What got my chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by tharrell, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. tharrell

    tharrell Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 28, 2008
    Colorado Springs
    I opened the door to let the dogs out this morning, and got quite a shock. Only one of my 5 chickens was alive, and the whole yard was littered with feathers. Two chickens were laying dead in the yard with just their heads missing, and the other two were gone. Our chickens free range during the day, but are closed in their coop at night. My husband and I were trying to figure out what animal would kill them, but not take the bodies to eat. We know we have foxes that live by us, but there are so many that I'm sure they could handle 4 chickens. Also, can a fox jump a 6 food stone wall into our backyard? Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
     
  2. Badlatitude

    Badlatitude Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 24, 2009
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    Its really hard to say without knowing a location. Check your perimiter fencings for holes in the fencing , evidence of digging or a trail animals could be using. Sounds canine to me. Possibly even a couple of late born young coyotes that are now reaching 6-8 months old is possible. Did you fun any tracks around the yard in soft soil?

    The reason I think late born pair of sibling coyotes ( or maybe foxes) is they killed 4 and carried off 2.

    NOW would be a great time to set a trap! You have fresh bait they killed last night and they will be comming back tonight to see whats on the menu!
     
  3. the Old Rebel

    the Old Rebel Rest in Peace -2011

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    May 12, 2007
    Hendersonville NC
    It sounds like a raccoon to me. Raccoons bite the head off to debrain the bird. It causes the feathers to come out quite easily. They usually then go straight to the middle of the back and bite a deep hole. They are more than able to carry one off too. They quite often travel in pairs or as a family.

    We've had two chickens (one hen and one BIG rooster) survive raccoon attacks. We actually heard the commotion in our hen house about 1:00 in the morning one morning. We FLEW out there and caught the scoundrel. He had bitten our hen's head, but did not bite it off. Her head swelled huge. She was black and blue as if she had been beaten. She ended up losing one eye. We called her Miracle after that.

    He had already killed two others of our hens. He had tried to stuff one under the fence to his waiting mate.

    Raccoons can be tough predators. We now have a critter-friendly trap that we bait with canned cat food. When we catch one (and we catch them often), we haul them far, far away to a State Park area where there is fresh water, heavily wooded areas, and NO livestock close by. There are those who believe this isn't right, because you are taking them out of their territory and putting them in other coons territories. But I cannot kill something that is just busy being what God created it to be.

    By the way, I've heard it said that you have to take them at least 10 miles or more away or they will come right back (or die trying).

    Hope I didn't type too much. Good luck with your remaining bird.

    PS Raccoons can scale ANY kind of wall, I think. I've seen them go straight up the side of our hen house. If there is a hole in a fence or around your coop ANYWHERE, they WILL find it sooner or later. I think they must have a keen sense of smell. Anyway, let us know if you find out for sure what it was.
     
  4. chickensioux

    chickensioux Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2009
    Western North Carolina
    I agree with everything the Old Rebel said.....
     

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