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Something pulled head off of Top Hat

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by 2overeasy, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. 2overeasy

    2overeasy Chirping

    May 28, 2010
    Birchwood, TN
    Hey, I know there are similar postings on this, and I have read them, but I wanted to say my particular situation so maybe I could narrow it down a bit more. I found one of my TH with the head removed this morning :-( I'm really bummed. But nothing was eaten and the head was still there. There are a few small holes along the bottom of the coop which certainly a weasel or snake couldn get through. There are vents all along the topc (it's a metal buidling 12x24ft) which we've covered with chicken wire using staples. Those look like they've been pulled at. However, if an owl, coon or possum got in that way, there would be no way it could back out b/c it's too far up with nothing to stand on to go back. I looked around but there was nothing in the coop. The coop is divided in half with wire and wall and door, with grown flock on one side with their own door outside, and the other half houses the 4 1/2 month old chicks on the other with their own door and yard. So I'm thinking weasel or snake.
    The question, I guess is, would it just pull the head off and not eat it or anything else?
    I need to know how to be proactive today and not lose anymore. I know that once a predator realizes there's a food source, they'll keep coming back. Oh, and everyone gets closed up at night. The chicks have a screen door leading out to their totally enclosed coop. The grown flock have a small wood door and they come in the day and free range the whole 10 acres.
    Sorry this is so long. I just thought the more info, the better advice you could give.
    Thanks a lot!

  2. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

    Mar 4, 2009
    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    Even a gap too small to fit a body can fit a paw......close up all small holes and gaps with hardware cloth or solid wood. Reinforce anything that looks "pulled at" with hardware cloth SCREWED into wood. Staples and chicken wire won't keep anything out except chickens [​IMG]
  3. cjdmashley

    cjdmashley Songster

    Jul 29, 2010
    please don't quote me on this but Husband is always telling me that some preditors will kill, more for blood than meat and go. can't remember what animal it is but will ask him. So sorry about TopHat [​IMG]
  4. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

    May 6, 2010
    My Coop
    I'm sorry to hear about your loss. I'm sure your TH will be missed. The damage sounds like raccoon or possum, removing heads first seems to be the principle method they use to dispatch chickens. Is there any way one could have gotten in? The odd thing is that nothing seems eaten. Is there any way the predator could have reached into the coop from the outside and pulled the head off from where the rooster roosts at night? I haven't read a lot about definitive weasel attacks here, but I wouldn't be surprised if they remove heads too. Did you mean to say they could or couldn't get in through the small holes along the bottom of the coop? I'm also wondering about rats. Both weasels and rats can squeeze through holes so small you wouldn't believe it. I would seal those holes today!
  5. jeneanxo

    jeneanxo In the Brooder

    Jun 7, 2010
    North Carolina
    My understanding from other chicken owners is that a raccoon will rip the head off and drink the blood (gory I know!). I have also heard that they can reach in through the wire and grab chickens and do some pretty serious damage that way. Sorry about your loss [​IMG]
  6. 2overeasy

    2overeasy Chirping

    May 28, 2010
    Birchwood, TN
    Thanks, everyone. I sent an email to the Chicken Whisperer and he said without a doubt it's a weasel. They pull the heads off and suck the blood. And he said it WILL be back tonight and to close up all holes all the way down to 1/4 inch! So that's what I'm getting ready to do right now. I don't want to lose another one.
    Thanks again!
  7. eggseroneous

    eggseroneous Songster

    Apr 1, 2010
    South-Western PA
    A raccoon will reach in through chicken wire and pull the heads off. Chicken wire should carry a disclaimer. Sure it keeps chickens in or out, but not predators! Hardware cloth over the chicken wire is the way to go.

  8. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Songster

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    My bet is a small coon. Set a live trap, using the remains as bait and let us know what you catch!!! You can bet the farm it will be back tonight.
  9. 2overeasy

    2overeasy Chirping

    May 28, 2010
    Birchwood, TN
    Well, I spent yesterday afternoon plugging up all the small holes, and I closed the door to the coop (remember, I have a door to the fully enclosed yard, and an additional door to the coop itself).
    This morning, all of my chickens were alive!
    I'm still going to get a live trap and set it outside at night.
    Thanks for all of your help. I'm grateful.

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