What do you think got them?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Glenbogel06, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. Glenbogel06

    Glenbogel06 In the Brooder

    Jan 16, 2008
    Berkeley Springs, WV
    Let me preface this by saying that I'm new to chicken keeping. Last friday something got into the chicken pen and killed one of our chickens and mortally wounded another. The strange thing is that the fight appears to have taken place both in the fenced in area where the dead body was found and inside the hen house itself where I found a huge pile of feathers and some blood.

    I know very little about the condition of the dead chicken (my brother handled it, and I really don't want to know!) other than the body was mostly intact, laying on the ground around the side of the hen house (but in the fenced in area) and chomped on the top side only. The one that was mortally wounded was found outside of the fenced in area in some brush.

    This old coop had a 9 foot fence around it (except in one small area) and no top. We have since re-done the coop so that it now has a fencing top on it and is 9 feet all around with no possible holes. We piled up logs all around the interor and exterior of the fencing to discourage digging animals.

    Any thoughts on what might have gotten to the chickens? We were betting on a bird of some sort until we saw the feathers in the coop. Any ideas?
  2. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Birds of prey do 'pluck' their prey before eating it - so if it was an owl or hawk that was brave enought to go into the coop, it may have felt very safe there to pluck and eat the chicken.

    Also, if the chicken is big, then the raptor may not be able to fly away with it, so will pluck and eat it's fill and then fly away.

    Having said that, the fact that there were TWO taken, and that one was found outside the fence with a large bite wound makes me think it was more likely a 4-legged predator of some kind.

    With a 9ft fence, it's not likely to be a dog, but I'm thinking prehaps a racoon or possum OR a varmit like a weasel if they are found in your area.

    Anyone else hazard a guess?

    Oh, and WELCOME to the forum - this is the very best forum anywhere [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2008
  3. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Sorry for your losses...
    If it looks like there's been a pillow explosion, it was probably a bird of prey.

    If there's blood and gore, it was a 4 footed predator.
    Depending on where you are it could've been a raccoon, a weasel, a fisher cat, a wolverine, a fox, a coyote, a wolf...
  4. Glenbogel06

    Glenbogel06 In the Brooder

    Jan 16, 2008
    Berkeley Springs, WV
    Thanks for the info. This is a fabulous web site, full of very useful info.

    We've had the chickens for about a month an a half now, and it's amazing how quickly you become attached. My mom and I were just sick when we heard that two of them had been killed.

    I am just constantly worried about them now, but hopefully that will subside.
  5. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    It does, hun...
    Before I had chickens myself, I thought they were food and nothing else...
    But you really do get attached.
    I don't have either of my original 2, Tom Brunanski(killed by a raccoon) and Jerry Remy(rehomed). And only one left of my second batch...Slifer the Sky Dragon died of Bumblefoot. Obelisk the Tormentor is the Queen of the House and Miss MoneyPenny, my latest acquisition, is her little sidekick.
  6. LinckHillPoultry

    LinckHillPoultry Songster

    Jan 17, 2008
    My guess is a weasel. Weasels are incredibly sneaky. They can go under and through fence. They dont eat the whole chicken though, usually they just chomp the head off and suck out the blood. Do you have cats or any pets around that would go up to your coop? If not I suggest setting a trap.
  7. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    Unfortunately, whatever did it will come back. The way they are. Can you shut them in at night to protect them?
  8. jeaucamom

    jeaucamom Songster

    Oct 1, 2007
    Ophir, CA
    Welcome Glenbogle!!! (Isn't that the name of the BBC sitcom castle??) Anyway.... so sorry for your loss. I will be praying for your hearts to heal! I agree that shutting them in at night is the very best way to keep them safe from most of the dangers out there!! Hopefully you will never have to face this again. Blessings, Suz
  9. Glenbogel06

    Glenbogel06 In the Brooder

    Jan 16, 2008
    Berkeley Springs, WV
    jeaucamom - good catch on the BBC reference!

    To all - Yes the girls are now lock in at night. We have re-done their coop so that there is now an outer fence & and inner fence with a thick wire roof on it. (both fences are now about 8 feet tall. The chickens can go in and out of their hen house through a small chicken door, but the chicken door leads to the fenced and roofed in area. We have piled logs around both the insides and outsides of both sets of fences to ward away the digging animals that extends out 8-12 inches on each side from fences (and I am thinking about hiring a body guard for them too!! LOL). But you have your girls killed once, and you don't ever want it to happen again. Its amazing how attached I've become to them!
  10. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

    Apr 16, 2007
    Evening Shade, AR
    So sorry for your loss! :aww

    This link might help you identify what type of critter got your birds.

    Hope this helps!


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