Something killed my chickens but didn't eat them

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by LeahAngel, Nov 3, 2016.

  1. LeahAngel

    LeahAngel New Egg

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    Aug 28, 2016
    This morning I found 2 of my hens and my rooster dead in the pin. It was locked up, but it looks like something climbed up the fence and then tore through the netting that covers the top. Whatever it was, it was small enough to get inside the coop because it is covered in my roosters feathers. Something tried to pull one of the hens through the fence by her foot. And my rooster literally looks like he just dropped dead. He had a small cut by his eye and that's it. His feathers are everywhere! I'm puzzled as to what could have killed him, seeing as he stood up past my knees and is huge! Any advice? I'm so sad I lost my rooster, his name was Fernando
     
  2. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Bummer.
    I'd say raccoon or mink/weasel.

    Where are you located?
     
  3. LeahAngel

    LeahAngel New Egg

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    Aug 28, 2016
    Northeast FL. A few miles from the FL/GA line
     
  4. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Confused.........the rooster looks like he just dropped dead, except his feathers are everywhere? That sounds like he put up a good fight......didn't just drop dead.

    There are patterns to predator behaviors. Yours is a multiple kill, which normally means either raccoons, weasels (or one of the many weasel cousins) or dogs. Raccoons normally eat the heads or some part of them, and it sounds like no dog could get in. That leaves weasels or one of the weasel cousins as the likely culprit.

    Weasels are aggressive killers that normally go for the back of the head and neck. There may be missing heads or bite marks on the back of the head and neck......and sometimes not large bite marks.

    If so, primary defense is to do the tighten up. No openings anywhere larger than 1/2". That is not easy, but consider this. Likely as not they had a lot of fun last time, so they will be back. Unless you can keep them out, it will keep happening until all you have are gone.
     
  5. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    The Rooster could of had a heart attack..My thinking......

    Cheers!
     
  6. LeahAngel

    LeahAngel New Egg

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    Aug 28, 2016
    We're pretty sure he did have a heart attack. It looks like he fought pretty hard and then died because of the stress. It makes sense that the predator itself didn't kill him, seeing as he stood up past my knees and was crazy protective of the girls. None of the heads are missing, but the hens did have very small bites on the back of the neck. I'm kind of thinking raccoon though, because last night we heard hissing in the woods. The other 2 that survived are staying our spare bathroom at night until my husband can make the pen and coop more secure
     
  7. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    It is a bugger when a Predator finds our flock...For over a year I have been dealing with Fox...My husband shot the Male...The female still comes at night....I lock my Dogs in at night or they bother the people next to us.....You could try a live trap...My Uncle catches Raccoon in live traps...He uses canned cat food as Bait...

    Best of luck....
     
  8. LeahAngel

    LeahAngel New Egg

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    Aug 28, 2016
    That's what my Grandfather suggested since we share 13 acres with him. We sectioned off part of the run last night that was attached to a chicken tractor and kept them in there. They were fine this morning, but I think I'll get my uncle's trail cam and have him set it up. We live in the woods in NE FL, so we are crawling with all kinds of animals and snakes. There was a black bear in our yard Monday night!
     
  9. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If your birds had small bites on the back of their necks, you can be pretty certain it was one of the weasel clan. Multiple kills with bite marks on the neck has their signature all over it. For a big bird like your rooster, they may grab hold with all four feet as they try to make the kill, but that may have taken some time, so your rooster may have been slamming into stuff trying to get away. That would explain all the feathers. He may have simply killed himself by slamming into something. Inside the coop, when my birds panic to get away (usually me doing some work in there they don't approve of) they launch straight up or slam into the window screens.

    If a weasel is the problem, the solution to the coop is to tighten it up. No holes larger than 1" and 1/2" would be better. They are also diggers, so the perimeter has to be tightened up with wire apron or such. But that only serves to starve them out. It doesn't get rid of them. Since they tend to be a bit territorial, trapping them might eliminate the problem animal until a new one moves in.

    Best trapping method I've seen seems to be the weasel box. A wooden box trap type with a baited rat trap within. Google "weasel trap" or search for them on youtube.
     
  10. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    On the MN prairie.
    I agree - this sounds like a weasely type of kill. I've also had them bite chickens up under their wings. Two little bite marks, that's all I found.
     

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