What happened to Cadbury? How can I protect the others?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Patoot, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. Patoot

    Patoot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 20, 2010
    My 3.5yr old Rhode Island Red has vanished into thin air. She was here yesterday and this morning when I went to give the girls warm water and a nice plate of warm oatmeal, I only saw 5 girls. I searched every square inch of my yard and there was no sign of her. I moved the ivy back, looked in bushes, under tarps, you name it. She is definitely not in my yard. So I went to my neighbors' homes and asked if I could look around there yards on the off chance she somehow jumped the fence for the first time in 3 years. No sign of her there either. My yard and all my neighbors' yards have gates so she wouldn't just be walking out to the street. I live in Albuquerque in a developed neighborhood far from predators. We don't even have squirrels where I live. The way my house is situated would make it difficult for something to come in and hurt the chickens. There is only 3-4ft btwn the houses, all the yards have tall concrete barriers that are 6ft or more. All are completely enclosed. There are no wooded areas nearby for something to wonder in. It's literally just house after house with no natural vegetation unless you planted it.

    So after seeing no sign of her anywhere, the only thing I could think of is that she had to have been killed. We have snow and the trees I do have in the yard are bare. Perhaps a hawk got her since she would have been more easily seen? I did not see signs of a struggle anywhere. No blood in the snow AT ALL. I went out later and saw some feathers which could have been hers. It wasn't a huge amount, but more than I think there would be in that area. No blood though.

    I haven't seen hawks here recently, but the neighbor feeds birds so there are always a ton of little birds around that might attract hawks. Can a hawk carry a full grown chicken away? I really have no other explanation. No foxes around here. Definitely not a raccoon.

    What happened to my poor girl?
     
  2. Whoops

    Whoops Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 18, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    Honestly, there are quite a variety of predators in ABQ from the river valley and the mountains, and the mesas on the west side. Most of them have no trouble scaling cinderblock walls. There are definitely raccoons in the city, as well as many other chicken eaters. Don't be lulled into thinking there are no predators here.

    I am sorry about Cadbury.
     
  3. Patoot

    Patoot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am not near the river or the open mesa. I do not think I live in a bubble, but I honestly can't think of what happened to her. My understanding is that most predators would leave behind some traces like the body or at least signs of struggle and blood. At most I have a couple feathers that could be hers, but nothing like where you see the scene of a cat catching a bird or something. Not lots of fluffy under feathers. Definitely not a coyote. If it was a fox, it would have had to walk at least a couple miles from any wooded area, into up my driveway, around the house, over a 6ft fence, into the chicken run which has plastic fencing (which would break or pull off the boards if climbed), then back out all while carrying an adult RIR. I'm not in denial, just disbelief. I really don't know what happened to her because I can't think of a plausible explanation with no body and no evidence that anything happened. She's just gone.
     
  4. Whoops

    Whoops Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 18, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    I have never heard of a fox in the city. Bears, 'yotes, hawks, skunks, possums, raccoons, bobcats, but no foxes. Usually they travel up the arroyos.

    Could be a human chicken snatcher, or could be that a gust of wind caught her when she was flapping around having a tiff with one of her companions and it took her over the fence, but seems more likely that a critter did it.

    Did you see any sign of something breaking into the coop or tunneling the run?

    ETA I have also seen eagles and hawks in the city. An eagle could lift a chicken, I would think.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  5. Patoot

    Patoot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nope. No signs of any disturbance. They are in a very long run with no top. They used to free range the yard, but they made a mess of the garden and would constantly go to dig up my husband's hops so they are in the run when I'm not in the yard with them. The fence is pretty skimpy and made only of plastic. It is nailed to wood beams for support, but could not support a climbing animal...maybe a mouse, but not a rat even. It's secured with stakes on the bottom because the girls would try to sneak under. There is no sign anything got in the run...no sagging fence on top, no holes on the ground. I'm pretty sure she was there last night when they went to bed and it happened this morning before I went out there. I'm not at all sure though so I can't rely on that.

    So of those critters you listed, do any of them seem like they could be the culprit (i.e. scale tall walls and take a chicken with little to no evidence left behind and then carry her off)?
     
  6. Whoops

    Whoops Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Most would have no problem with the concrete fence. It depends on the height of your interior plastic fence whether they could just jump it (coyote), or if there were a tree branch near the coop roof, they could use that to get over (raccoon or bobcat) or just swoop down and carry the chicken off (owl, eagle). I wouldn't think a raccoon would bother carrying it off. A person would just open the gate, of course, but I still think that is unlikely.

    I have no idea what a bear would do. I sincerely hope they are all snoozing up there on the mountain this time of year. I wish all the chicken eating creatures would go snooze up on the mountain instead of sneaking off with our poor chickens.
     
  7. Patoot

    Patoot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm sure it wasn't a bear or coyote. I've never seen a raccoon around my parts and I thought they left a bloody mess. The fence is 8 ft tall except on one part where it's 5. It would have to be a pretty agile critter to jump it without knocking it off. Just today when I was giving them the oatmeal, I leaned down too far and popped it off and had to put it back. It was mostly to keep the girls in and a visual barrier. I'm stumped.

    Thanks for trying to help me though. Every scenario I can think of sounds so unlikely. A hawk seems the most likely given the difficulty of getting in and out of my yard, but I would think she would have been too heavy to carry off. Wind could have taken her I suppose, but I searched all the neighbors yards too.
     
  8. Whoops

    Whoops Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 18, 2013
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    Whatever happened, it is so sad to lose one.
     

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