We lost more than half our flock.. but to what?? (Graphic pictures)

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by jemagsy, May 13, 2008.

  1. jemagsy

    jemagsy Songster

    Mar 8, 2008
    Our chicks are six weeks old and have been outside for a week. We have a lot of predators in the area bears, hawks, racoons, possums, snakes, rats, feral cats, etc. But we built our coop to stand up to those predators or so we thought.

    This morning I had to leave the house early cause my crown broke (again) so it wasn't even daylight yet (right around 6 am), but I went to check on the girls anyways. Two of them were sitting right next to the door of the enclosed run and I was like "girls yall aren't supposed to leave the coop!" Our coop is inside the enclosed run, which is COMPLETELY enclosed, wire all the way around it. I knew something was off cause they don't usually get up until sunrise and so I opened the run door and started seeing bodies everywhere.

    I ran back to the house and started beating on the window to get my husband's attention then ran back out to the coop. Our easter egger, my abs favorite of the girls, who was just getting her beard & muff in was lying on the coop floor next to the GL Wynadotte.... The SL Wynadotte who was finally starting to get that white/silver color throughout her body was lying at the edge of the coop and our Beautiful Red Star was up underneath the coop, split straight down the middle with her guts exposed.

    The problem is we have NO idea how they got in. There is not a single piece of wire cut, broken, pulled aside, no dirt has been dug up and we never leave the run open for longer than it takes to walk inside. We did have a little problem yesterday where the netting above the door was loose but we cut off some wood and secured it right after dinner. We did our usual 3 times (before we leave, when we get home, when we put them to bed) a day walk-through when we put the girls to bed. They were acting a little off the past two days fighting each other to be back against the wall in the corner. We couldn't figure that out but figured it was just a crazy chicken thing... now I wonder if they knew? Or maybe they had already seen something previously??

    Do you all have any idea what did this?? I have posted pictures just so people could actually see what happened maybe it will make more sense that what I've posted.

    We have taken the two survivors back to the brooder in the barn... my husband is even more heartbroken than I am. We just cannot figured out what we missed in their defenses or what was small enough to get through.


    Last edited: May 13, 2008
  2. bangor777

    bangor777 Songster

    May 4, 2008
    OH my God,
    I'm so sorry for your loss! I have no idea what could have gotten them. Are they locked in a coop at night? I feel terrible for you!
  3. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    They say a skunk can get through any hole it can fit its head through. We had one get in our dogs kennel years ago and that is when i learned that. I wonder what your run is made of for wire? I am sorry for your loss. I have heard of people on BYC using a baby monitor to hear if trouble strikes the coop. It sounds like a good investment for you. It sure sounds like you went above and beyond to keep them safe. Maybe you need to double up whatever the run in made of. I assume it is underground to keep things from getting under......so i hope you are able to find some answers. Good luck.
  4. s6bee

    s6bee Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    Western, NY
    Do have pictures of your coop/run where maybe we can pick apart things to figure out how that "thing" got in there?

    I am so sorry.
  5. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Crowing

    Mar 25, 2008
    I wish I had answers for you. That is terrible. [​IMG] All I can think of is maybe a weasel. We have them here in VA, so I'm quite certain that you have them there in Georgia. They can be quite mean and do a lot of devastation. They can also fit through a hole the size of your thumb, so that would make the most sense. Especially if you can't find any signs of entrance. I would suggest you and your DH look around really well to see if there are any holes that your thumb could fit in and get them plugged up.

    Again, I'm so sorry. [​IMG]
  6. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    It sounded like you have an open coop and the birds might let themselves in and out. If so, you might want to change that. If you live where you know there are many predators, you should have a coop that you lock up tight at dark. I have double doors on my coop so anything wanting them would have to hold one door up while getting in through the next door and nothing has ever done it.
  7. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    A skunk wouldn't bother the birds, but would take the eggs...
    I almost want to say a raccoon. The fifth pic down looks like what was left of Tom after the raccoon visited her and Jerry.

    If they were up in the corner, it's because something was trying to get in...testing the defenses...

    I'd check what you fixed yesterday...betcha that's how he got in.

    I'm so very very sorry for your losses...
    I just lost Miss MoneyPenny to a hawk 2 weeks ago Thursday...
  8. chichimama5

    chichimama5 Hatching

    May 11, 2008
    we had the same thing happen to us last year~~its sad~~~we hadnt been locking our hens up at night and they had a enclosed pen~~thay would come in and out. we woke to fence ripped off and bodies and feathers everywhere. we were told it was probaly a fox or racoon. we lock our girls and guy up everynight now~~lessons lerned~not easy though im sorry!!
  9. keeperofthechickens

    keeperofthechickens In the Brooder

    Mar 1, 2007
    Twin Cities, MN
    I have had skunks kill birds before but it was never more than one, and it was normally a hen on eggs.

    I don't think it's a weasel either, from my experience they do kill a lot, but don't tear up the bodies like in your picture.

    It looks like a raccoon to me, with an outside chance of a mink or cat doing it.

    I would run an electric fence around the coop.

    Sorry for your loss.
  10. KrisRose

    KrisRose Songster

    Mar 9, 2007
    Davison, MI.
    Get a trap and bait with one of your dead chickens. Most likely a coon. Check everywhere. Roof to ground. If you can't see it ask someone else to look. Coons are spawn from hell.
    Sorry about your loss.
    Last edited: May 13, 2008

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: