Something took 14 of my best chickens!!!

ang13

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
13
0
24
I had a coop chicken door built. Apparently not strong enough. Something crawled under the chicken wire fence built for their play pen and got inside. Could have been any animal since we live outside of town. But 14 Chickens!! Ugh what could eat so many????? The hole was kind of big so I am thinking fox. Mink would have been smaller. And it didn't take them far, just outside the fence. Feathers were everywhere
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. So I concreted the entire area up. But I have one playpen built in front and only let them out for a few hrs in the day. Wondering how I keep them safe from daylight predators. I know foxs n coons rarely go out but what if they are hungry? What do yall do to build safe pens?
 

JackE

Crowing
Apr 26, 2010
2,327
756
281
North Eastern Md.
You have to have your coop built tough, to withstand predator attacks. Thin and cheesy/cheap is not the way to go. My pop door is a solid piece of 2X12" cut down and beveled to fit tight, into the popdoor opening. It is secured by a hasp with a carabiner clip. All the other openings are cover by hardware cloth, stapled down with heavy duty staples, with all the edges covered by solid wood trim.
Sounds like you had a fox breakin, they will kill and take a bunch of birds away and bury them for later. Don't think a daytime fox attack is a rare event. I lost 16 birds in two separate day attacks. They WILL come out and attack in broad daylight. What I did, for a safe pen, was buy electrified poultry netting/fence from Premier. I have the coop surrounded by 600' of it. It has worked great for me. The chickens can come out everyday and do what they want, and I don't have to worry about them.
Jack
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,296
20,157
907
Southeast Louisiana
That sounds like some kind of canine, possibly but not likely fox, more likely coyotes or dogs. Maybe a pack instead of just one though that really sounds like something a dog would do, just playing.

Since they got in under the wire, I suggest you install an apron. Take maybe 18” to 24” of wire fencing and lay it horizontal around your run and maybe coop if you have one on the edge of the play area. Attach that to the bottom of your fencing. I use J-clips but hog rings or weaving a good wire in there will work well. You don’t have to bury it, just lay something on it to weigh it down, but I think it’s a good idea to take the sod off, maybe 2” deep, lay the wire, and put the sod back. That keeps it out of the way of lawn mowers or weed eaters. The idea is that a predator comes up to the fence, starts to dig, hits the wire, and doesn’t know to back up.

If that play pen is mobile, just weigh the apron down with something, maybe a board.

If you just use fencing along the ground, it’s not that hard for something to just push their way under it, not even having to dig much if at all.

Some of those predators may be more active at night, but I’ve seen plenty of foxes, coyotes, and other things active during the daytime. Dogs especially.

Since it is something fairly big, and they are likely to come back, I suggest something like 2” x 4” welded wire. They are likely to just rip chicken wire apart. Use something of reasonably strong gauge.
 

JackE

Crowing
Apr 26, 2010
2,327
756
281
North Eastern Md.
I don't think it's dogs. The poster said the 14 were taken, dogs would just kill and main and then leave them where they fell. I don't know about coyotes, I guess they would take and stash food away for later though.
Jack
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,296
20,157
907
Southeast Louisiana
Yeah, it's hard to guess what it is. My experience with foxes is that they take one at a time. Sounds like your fox experience is a lot different.

I've had dogs kill a bunch where most just disappeared. A few feathers and a few carcasses left but most were just gone without a trace. I've seen posts on here where a dog neatly lined up about a dozen dead chickens. Just playing. Did not eat any.

The quote was "And it didn't take them far, just outside the fence". Sounds like it ate them though. Not sure how much was actually left.

Whatever it is, it does sound canine.
 
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ang13

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
13
0
24
Thanks everyone for the useful tips! I checked out the premier electric poultry fencing and also some welding wire so they cant dig under. Should be safe for future chickens and the ones I have left. Luckily I have some baby chicks in a different secure shed for now. All that was left were the feathers of at least 6, not sure about the rest if they were carried off or what. I just know it sucks big time loosing that many and they were my favorites. Lesson learned!
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Thanks again all!
 
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