The consequence of complacency. Half my flock gone.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by jbeal9, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. jbeal9

    jbeal9 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 17, 2009
    Well, after 3 years of no predators we have become complacent and not been real consistent about closing up the chicken house each night. So in one night 6 hens disappeared! Just feathers and blood in the hen house. Now my 4 remaing pullets and 2 roosters refuse to go back in the chicken house, preferring to roost in the barn. We found a very young opposum in the barn but I can't believe it was the culprit. Whatever it was it was large enough to kill and carry off 6 full grown Buff Orphingtons. I'm thinking either coyotes or a fox? And how do I coax the remaining flock to return to the chicken house?
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  2. panner123

    panner123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2007
    Garden Valley, ca
    If the coop is secure and you can catch the chickens do so. Then put them in the coop, you may have to so this a few times, but once they are sure it is safe to stay in the coop, they will.
     
  3. jbeal9

    jbeal9 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 17, 2009
    We were thinking of luring them back into the chicken yard with a treat block and closing the gate behind them. Hopefully they will go into the hen house from there and not try to roost in the trees. But I guess, either way, they would be within some sort of confined area. By all accounts given of common chicken predators, I am thinking fox or coyote and neither of those could scale the fence.
     
  4. Hot2Pot

    Hot2Pot Fox Hollow Rabbitry

    Feb 1, 2010
    West TN
    Guess again. Your run must have a secure roof or your chickens will all feed predators. Period.
     
  5. jbeal9

    jbeal9 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 17, 2009
    Yeah, I forgot about owls and climbers. Well if can at least get them in the fenced area it will be easier to catch them if they won't go in the coop by themselves. Do you think, since we've found no bodies, that it's a fox or a coyote? Does any other predator carry the carcass off?
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  6. the4heathernsmom

    the4heathernsmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2008
    east texas
    birds of prey will carry them off....i hv had a coon carry one off.....that sounds like a larger predator though... [​IMG]
     
  7. jbeal9

    jbeal9 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 17, 2009
    Do you think a bird would take 4 in one night?
     
  8. Hot2Pot

    Hot2Pot Fox Hollow Rabbitry

    Feb 1, 2010
    West TN
    Bobcats took 20 ducks from one lady over a short period of time, another lost over 20 to coons tearing off body parts in one night! Really , it makes little difference what is killing them. The predators will be back, and even if you killed whatever took your birds, more predators fill the gap. I know firsthand how upsetting it is to lose birds. But it is up to us to secure them so they are safe. Your chicken coop must not have any cracks a coon can reach in. It will wiggle it's fingers until the chicken goes to see what it is. The coon grabs the chicken and chews off any available part. To test your coop, put a light on at night and see where the gaps are. You must have welded wire or chain link fence on the bottom three feet of the run. Above three feet, so far, chicken wire secured with poultry staples will generally be ok. Those flimsy T50 staples are useless. Regular chicken wire is useless against dogs, coyotes and determined foxes. You need to dig a trench around the run and bury wire like a skirt, or they will dig their way in. It isn't easy, and it isn't cheap, but if we want live chickens, then that is what we must do.:p
     
  9. jmc

    jmc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2008
    South Central MA
    Quote:indeed, fox and coyote could easily scale the fence, unless it is a tall floppy-top
     
  10. jbeal9

    jbeal9 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 17, 2009
    Thanks for all the input everyone. I think we've decided to end the daytime free ranging and add a cover to the top of the yard. The coop itself is fairly secure but I did spend a couple hours this morning building a better door for the back portion of the coop where we keep the broodies and younger pullets. I imagine by now, the news is out in the predator kingdom that it's an 'all you can kill & carry chicken buffet' at the Beal farm. I am perplexed why we have never had predators before. Just dumb luck, I guess. [​IMG]
     

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