasl.

    killed one skunk but still having some issues (the skunk was diseased, was out in daylight and not afraid of people and would not attempt to spray anyone)
  4. greeneggsnham

    greeneggsnham Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2010
    Southeast Missouri
    I didn't really think to much of it till now. I never have seen much blood around the bodies or around the coop.

    I will post pics of the coop tonight. They are from a few weeks ago when I had all of my chickens but the building hasn't changed much.
  5. Debbi

    Debbi Overrun With Chickens

    May 2, 2010
    Sounds like a racoon to me. Are you sure the coon isn't in the coop when you go to close them in?? Either that, or you still have a hole somewhere?
  6. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    You need to get a live trap and set it ASAP! You can get them on sale right now at TSC. Use one of the dead birds or canned cat food as bait and I think you will catch the culprit tonight. If he is raiding your coop as often as you say, he should be easy to catch.

    Good luck!
  7. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    What are you using to cover your vents and window with?

    If it has larger than 1/2 " holes you have a major problem.

    Raccoons will attempt to pull birds through any opening if they can grab any part of the bird, frequently it is the neck and as a result you'll find headless birds below vents and windows.

    Weasels will just slip through the holes and attempt to sever a blood vessel and drink the blood from your birds. They also kill in other ways.

    But here is the kicker both the weasel and the raccoon can kill a large number of birds at one time.
  8. greeneggsnham

    greeneggsnham Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2010
    Southeast Missouri
    I had to make a quick run out of town but I'm back now. The holes that were around where the few chickens were killed were all less than three inches in diameter. I didnt see them but now I have borded them up. I have a live animal trap that I'm gonna set out tonight and see what I get. Hopefully it will be something other than a skunk this time. Man do those guys stink! Anyway even after the holes were borded up it still got inside and I am running out of ideas. And there is no way that I could have closed in whatever is killling the chickens with them because I walk in to the coop every night with a flashlight to make sure nothing is in there before closing it up.

    If this thing is a weasel or something and I catch it, will there be more? What I mean is...are they like rats in that if you have one, you have a hundred? [​IMG]
  9. bkreugar

    bkreugar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2008
    Asheboro NC
    Greeneggs ~I~ am currently dealing with a black tailed weasel. I KNOW it cuz I saw it leaving down a borrow. It is/was getting in by a very small crack with about 1n inch and a half of play in the back door of my coop where I check for eggs. So I took care of the that opening and tonite will be putting out a live trap with bloody chicken livers.

    You only have one weasel, they have a territory/range and when it is gone you won't have an issue until a new young weasel may move in. They are cunning, and they drink the blood so leave no blood onsite, it is really terrible. It5 is war on weasels here. I have been slowely loosing the young guys till I finally caught it in the act and now know what I am dealing with. It won't have babies moving in or anything.

    I am really looking forward to dispatching my weasel!!!!
  10. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    Sure sounds like a weasel. They are more wary of live traps than raccoons/opossum. You could try covering traps with a fabric to make it look more like a hollow chunk of a tree snag. Have had luck with BIG Victor rat traps (tie some raw meat to the trigger and suspend trap from a tree (a nail in tree/eye hook screwed into end of trap opposite the trigger and slipped over nail head) about two feet off the ground. Weasel will climb up to have a bite and that's that.

    Best advice: .5" hardware cloth over all weak points in coop.

    Good luck!
    (careful of your fingers with the rat trap).

    greeneggsnham wrote: If this thing is a weasel or something and I catch it, will there be more? What I mean is...are they like rats in that if you have one, you have a hundred?

    If there are chickens they will come (if not weasels then - take your pick). If you trap a single individual of any species of pred. it is safe to assume that there are probably more (though probably not a `Willard' situation).​

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