What got my gals? Raccoon or something else?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Curlita, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. Curlita

    Curlita Chillin' With My Peeps

    158
    1
    121
    May 22, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I need some help ID-ing a predator. I've lost 4 chickens in the past 6 months. I have been assuming that it was a raccoon, but as I read more about predator MO's I'm wondering if it might have been something else.

    Here are the facts...
    In March, the coop and run were left open over night and one chicken disappeared. I found three or four areas in the chicken run and back yard that had a lot of feathers, but no other chicken remnants. The chicken who was taken slept closest to the door; no other birds were hurt.

    A few nights later I chased a raccoon out of the chicken run in the middle of the night -- the run door had been left open, although the coop was closed.

    In August, I couldn't find one of my hens when I tucked everyone else in for the night. I looked around in her usual outdoor roosting spots and couldn't find her. She made it through the night and decided that she wasn't going to sleep in the coop anymore. She didn't get so lucky the second night, and the next morning I found a few patches of feathers, one bit with a flesh on it, but that was it.

    Last week I went out at about 8 PM to close up the coop and chicken run after letting the girls free-range for a couple hours and there was a raccoon in the run. I chased the raccoon out and checked on the girls; only one chicken was in the coop. I looked around, thinking that the others had maybe just been frightened. I could find no sign of one of them. I found a trail of feathers out in the yard from the other one. I hoped that at least one of them might emerge from hiding in the morning, but no. The raccoon I saw was clean and gore-free.

    I live in Seattle, which is pretty urban, but I know there are coyotes in the City, and I did see one in our neighborhood 6-7 years ago, but haven't seen any since. It does sound more like a coyote MO, but I have a hard time believing that we had coyotes AND raccoons in our back yard between 6 PM and 8 PM in one evening. Our neighbors have dogs, and many of our neighbors have indoor/outdoor cats who don't seem to be getting snatched up by anyone.

    So... who is getting my birds? A single or group of raccoons who work quickly and take the entire bird? A coyote? Have a raccoon and coyote (wearing dramatic capes) joined forces to decimate the urban chicken population as part of their evil plan to take over?

    I dunno. Thoughts?
     
  2. I would guess that it is a raccoon taking your birds. But that simply is a guess.

    Regardless of the predator, I would proof my run and coop to prevent anything further.

    Wish ya the best.
     
  3. Curlita

    Curlita Chillin' With My Peeps

    158
    1
    121
    May 22, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Yeah, my predator research is definitely secondary at this point. The first chicken lost was due to my own negligence, but losing the last two was a shock because it was *so* early in the evening. I'm fostering out my remaining chicken while I reinforce the run and hopefully install an automatic door opener/closer. Since the first loss, I've been pretty good about tucking the girls in before 9 PM. I didn't realize that my margin was so tight, and I no longer trust myself to be as religious about closing up at dusk regularly as I apparently need to be.
     
  4. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    5,545
    225
    288
    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Invest in a good trap instead of an automatic door, and you can solve the problem more effectively
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

    3,495
    548
    318
    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    Common sense to me:
     
  6. Suzierd

    Suzierd Overrun With Chickens

    3,895
    212
    261
    Aug 8, 2011
    Oregon
    Get the automatic door another coon will come along. Beware some predators will wait for that door to open, don't set it to early.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by