Well..it happened to little ol naive me

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by parkersmom120106, May 17, 2010.

  1. parkersmom120106

    parkersmom120106 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 9, 2008
    Middleburg, FL
    Hey all,

    Well...I was/am keeping my chickens in a pen that's not predator proof. I rationalized it because the neighbors (across the street and next door) both keep chickens that wander their yard. The pen is just 3 ft tall woven wire on t posts attached to a metal shed. The run part is temporary as I had planned on turning them loose in the 100x150 pen once we get the new field fencing up. They would be free in it with the goats I'm going to get once the pen is up. Right now the pen is just electric wire..it didn't work so I had to sell the goats to get the money for field fencing. So anyway..they've been in there for over a week with no signs of anything trying to mess with them. Today I went to feed and found 2 dead RIRs. One was pulled through the fence and missing it's head and a wing. The other was laying in the pen. It rained this morning so the dead ones were soaked. I'm guessing it happened last night. One of the 10, 3 month old RIRs is still alive. The other 7 along with my 2, 3 month old barred rocks are just gone. There are 7 chickens in there that are just fine including my little serama roo. It doesn't seem as if whatever it was got in the pen. There aren't feathers and the fact that the others survived unscathed. But I'm wondering where the hell the missing 7 are? I wonder if they got freaked out and jumped out of the pen and are hiding in my yard someplace? My Dad suggested tying one of my dogs nearby the pen so if something comes near it they will bark and scare it away. Problem is all my dogs are pets that are used to sleeping in the house..they would bark their fool heads off all night long. I guess I will be moving them into the A frame coop. It will be cramped, but only temporary. I'm guessing that the repellants probably wouldn't work if the critter really wanted my chickens. The bantam cochins that are in the other a frame coop are fine. The wire isn't disturbed at all. This is so frustrating. I'd like to get a livestock gaurdian dog for when the fence is up, but I don't trust any dog with the chickens. Anyway..the point of this rambling is just a little warning to the new chicken people. Don't be naive..something will get your chickens if they aren't secure. Also..if anyone can suggest a breed that is commonly available that would make a good LGD please let me know. The breeds that I've read about aren't commonly available here. Thanks for listening.
     
  2. rachelbinnc

    rachelbinnc Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 11, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I'm sorry this happened! I have had something similar happen and I know how sad it feels. Unfortunately, without a secure coop, it is only a matter of time. Your neighbors who free range their chickens will get hit eventually too. I went 9 months with my girls free ranging during the day in my fenced backyard and felt very secure about it -- then about a month ago a stray dog killed four of them and injured 3. You can be lucky for a long time, as I was, but eventually something is going to try to eat your chickens.

    I'm guessing yours were attacked by a raccoon or maybe several. They are notorious for reaching through wire and eating whatever they can pull out. And once they find a good food source, they will definitely be back, so make sure you have another option for them tonight.

    To make a coop as predator-proof as possible, make sure you use hardward cloth (not chicken wire) with the small holes (i think mine is quarter inch). If you cannot afford to cover the whole coop in the stuff, at least use it around the lower few feet of the walls. Bury it to a depth of 18 inches or so to prevent digging, or flare a couple of feet out at the base to form an apron. Foxes, dogs and raccoons can all chew through chicken wire, so it is a lousy deterrent, not to mention the holes are too big. Also, it sounds like you do not have a roof on your coop? You definitely want to have a secure top overhead. Predators can be very persistent about getting at what they see as a sure meal. The dog I was telling you about who got my chickens? He climbed a six foot fence to do it.

    None of us are perfect and all we can do is learn from our mistakes. Good luck!
     
  3. fancbrd4me02

    fancbrd4me02 Chillin' With My Peeps

    At some point this happens to just about everyone. Just build a good solid pen and teach the chickens to go into at night, and you shouldn't have any more problems.
     
  4. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    Oregon
    Sorry you lost your hens. [​IMG] It is our responsibility to protect them as they are (unfortunately) a favorite food of many creatures.

    If its coyotes then they could hurt or kill your dog as it would defenseless tied up so I would not recommend that. Teach the hens to go in the hen-house every night and lock it up securely. You may have to physically put them in on the roost each night for a while to get them to do it. Remember--raccoons can and will open simple locks--get a complicated one!
     
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    If your fencing was only three feet tall, I would bet the others flew out with all the chaos going on, so maybe they'll show back up. Even when you get the field fencing, be sure to put your girls in the housing each night and shut their door; that's the safest night time security measure. Raccoons can climb over any fence, whether it's chicken wire or field fence. Sorry about poor chickens.
     
  6. parkersmom120106

    parkersmom120106 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 9, 2008
    Middleburg, FL
    The chickens that are left are now in the a-frame coop. I'm hoping they'll be ok in there. It's in a different part of the yard, and it's right next to the house. That's probably not enough to deter the coons, but It's the best I have for now. They're gonna be cramped (6 full sized hens with 1 serama roo in a 4x8 coop/run) but it's just temporary. When I rebuild the run out back I'm going to make it 4 feet tall with a top. I'm going to be using the leftover field fence, so I'll put hardware cloth around the bottom too. I've been out there a few times today and see no sign of the missing chickens. I may have to knock on the neighbors door and see if any of them showed up in her yard. They may have gone over there when the fled the ruckus and just stayed with her chickens. Who knows. I got the 4 leghorns that survived recently because they're already laying. I got them a week ago and haven't gotten any eggs. Now I'll be waiting even longer after this stress I'm sure. Thanks for the advice all.
     
  7. chickee

    chickee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Look what I had to do to keep the predators out! Notice the three strands of electric wire on top? A bob cat went right through them, got my 7# BW rooster and drug him back through it!!! [​IMG] We have increased the height of the fence and put the electric wire back on top and so far the bob cat hasn't gotten back in! [​IMG] My chickens are locked up tight in their house at night so I have never had a raccoon attack [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. fancbrd4me02

    fancbrd4me02 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:That is so cool.... It's like a maximum security prison for chickens....Or Chick-antamo Bay!
     
  9. chickee

    chickee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:That is so cool.... It's like a maximum security prison for chickens....Or Chick-antamo Bay!

    Thanks~ [​IMG] Our Granddaughter calls it the "Chicken-Pen-itentiary" [​IMG]
     
  10. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Jan 27, 2007
    BOCOMO
    chickee wrote: Look what I had to do to keep the predators out!

    Well, that certainly deserves the...

    [​IMG]
     

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