What can I do? 2nd loss this week

callieisspooky

Songster
7 Years
Jul 18, 2012
166
5
101
Carmel Valley, CA
We have lost three chickens to predators this year. The first I thought was a fluke, but the last two have been taken in the daylight, in a fenced yard (granted a low fence), within an hour of being let out - like something is waiting. I think it's a fox or bobcat, since we have plenty of those around here, and all that is left is a very small tuft of feathers.

I'm going to reinforce the fence and look for holes, but is there anything else I can do? Clear out underbrush near the coop maybe? Should I never let the chickens free-range again? They will be so sad. But alive.

We have some turkeys also. Are turkeys large enough that a fox or bobcat will be less likely to attack?
 

callieisspooky

Songster
7 Years
Jul 18, 2012
166
5
101
Carmel Valley, CA
The coop enclosure is fully enclosed (floor and roof), but when I let them out to free range, lowest part of fence is only 3' high split rail supplemented with chicken wire.
 

thomasboyle

Songster
7 Years
Feb 28, 2013
935
320
186
NW Hills of CT
I had the same problem, foxes and bobcats picking off my chickens, ducks and guineas. I went with an electric net fence around the chicken yard. No, they no longer had free range of the entire place, but they have a safe area they can be out and about. Since getting the net fence, my losses have stopped. Its a pricy upgrade, but it was either that or lose all my birds or keep them in a small run all day. Here's a shot of my neighborhood bobcat. He is about 15' from the coop run.

 

Muffinburgler

Chirping
7 Years
Feb 8, 2012
153
10
91
Watsonville, CA
What time do you let them out to free range? I don't let my chickens out of the coop until after 8 AM. By then most of the predators are in bed.

Maybe only let them free range when you can sit out there with them, like before or after dinner.
 

DaveMorey

Chirping
6 Years
Jul 30, 2013
135
11
63
Westminster, Vermont
A 3 or 4 foot fence is not an unrealistic jump for a fox or bobcat. Electric fencing would help but perhaps some predator elimination is in order. I say hunt the culprit and eliminate it.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,769
40,411
1,156
southern Michigan
You need a safe daytime pen; covered, good fencing, dig-proof base. Then your birds can be out of the coop while you either discourage the hawks, or eliminate the other bad guys.. Live traps set at night next to the coop most of the time, and bury the coons, foxes, and possums. Mary
 

thomasboyle

Songster
7 Years
Feb 28, 2013
935
320
186
NW Hills of CT
My trail camera took pictures of the bobcat at 10am, 3pm, 7pm and I ran across him personally at 10pm, all within 6 days. I let them out in the late afternoon until sunset. So far the electric fence appears to have kept the predators at bay.
 
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MANNA-PRO

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