Two Dead Chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by EChambers, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. EChambers

    EChambers New Egg

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    I have lost two chickens in the past month, both were perfectly healthy, they recently got over a respiratory infection I treated with Tylon 50, but other than that I hadn't had a problem with either. The coop is right outside of a high school classroom and although we live in a some what rural area we don't see a lot of wildlife around the school other than foxes and there is no way for them into the coop, and from what I have read they would take the body.

    One was a Easter Egger hen and the second was a Wyandotte cross rooster. Both were found laying flat with there heads tucked back under themselves at a very awkward angle. Neither were really bloody or had huge laceration wounds.

    I am worried that I either have a different health issue going on that I don't know about, all the chickens come into the coop last October from several different farms and although they all seemed healthy I have never lost this many before (in total I have lost 4 in the 5 months, two were older and had troubles coming back from the respiratory issues) or that I have a predator getting into my coop. From what I have read there are some animals that kill for fun, or drain the animal of blood, I'm just lost for ideas at this point.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Zoomie

    Zoomie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First, welcome to the BYC, although I'm sorry for the reason you are here. Also, if you put your location in your profile, then people will be able to give you better help. For example Alaska has different predators than Australia. Since I don't know where you are in the world, I'll just pretend that you are right down the street from me and give advice based on that assumption (which of course might be completely wrong).

    I'm not real clear on the condition of the bodies so again, I'm guessing and might be wrong. It sounds like there was some blood, and maybe some small wounds but not big ones... is that right? Anyway I'll try to guess.

    I am guessing a weasel? They are really small and can get in through amazingly tiny holes. Usually though, they kill every chicken in sight, but sometimes they don't.

    You say there was some blood on the hens but not a lot? Were there tiny puncture wounds in the back of the head and neck? If so that would point to a weasel or something like that... Mink, fisher, etc. Do you have a game camera by chance? You could set it up in the coop and then you would have a better idea if something were getting in and doing this. You may want to go through your coop very thoroughly, checking for holes in the floor and any tiny gaps.

    Sorry I can't be any better help than that.

    I sure hope you can get to the bottom of this and figure out the culprit.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC.

    Yes, location is always good to know.......and pics of coop/run.
    Pics of carcasses in situ would help too.

    Were they near the fence or out in the middle?

    Birds can be scared by something trying to get in and fly into a wall and break their necks.

    The disease aspect cannot be ignored with several bird sources used, the already treated respiratory issues, and the fact that many diseases can be carried without symptoms only to bloom and sicken/kill when stress weakens the immune system and/or contagion takes some time to spread.

    Did you have a vet do a swab for correct meds before treating respiratory illness?
    A necropsy might be the only way to really know if and what disease might have struck them down.
     
  4. EChambers

    EChambers New Egg

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    Jul 27, 2016
    I live in Norther Illinois, just 10 minutes south of the Wisconsin border.

    Unfortunately due to the fact that high school students are involved I did not get a chance to take pictures or really observe the body. I try to dispose of the bodies discreetly and quickly.

    Both bodies have been found inside the coop on a Monday after a weekend where students and staff have not been at the school. There appears to be no blood or sign of struggle, no feathers around the coop. My only reasoning for thinking it was a predator is due to the fact that his neck was at a very awkward angle back, similar to the one that I found about 3 weeks ago.

    On the coop there are small holes that form after a heavy rain, at the corners of the outdoor run, there about 3 to 4 inches high and 5-6 inches wide, and I worry that a small animal such as a weasel might get in.

    I did not have any formal evaluation of the birds done.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Hmmm...would love to see pics, wonders how rain can open a hole.

    Yes, weasel family is a likely suspect, the smaller ones can get thru a 1" hole....4x6 is huge.
    They bite/break the neck and can only drink the blood....
    ...but with a whole weekend undisturbed I'd think they'd eat the flesh too.
     
  6. EChambers

    EChambers New Egg

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    Jul 27, 2016
    The rain actually erodes the ag-lime out of the corners and causes a hole.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  8. EChambers

    EChambers New Egg

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    I plan of filling the hole with driveway gravel to prevent this from happening again.
     

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