What did this

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by juliap, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. juliap

    juliap New Egg

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    Aug 19, 2010
    Hi,

    I just joined this forum and I love chickens. I need help figuring out what happened last night. So I have free range chickens and I live on the edge of a major forest in South Texas. I originally tried penning up my chickens in a large wire chicken pen we made but things kept eating them. We figured it was racoons. No matter how hard we tried to make it safe we even put wire on the ground and made it a solid cage they still got eaten. So one day I gave up and let the chickens go. I did not expect them to live throught the night but here I am a year later and I have free range chickens. I have a few super smart chickens that fly way up in the trees and survive every night. So I have on mother hen who made a nest in our shed and actually raised some babies. One night her babies finally got found and most of them were eaten except two. She decided it was not safe where she was. Our house is really strange design that we built ourselves and has a totally enclosed courtyard in the middle. So she flew up on our roof and got in our loquat trees in the courtyard and has been sleeping there every night. So I let the babies go through the house every night to the courtyard. Eventually the babies figured out how to fly up into a high window of ours and slept in it every night. One was a hen and one was a rooster. Now the hen sleeps with her mother in the courtyad and the rooster sleeps with my other rooster next door in the neighbors tree.
    So my mother hen desperatly wants to make another nest. She managed to raise some more babies and I put them in a cage with food and water. One morning I came to check on them and a raccoon(I figured)had opened the latch and eaten all of her babies. She was still alive. So finally I made a nice chicken coop. She made a nice nest and layed eggs but snakes started eating the eggs . After the snakes started eating the eggs she was too afraid to lay in the chicken coop anymore. There were also a few more times were she laid eggs in there and they got eaten by something. Also I never could get the chickens to go in there at night they were too afraid.
    So in the last few nights we have been woken up by a large thud it was the mother hen hitting the door. We decided the coons must have gotten on our roof and tried to get the chickens in the loquat trees. We went and hunted the coons that night and shot at a few. We have a fig tree right next to our house that they could have climbed. The mother hen is hurt and can't fly out of our courtyard now and made a nest of two eggs that she was sitting on. The next night our other hen hit the door and we ran outside looking for coons. We did not see any but decided to cut the fig down shorter so the coons could not climb it. We cut the fig last night and made it really short were the coons would have to jump three feet straight up to get on our roof. So I woke up this morning and the two eggs are gone and the mother hen is freaked out. What could have happened last night? I am totally clueless and I do not know what to do. Sorry this is so long. If you have any idea what got the eggs let me know.
     
  2. juliap

    juliap New Egg

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    Aug 19, 2010
    I have thought about this for awhile now and I am thinking maybe it was a snake. The eggs were just gone with no shell left. Maybe we did not see it because it was in the tree and we did not notice it. Maybe it was what freaked out our chickens because I figure if it was a coon that got in our courtyard those chickens would be dead. I am looking for it but I do not see it I hope it was able to get off our roof even though we cut the fig tree.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  3. 1_FnkyFrm

    1_FnkyFrm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 6, 2010
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    Why dont you set some traps to catch whatever it is...
     
  4. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    My Coop
    Hi juliap, I'm so sorry for the troubles you've had for your birds. I would guess that last night's attack was also a raccoon. You'd be surprised what they can climb and how far they can jump. Maybe it wasn't the fig tree that gave them access in the earlier attacks. You really should read as much as you can about predator proofing your coop here on BYC, you'll get enough ideas right away that will limit your attacks. Your birds really need a place of safety at night and only you can provide that. You can still free range during the day, but make sure they are secured every night at dusk (since all of your losses were after dark). Think about how your latches work--anything a toddler can open is easy for a raccoon. Also think about getting heavier gauge wire wherever you use wire. If there is wire near where the chickens roost at night, it needs to have holes small enough so that the predator can't reach in and pull your birds apart through the hole, this generally means 1/4" square hardware cloth. Post pictures of your coop here in this section and people will tell you where changes are needed. I'm not sure that trapping will help in the long run if you live at the edge of a major forest. There will be constant immigration of raccoons to fill the void of the ones you've removed. I'm sorry your first post here has to be on such a sad subject. However, you've come to the right place. This will be the start of your flock getting safer, and larger. Good luck and welcome to BYC.
     
  5. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    My Coop
    Quote:I'm so slow I didn't catch this update before I posted. So, the hen and the eggs weren't in a locked cage in the courtyard? You're right, it could have been a snake; it doesn't seem a raccoon would eat the eggs and not take the hen. I would still consider fortifying the coop.
     
  6. Sweetpeaswan

    Sweetpeaswan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 5, 2010
    this really does sound like a snake...yuck:barnie
     
  7. JROOSTER

    JROOSTER Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    I just wanted to say sorry you and your birds have had such a hard time. If it was me I would consider building the FORT NOX of coops and runs. I understand this is easier said then done. I wish you the best of luck in protecting your girls.
     
  8. moparmatthew

    moparmatthew Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi,I cant help with a snake but raccoons are easy am/fm radio on a talk show news channel ,doesn't need to be lowed they hear the voices and stay at a safe distance .There hearing is much better then ours and it works also for fox,fishers,skunks ect if your girls are in a run like mine and not free ranging,but it might keep um out of your court yard,hope this helps with keeping the coons away [​IMG]


    OH! and [​IMG]
     

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