Total devastation over night......

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ChickaPea2014, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. ChickaPea2014

    ChickaPea2014 In the Brooder

    Nov 18, 2014
    Upstate NY
    My worst nightmare was realized last Monday night. My son and I went out to our coop that houses 10 hens, 3 peahens and 1 peacock to collect eggs around 5:30pm. All was well and normal everyone was as happy as clams. I have an interior light to boost egg production in the coop and I'm sure all of you know that it also boosts activity and tricks the hens into thinking it's daytime. They all free range during the day and I will go out to shut the coop door when I collect eggs but due to the false daylight all my girls kind of mill around in front of the coop even though it's clearly night time and pitch black outside. Anyway, my son and I went back inside and I gave the girls a little more "outside" time. Went back out 30 minutes later to shut their door for the night and half of my flock was gone including 2 of the peahens. Thinking they just took off for some strange reason I serached for hours with a flash light finding nothing. Finally my lazy chunky English bulldog who loves our birds went outside with me to search and that's when she led me to the 1st of many areas where there was nothing but an explosion of feathers..... Something took 6 of my babies and1 of my peahens in 30 minutes. Totally devastated over this. I've had chickens for years and never experienced anything like this. Not a drop of blood and gone without a trace except for some feathers left behind. Everything I've read points to a fox. I'm just looking for opinions and if my suspicions are correct and what I should do to prevent this from happening ever again.
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    I'm so sorry! I lost a nice hen once when I had forgotten to lock up at night. One of my pullet got into my garage and my two dogs alerted me that something was up. I grabbed the pullet and ran down to discover my entire flock was frozen in fear (cryptic) and a possum was in a nest box with a headless hen. I stuck that hen with a pitch fork, called my husband and he killed it with one shot.

    I felt terrible but it was an accident. I do believe that, while free ranging has it's risks, my flock enjoys a happier, more interesting life when they can forage outside. So it's worth the risk. Wintertime is a bummer here in Ohio with it getting dark so early. It's dark around 5:30 or 6:00. I'm ready for spring already! LOL

    Take care and maybe just keep them in for a while if you can. Those predators may be back for another quick meal. Whenever I see a hawk or fox or whatever nosing around, I just keep my flock in their coop with attached run for a few days.

    Hugs and again, so sorry!

  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    It might have been a family of racoons too. Awful when that many birds are taken at once.

    Your chickens need to be shut in the coop at sunset. When extending daylight the timer is set to turn on in morning awaking the birds early. You let them out of the coop sunrise or later.
  4. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    X2. If you put all the artificial light in the AM, they will go to bed at dusk naturally. Sorry for your loss.
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I also have my light on a timer so it comes on in the morning. I have an attached run so they can come and go as they please and still be safe. I like to free range, but have had coyote problems this year. DH just mentioned seeing coyote tracks around the coop the other day. Not going to set a trap - don't want to catch the dog.
  6. RikkiMarie

    RikkiMarie In the Brooder

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss! :( [​IMG]
    I have to admit that predators are very bad this year - I have been having a battle with a hawk since October. It took five of my baby chickens and also the hen and kept stalking my coop and pen until I got a protective netting to hang over the chicken pen. Knock on wood, the hawk does not bother with my ducks. I started making a fence around their coop, large enough for them to run back and forth and get enough space and then I covered it with the netting. For the longest time I had to keep my chickens locked up until I got the netting for over their coop. It was not a fun time and definitely not fair to them.

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