Unknown Killer(s)


Apr 2, 2016
Had an issue with snakes in the sleeping quarters I thought. Had lost 8 one month old chicks. All of the flock refused to go in at night and were sleeping as far as 300 ft from the pen. Then the Hawks and Owls came. Took the flock down two thirds until problem was resolved. After treating the nesting and sleeping area I began to put them back in at night, against their wishes for sure! No problems for two nights, picked up 5 new ones yesterday and go out this morning to let them out and I'm down 2 birds. One adult hen, nothing left but feathers, one 5 month old rooster. Head and neck mutilated. This flock can free range at will, stay mostly in a 50 x 30 old dog pen with chain link. Nesting area was never closed in, one side open for 1 year before problems began. Last few nights it's been closed expect maybe 6" in space at the top of sheet metal door. No digging evidence. I live in heavily wooded acreage, chicken pen is very close to the house and there is 25 feet minimum space along fence line that is cleared. There is one young kitten that stays with the flock but has never expressed interest in them. Any one, any help?
This a view from out side

Inside where one was taken last night and what was left. Hard to see I know.


How it look looks at night, at least lately


Usually when I have lost one at night there is a good amount of feathers every where and this morning is the same. Not just the down feathers but the top layer, appear to be pulled out.
Late last night when I put them up the last one I put in was the youn rooter. I put him in a nesting box as it seems that many of them want sleep on the poles anyway. Put him in head first and that's how I found him this morning with his head and neck mutilated but still attached.
Would you think that the evidence left behind would be a coon?
I don't seem to be able to find any tracks. We have been here for most of 20 years and the only coons I've seen, or evidence of coons is some 1000 ft back at the river. Even when traps have been set have only caught rabbits and possums.
Thanks very much. My hope had been to just have come and go on their own with minimal investment but I guess I'll have to change my strategies.
Would you think that the evidence left behind would be a coon?
Yup, especially since you seen them. Put some Dukes dog proof traps out if you have a gun to kill what you trap. This well confirm that it's racoons.

They will be back for the rest of the birds if you don't secure things up. All the more reason to get the Dukes dog proof ($13), buy yourself some time to get things tightened up.
Hate to be harsh, but there is Absolutely nothing secure about your setup. Raccoons, possums, foxes, cats & even stray dogs can easily access that run and coop at night. Unless you have a dog that patrols the outside of the fenced area, you've offered up a buffet.

You need to live up to the fact you can't free range birds in your area unless you have a continuous trapping program and provide measures to address hawks.
Sucks, yep, but its a fact. All you are doing is killing birds.
Before you get anymore birds:
1. Make your coop secure with proper lockable doors. You will need some windows with hardware clothe covering for ventilation.
2. Lock them up nightly.
3. Get live traps and start trapping & killing the predators.
4. You have a hawk problem, cant kill them so you will need to make top cover for the entire pen, make sure they have lots of bushes to hide under, get a mature rooster that will protect the flock and/or build a smaller 5 sided run to secure them 24/7.

Don't get anymore birds until you have taken serious measures.

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