What could have done this? *graphic* warning (link) :(

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ally.alli.ally, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. ally.alli.ally

    ally.alli.ally Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 13, 2011
    My little flock of 9 went down to 8 yesterday :( I was so heartbroken. Something got into the chicken run and killed my only blue layer (one that took me forever to find). And yes, I cried like a baby.

    Her body was completely intact, no marks anywhere, but her head was featherless and blood red (like something had been scraping its teeth on her). Did not eat her, though, and did not suck her blood. The other chickens were terrified but all others were okay. She wasn't the smallest hen by any means. She was a good sized, full grown EE.

    Whatever got her had to be sneaky. The run is in the backyard with the dogs. It had to be able to climb and fit into a 3"-4"gap (at the very top of the gate) and be able to climb/jump away. My dogs had gone nuts; you could see where they had tried to dig several holes next to the run to get in a get whatever killed my sweet EE.

    A friend told me a greedy snake could have done it; she told me a 4' bull snake got into her broody and the greedy guy kept trying to swallow her hen but he couldn't swallow past the shoulders, leaving a very red/swollen head.

    We have skunks around here, but not sure how sneaky they are and how well they can climb/jump. Also, there was no musky odor.

    We live in the desert of NM, so no possums. A coyote or cat is out of the question; no way the dogs would have let them in (Australian Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and GP).

    Any ideas, experts? I left the run propped open today so the dogs could protect them. I had to lock my 6 month great pyrenees puppy up because she is a chicken killer, no doubt. She likes to "play" with them, but doesn't understand that she hurts them. Thats another issue within itself (raised her with them but she likes to pounce and chew on them) I'v got to resolve.

    Thank you, everyone, ahead of time!! I am hoping to find out what it was so I can further protect them in the future!

    *warning- the pictures are graphic*

    http://i1136.photobucket.com/albums/n482/allyallially/photocopy2-1.jpg

    http://i1136.photobucket.com/albums/n482/allyallially/photocopy3-1.jpg
     
  2. Chickenfan4life

    Chickenfan4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Planet No
    Umm, it sounds like a snake to me. Another animal would have left puncture wounds. Now, what kind of snake is a mystery... [​IMG]
     
  3. ally.alli.ally

    ally.alli.ally Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 13, 2011
    Thank you for your input. If it is a snake that got her, I am guessing a bull snake. There are tons around here and they keep away the rattlesnakes. They get really big. The last one I saw was at least 5'. :( They can dig very deep and very well... not sure how to prevent them from getting into the run. :(
     
  4. Chickenfan4life

    Chickenfan4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Planet No
    Hmm, now that I think about it, we caught a bull snake trying to eat one of our chickens, and its neck looked that way, too, since that stupid snake didn't succeed at doing anything more than suffocating the poor chicken. This was years back, though... I think it was a bull snake. Any other animal would have eaten the body... [​IMG]
     
  5. Chickenfan4life

    Chickenfan4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Planet No
    I am sorry about you're loss. [​IMG]
     
  6. Windy Way Farms

    Windy Way Farms New Egg

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    Jul 3, 2012
    Hardware cloth would keep them out. But it would be some work and cost to you.
     
  7. ally.alli.ally

    ally.alli.ally Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 13, 2011
    Thank you. I get really attached to my girls.

    Do you have any advice for keeping the snakes out since you've dealt with them before?
     
  8. ally.alli.ally

    ally.alli.ally Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 13, 2011
    We have hardware cloth several feet up the run. We may need to put it up higher, though. Bull snakes are crazy-good diggers :( I wonder if a hot electric fence along the bottom would help?
     
  9. Butthead1969

    Butthead1969 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 16, 2012
    North Central Washinton
    Maybe get some Guienea Hens.... They don't like snakes and will peck them to death...
     
  10. ally.alli.ally

    ally.alli.ally Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 13, 2011

    Good idea! I bought 3 guineas at the beginning of Spring. I kept them locked up for 2-3 months, but as soon as I let them out to free range, they disappeared. We are moving into our new home, and it will have 6' horse fence up around the entire property so hopefully that will keep them in and help protect them.
     

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