What got my chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by supergirl105, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. supergirl105

    supergirl105 Out Of The Brooder

    May 13, 2016
    Today I found my flock decimated! I lost 6 of 9 standard hens, and 11 of 12 bantams. 9 ducks are all okay.
    Our enclosure is an old animal corral, 35 feet by 150 feet with 7 foot fencing. Then there is a 6 foot wide "aisle way" running the length of the pen inside the main gate, to keep any of them from rushing the gate and escaping, and to allow us to split the yard later if we get different kinds of birds. Chicken wire is wrapped around bottom, and folded down on the inside, and tin folded and buried on the outside to discourage any digging predators. I thought we had so much redundancy that they were safe.
    Walking around the enclosure tonight I can only find this small tunnel sized hole.
    What could have done this, and how do I keep it from happening again? I have everyone locked in the grow out pen for tonight. It is a 6x10 chain link dog kennel. Hopefully that will keep them safe for tonight.
  2. Eggsoteric

    Eggsoteric Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 25, 2010
    Was there any evidence left behind? If so, what? Or did your birds simply disappear? Can you give us your general location? I'm so sorry this happened. I know all too well how heartbreaking it is to suffer losses in those numbers.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
  3. Rock Home Isle

    Rock Home Isle Chillin' With My Peeps


    I live in town. This is what I use to catch any culprits that might want to make a meal out of my chickens. The trap opening is 13 inches X 13 inches, and 36 inches in length. Once the predator steps on the treadle, the door closes and your predator problems are solved. Any one that keeps chickens should have at least a pair of these for quick use when predators stalk our birds.

    Bait it with a tin of cat food food and set it each night. Don't leave it set during the day, all you'll catch is a bunch of chickens. You'll need to stake it so it cannot be turned over, if the trap rolls over the washers will slide and the trap door will open. If the predator escapes, they just got a free education as to what to avoid in the future.

    It works great for squirrels, weasels, mink, feral cats, small dogs, dumb foxes with a lower I.Q., and raccoons; basically most of the animals that want to make a meal out of our birds.
  4. supergirl105

    supergirl105 Out Of The Brooder

    May 13, 2016
    Thanks for replying!!
    I live in rural West Texas.

    I will definitely get some traps!!
    Some were just killed and left. A few were missing. A few were just pieces left behind. It was terrible to have to clean them up!
    We got them as TSC babies, so it has been so amazing to watch them grow. The bantams especially, they were so beautiful and such beautiful colorings as they grew!

    My neighbors think it was a fox or feral cats that climbed the fence to get in. There are no other tracks around, no dig marks.

    I have been putting them in the smaller enclosure in the big enclosure at night, and so far, so good. Yesterday evening they were even standing by the gate, waiting for me to open it. :)

    What else can I do to protect them in the future? I plan to build an actual coop, but I read that ducks won't go in a coop.
    Is there a feasible way to enclose the top of a pen this large?
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
  5. whirlwind2357

    whirlwind2357 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would say weasel judging from the size of the hole, and the fact that there were pieces left. Weasels can squeeze through most mesh, even chicken wire. What i've found to work be at keeping them out is wrapping the pen/coop in 1/2 inch hardware cloth. You can also fold the wire out a bit at the bottom so that a predator would have to dig in farther. Hope this helps!

    Edit: I just read your other post, glad that they're doing OK. Ducks will go into a coop as long as it's close to the ground, but you might have to put them into it for about a week so that they get used to it.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  6. Kim Z

    Kim Z Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2014
    Madbury, New Hampshire
    I second whirlwind. Weasels will do exactly what you described. I lost most of my Guinea flock the same way to a mink. So sorry for your loss.
    You can never go overboard in your use of hardware cloth. Keeps predators out where chicken wire can't.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by